This concert from the Darbar Festival 2019 will remain etched in your memory forever – Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee’s rendition of Raag Darbari Kanada is an unforgettable experience. For Pandit Mukherjee, the situation was quite unique and a first time for never in his career had he played a midnight raga at 5:30 pm.
Extolling the wisdom of our ancient forefathers, Pandit Mukherjee expresses that even though ragas were created keeping in mind the timings of the day, they contained in themselves, the vast possibilities of bringing time down to its knees. “The raag will speak, I will merely be a medium,” he says before he begins to play.
He opens up the monumental raga with an immersive alaap, jod and jhala, leaving a packed Barbican Centre under its profound spell. His delineation of the oscillating komal Ga (flat 3rd), which is of a slightly lower microtone than usual and easily poses a challenge for any seasoned musician, is earnest and comes gliding through a perfect gliding pathway of microtones.
The composition set to a 16-beat cycle (teental) culminates to a beautiful crescendo. Pandit Mukherjee truly brings time bowing to its feet with his recital. Soumen Nandy gives a brilliant accompaniment making the recital all the more worth its while. This was an epic concert and to be able to live up to it, accompanying a stalwart as Pandit Mukherjee with such poise and correctness is in itself a thousand accolades.
Darbari Kanada is an extremely popular raga belonging to the cluster of Kanadas. Its origin is popularly attributed to Miyan Tansen, one of the ‘nine jewels’ of Mogul Emperor Akbar’s court. Its Persian name, referring to ‘darbar’ or royal court, bears the stamp. However, it is believed to be an ancient raga, reinvented by Tansen to suit the innovative traits of Hindustani classical stream which enhanced its regal persona with the help of heavily oscillating key phrases.
Darbari Kanada belongs to the Ashavari that and deploys komal Ga, Dha and Ni (flat 3rd, 6th and 7th). The dominant note is Re and the sub-dominant is Pa. The heavily oscillated movement of the key phrases and powerful gamaks makes this raga very somber by nature which flowers in the lower-mid octaves at its best. Due to this, perhaps, very few female singers venture out to sing this raga.
Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee is one of the leading sitar players of India who has trained under his illustrious father, Late Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee in the Imdadkhani gharana. Through the tonal clarity of his sitar, the depth of his alaap and the intricate taankari, Pandit Mukherjee has established time and again, his mastery over the instrument as well as his adherence to the strictly gayaki style (vocal music and its ornamentations) of the Imdadkhani gharana. He has a brilliant academic record – as a young student barely in his twenties, he secured a Gold Medal in Metallurgical Engineering. However, music had occupied the greater part of his heart; That Pandit Mukherjee had picked up the sitar instead of a job offer letter, is in itself an achievement of Indian classical music and the community as a whole
Soumen Nandy has trained in the Farrukhabad style under Pandit Pankaj Chatterjee and then under Pandit Arup Chattopadhyay in Kolkata, India. The Farrukhabad school of tabla, being one of the oldest and the most prominent gharanas in north Indian classical music, dates back to the 11th century.
Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee (sitar)
Soumen Nandy (tabla)
Raag: Darbari Kanada