In this rendition, Sahasrabuddhe splashes the listeners’ canvas with myriad ragas, all performed back-to-back like a medley. A Raag Mala, which literally translates to “raga garland”, is a non-stop rendition of different ragas, all strung together to create the most mind-bending effect. Sahasrabuddhe leaves her audiences in awe with this phenomenal recital because of her sheer ability to transit smoothly from one raga effortlessly.
The rendition is sung in Ektaal (12 beats) and is a mélange of 18 ragas, viz. Hindol, Bhoopali, Chayanat, Bilawal, Shankara, Desh, Tilak Kamod, Basant, Shree, Marwa, Puriya, Bhairav, Gurjri Todi, Bhairavi, Malkauns, Jaunpuri, Madmadh Sarang and Kharharpriya (Carnatic).
This might seem an overwhelming number of ragas for a single presentation, however, for an artist of Sahasrabuddhe’s stature, it was a cadence filled with smoothness and ease. One needs an elaborate knowledge of ragas combined with a sense of beauty and understanding of the nodal points of transition from one melody to the other. Not just that, in Hindustani music, it also entails a transition from one mood to a completely different one and in no time. In this feat, Sahasrabuddhe surpasses most artists of her generation and stands out like a beacon.
Sanju Sahai and Tofail Ahmed bring in a serene, restrained accompaniment in-keeping with the gentle and sublime spirit of the veteran Sahasrabuddhe’s performance. This takes the recital to better heghts and makes their contributions in the moment invaluable.
Veena Sahasrabuddhe (1948-2016) was an esteemed Hindustani classical vocalist. Her unique style drew from the Kirana and Jaipur gharanas as well as her university degree in Literature & Vocal Performance, and was showcased on over 40 albums throughout her lifetime. She found ample time to teach despite a successful performance career, demonstrating Indian music to schoolchildren and serious students alike.
Precise, powerful, and intricately funky, Sahai embodies the Benares tabla gharana. As the sixth generation of his family’s illustrious rhythm lineage, his talent was recognised early - at age 9 he was playing major festivals, and completed his music degree at 13 with a Masters following at 18. He is mindful of diluting classical tabla styles, but this has not stopped him taking them into a breath-taking array of contexts. Alongside accompanying top Hindustani musicians, he has collaborated with artists spanning flamenco and jazz to opera and Gregorian chant. He has played in schools and prisons
as well as for the Queen, and tutors tabla at SOAS in London. Today he lives in the UK, and travels the globe as a star accompanist and soloist.
Tofail Ahmad hails from Bangladesh. He started taking lessons from Ustad Kamruzzaman on the tabla and vocal music from Pandit Anil Kumar Shaha in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With complete dedication and perseverance, he was awarded the prestigious ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) Scholarship to study North Indian Classical Music in Delhi. He is currently settled in the UK.
Veena Sahasrabuddhe (khayal)
Sanju Sahai (tabla)
Tofail Ahmad (harmonium)
Priya Parkash (tanpura)
Shobhana Patel (tanpura)
Raag Mala includes 18 ragas: