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KHMC Special Concert Of Visiting Artists

Jeyanthi Ghatraju and Shuchita Rao

KHMC special concert of visiting artists – August 4, 2018

KHMC (Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle), a grassroots, volunteer run, non-profit organization that works towards the mission of bridging genres and connecting generations through music, organized a special concert by artists visiting from India on August 4, 2018 at the home of Manjari and Siva Rawada in Nashua, NH.

The concert commenced with the Carnatic segment by Boston Brothers, Tejas and Pranav Manjunath, disciples of Vidhushi Padmashri A. Kanyakumari from Chennai.  Tejas and Pranav have an impressive resume with many laurels and accolades. However, what was close to home for many in the audience was that they used to live in Westford, MA, moved to Bengaluru about nine years ago and came back to Boston to perform this concert. It was made all the more special by their guru from their Boston years, Smt. Tara Anand Bangalore, who graced the occasion and showered her blessings. Tejas and Pranav were accompanied by Sri Mali (Mahalingam) Santhanakrishnan on the mridangam, who is an accomplished Mridangist and a well sought-after teacher in New England.

The violin duo began their concert with the popular varnam by music maestro, Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman, in Ragam Charukesi. That set the mood and motion for the next couple of hours. They then presented Dikshiar krithis - Swaminatha Paripalaya sumam (Ragam Nattai, thalam Adi), Sri Vishwanatham bhajeham – a popular and must item from Guru Kanyakumari’s music tradition. Sarasa samadhana by Saint Thyagaraja in Ragam Kapinarayani followed next.

Tejas and Pranav then went on to present Hiranmayeem Lakshmim in Ragam Lalitha, and Pibare Rama rasam in Ragam Ahir Bhairav by Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra.

The scintillating thillana in Ragam Mohanakalyani by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman, was the concluding item before mangalam.

Bhagyada Lakshmi baramma, a soulful composition of Saint Purandaradasa, for mangalam, had the touch of freshness, as this is a time-tested piece in a typical Carnatic concert. As Guru Tara mentioned it takes a certain skill for an artist to accompany and a completely different skill set to be the main performer. The selection of items is a key aspect in the presentation. Tejas and Pranav, with the guidance of their esteemed guru, Vidhushi Padmashri A. Kanyakumari, paid special attention to the details in presenting a blissful concert, filled with the right mix of songs that certainly etched in audience minds well into the evening.

A word about Sri Mali’s mridangam accompaniment from the audience – “unobtrusive, subtle and embellishing!”

Following the Carnatic segment, audiences were treated to a Ghazal program by Dr. Roshan Bharti, an artist who traces his lineage to the famed Seni gharana.

Opening with a ghazal by poet Sagar Faraz set to six beat cycle Dadra taal, Dr. Bharti impressed the audience with his melodious voice, crisp diction, great command on Sur (melody) and Taal (rhythm) and an uncanny ability to navigate effortlessly between ragas. Accompanying artist, Pranav’s opening phrase was so impressive that Dr. Bharti spontaneously said, “The young fire accompanying me on the tabla today is Pranav Ghatraju”. Pranav is a disciple of Ustad Shabbir Nissar, who is the son of the legendary Tabla Nawaz, the late Ustad Sheikh Dawood. 

The first ghazal spoke of the joy one experiences upon meeting one’s beloved.

“Uske hanste chehre se aisa lagta hai

From her smiling face one can gather

Shayad usko mera milna achchaa lagta hai..”

Perhaps she enjoys our meetings…

The second ghazal was a Raga Kirwani based ghazal written by the poet Ahmed Faraz and popularized by the late Ustad Mehdi Hassan

“Shola tho jal bujha hoon, havaayein mujhe na do”

I was an ember, burnt and gone, don’t attempt to revive me..

“Mai kub ka jaa chukka hoon sadaayein mujhe na do”

I am long gone, don’t call out to me…

Dr. Bharti embellished the ghazal with attractive sargams (solfege) that spanned all three octaves. He wove attractive musical patterns around specific phrases to bring out their meaning. Pranav’s modulated and sensitive accompaniment on the tabla enhanced the beauty of Dr. Bharti’s presentation.

On the request of the audience, Dr. Bharti sang another well-known ghazal penned by the poet Ahmed Faraz.

 â€œRanjish hi sahi, dil hi dukhaane ke liye aa”

Let it be anguish, even if it is to torture my heart, come..

“aa phir se mujhe chchod ke jaane ke liye aa”

Come again, if only to abandon me, to torment me again…

The next song was based on Raga Pahadi and spoke of a person wooing his beloved. “This is a song where the “nahi nahi (no, no) is not a 100% No” said Dr. Bharti who was supremely skilled at establishing instant rapport with the audience. This presentation brought smiles to the faces of the KHMC program attendees.

“Maine kahaa nazar mila, Usne kahaa nahin nahin..

Maine kahaa ke maan ja, Usne kahaa nahin nahin…”

For the final song of the evening, Dr. Bharti honored a request from a member of the audience and sang a Ghazal popularized by the renowned Ghazal singer Ustad Ghulam Ali, “Chupke Chupke raat din, aasoon bahaana yaad hai..” set to seven beat Roopak rhythm cycle.  Rhythmic play with the lyrics was the attractive feature of this presentation.

Dr. Bharti ended his soulful presentation of ghazals with a word of advice to the members of the audience “I have learned Bada Khayal, Chota Khayal, Dhrupad, Dhamar and Tarana and I use all the elements of classical composition to apply into singing Ghazals. A foundation in Classical Music is always good for Ghazal singing.” 

Here is a short video clip of the concert: 




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