Author: Lakshmi Anand

eAmbalam recently presented Arijit Mahalanabis, visiting Hindustani musician from Seattle, USA in a Khayal recital accompanied by Kishan Patel of Portland, USA, on the Harmonium and MT Aditya Srinivasan on the Tabla.

Raag Yaman was presented gradually and extensively with a vilambit piece in 14 beat Jhoomra taal. Vilambit Jhoomra Taal despite being difficult to maintain did not cause up and coming tabaliya, Aditya, a student of Pt. Yogesh Samsi and Vidwan Umayalapuram Sivaraman, any problems. A bandish in dhrut Ek taal followed.

Often considered a light raag, Arijit presented Tilak Khaamod in an elaborate manner. Sur Sangat Raag Vidya, a very traditional composition, enumerating the qualities of a good musician, was the bandish. The oft held opinion that lyrics had little importance in Hindustani music was put to rest when the artiste explained that the words had deep meaning and required careful splitting to avoid corrupting the same. The distinction from Desh was clearly shown. (In Hindustani music, there are many raags that have the same scale and the same notes with the differences being the emphasis given to particular notes). The piece was sung to the 10 beat Jhap taal, though originally set to 7 beat Hindustani Roopak.

Mentioning that Bahaar was a Spring raag, suitable for this time of the year, the artiste explained that his research indicated that it was capable of the comprehensive delineation that followed. Being extensively trained in dhrupad and one of the few artistes who regularly perform dhrupad, khayal and thumri,  Arijit presented a Nom Tom alaap in dhrupad style followed by a conventional composition in Teen taal – Kaise Nikh Si Chandni.

A kajri in Manjh Khamaaj set to Deep Chandi taal, a 14 beat cycle, brought out the facets of this raag to the fore while bringing the folksy element in too. The customary concluding raag, Bhairavi, was then presented with the popular bandish ki thumri, Kaise Yay Balaayi Re.The artistes were earnestly requested to continue the concert after its supposed conclusion, following resounding applause. So many raags were requested, leading one rasika to observe that another entire recital would be needed to fulfill everyone’s wishes! Arijit continued with a chota khayal in raag Nandh set to Teen taal. The bandish was Paayal Mora Bhaajey composed by Pt. S.N. Ratanjankar. The singer explained that the original bandish had, in fact, been Paayal ‘Mori ‘Bhaajey, which did not lend itself to comfortable exposition as a result of which Pt. Dinkar Kaikini, the composer’s disciple, changed ‘Mori’ to ‘Mora’ with Pt. Ratanjankar’s permission.

The final piece of the evening was in raag Kalaavati, featuring Pt. Gyan Prakash Ghosh’s bandish, Pala Na Laagi Mori. Arijit did a murchana on this, using the Pa of Kalaavati as the Sa, thus bringing out another of the requests, Abhogi. Kishan, on the Harmonium, supported the artistes very capably throughout and was particularly vibrant in the final pieces.

With insightful explanations suited to the local audience, Arijit demonstrated his extensive teaching experience as the founder and director of the Seattle Indian Music Academy. One came back feeling that the future of classical music is in safe hands when practiced with such commitment even overseas.

Photo Courtesy: Lakshmi Anand