Raga Bhairav ke Prakaar
We at Sony Nad Navras feel privileged and proud to present a new series in our continuing quest to bring to our listeners the best of classical and traditional Music from the Indian sub continent. The series title of Nav Ratna nine jewels is taken from the time of the much loved and wise and cultured Mughal Emperor Akbar. In this court he had cultivated nine jewels representing masters in different crafts and human endeavor. The title of Nav Ratna is meant to be generic in its application to this series created to honor the memories of the past giants of Indian classical music Scene of Staflwarts whose artistry and contributions to the cause of the classical music remain etched in annals of the history of this great and ancient musical tradition and will for generations to come cause connoisseurs to marvel. It is our small listeners to relish in time ahead.
In keeping with our tradition of publishing live concert recordings we are commencing this series with three such titles. The first one honoring the memory of Late Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur (1910-1992) the second title presented on this disc (NR0042) a tribute to the memory of Late Pandit Kumar Gandharva and the third title (N20091) in memory of Late Ustad Amir Khan are all being released simultaneously.
Inevitably the recordings of the yester years are analogue recordings. We will only publish recordings that meet minimum acceptable standards to obtain the listening pleasure one is entitled to have from such an experience. Where necessary we have undertaken a considerable amount of cleaning up of the audio quality and we are satisfied that the outcome is an acceptable standard associated with sound reproduction on compact discs. Occasionally where outdoor concerts have been recorded there is likely to be external noise in the background again we will only publish such material where this type of distract from enjoying what is outstanding musical content from times never to return.
The details of Pandit Kumar Gandharva’s life are by now welt known to followers of Hindustani music. Born Shivaputra Siddhramaiyya Komkali in 1924, he first appeared on the classical music scene at the age of ten, a child prodigy. It was then that he acquired the flattering title by which he was known for the rest of his professional life (a Gandharva is a celestial musician, Kumar is a young boy or prince). The young artist’s promising career appeared to have been cut short by a serious illness which confined him to bed, forcing him to refrain from singing for no less than five years (1947 - 1952). Remarkably however, Kumar Gandharva was able to resurrect his career, and ultimately to establish himself as one of the modern greats of Hindustani music.
It has long been a cliche, in writing about Kumar Gandharva, to describe the artist as’ controversial’. To a relative outsider this always seemed perplexing. He was, after all, a fabulous singer who seemed to embody everything noble about India’s artistic traditions. Serious and sober, without pretense or gimmickry, yet obviously and unashamedly passionate about his music and the religious devotion it expressed. The allusions to ‘controversy’ refer to a common perception of the man as a free sprit, arule-breaker, a rebel even. Uninterested in the parochialism of the gharanas (musical ‘households’), he looked instead for universal values. He was not afraid to offend by appearing to break the ‘rules’ of a raga, if he felt his interpretation represented its true spirit. He looked to broaden the horizons of classical music, creating new ragas on the basis of folk melodies, composing tirelessly and presenting innovative themed programmes. If this is controversy, one can’t help thinking, then let us have more of it.
The recital recorded and presented here epitomizes many of Kumar Gandharva’s qualities. The programme has been given a good deal of thought. It is varied and yet the items are all linked by a common theme. It demonstrates both the traditional sources of his music (for instance his singing a bhajan of Naamdev), and his creativity (six of the compositions are by Kumar Gandharva, and even two of the ragas are his own creations). The six ragas are grouped in three pairs, so that each pair features an unannounced change of raga, in the last case effectively between alap (in Bee had Bhairav) and bandish (in Gunakri). All this speaks of the man’s apparently limitless creativity, while the quality of the performances reassures us that these are not by any means shallow experiments.
Since the theme of the programmes was Bhairav Ke Prakaar (Varieties of Bhairav) the first and most extensive part of the performance is the rendition of Raga Bhairav itself. Bhairav is a well known raga but one not often heard in concert programme since its performance is limited to the morning. It uses the seven note scale given below in which particular emphasis is usually placed on Dha (6) and Re (2) the emphasis placed here on Pa (5) a the expense of Dha is an example of the artist’s unorthodox approach) the piece is a vilambit khyal set in slow tempo jhaptal.
|1||Raga Bhairav (Ravi Ke karam Hai re||20:08|
|2||Raga Shivnat Bhairav (Ari yeri maal)||05:10|
|3||Raga Bhavnat Bhairav (Kanthana re Jaanoo re jaanoo)||10:00|
|4||Raga ahir Bhairav (Kaise Manaloo re)||09:04|
|5||Raga Beehad Bhairav (Ye Hore Shyam )||07:36|
|6||Raga Gunakri (Aav Mhaaraa mambasiyaa)||06:53|
|7||Bhajan (Aav Kalandar Kesavaa)||09:22|