Maestro’s Choice: Biswajit Roy Chowdhury (Audio CD)

Maestro’s Choice: Biswajit Roy Chowdhury (Audio CD)

Item Code: IZZ607
Biswajit Roy ChawdhuryMusic Today(2006)57 min. 94 sec.
About the Artist

Indian music is all about the dynamics of change and continuity. For this august series, I have chosen all the pieces as homage to the masters who shaped my musical vision. For over two decades my endeavour has been to learn and absorb as many ragas and old compositions from the Gwalior and Jaipur – Atrauli gharanas of vocal music as possible. To render these effectively on a plucked instrument is not easy and I have tried to emulate on the sarod not only the bandishes (compositions) but also some aspects of gayaki (style of singing and presentation) like the concepts of laya-baddha, bandish-based alapi, aamad (approach to the murkha or the sam of the bandish) and the double / triple note-palta-based tans of the Jaipur-Atrauli style and the bol-taan, gamak and octave jumps of Gwalior. I continue to retain tantrakaari (plucked instruments) techniques in my use of the jawa (plectrum) and the jhala.

Many mentors have blessed me in the course of this journey. It was Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s tutelage and inspiration that put me on the path of attempting to play the Khayal gayaki on the sarod. But to do so with conviction and confidence I had to study the Khayal form more deeply. In that quest, I was fortunate in being accepted as a pupil by last doyen of the Jaipur-Atrauli school, Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur. After his demise I have continued to benefit by the guidance of dr. Sumati Mutatkar and Pandit Balasaheb Poochhwale of Gwalior.

About the CD

Raga Gaud Malhar
Auchaar, Vilambit & Drut compositions in Teentala
I present here the wonderful rainy season raga Gaud Malhar. This raga of the Malhar group, is older, lesser known – and to me, at least – more challenging than the ubiquitous Miyan Ki Malhar. It is also a raga that my guru, Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur sang with great verse and passion. Gaud and the Shuddha Malhar anga-s, it has subtle shades of Bilawal, Khammaj and Nat in it too. In the opening auchar (introduction) I have played alapi variations on the theme of the late 17th century khayal composition of Sadarang Kahe Ho Tum hamse. This bandish gives a poignant prominence to Shuddha Madhyam and employs phrases of Bilawal in the uttaranga. I follow this auchar with a gat composition, which I have based on the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana version of another old khayal bandish Maan Na Kariye, set to slow Teentala, the emphasis here shifts more to the Bilawal-anga with the sixth note Dhaivat being boldly emphasised. The drut cheez Saiyan Mora Re, is a matching composition from the Gwalior school set to a faster pace. I have tried to play this bandish with as much fidelity to the words of the song as I could on the sarod.

Raga Shahana Kanhara
Auchar, Gat in Jhaptala and Teentala
This side begins with a brisk and rhythmically interesting rendering of the raga Shahana Kanhara, a favourite of the Indore vocalist Ustad Amir Khan. My teacher, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, adapted it for the sarod and both the medium tempo ten-beat Jhaptala compositions and drut teentala one are great samples of his exceptional compositional abilities. I have tried to render this raga almost exactly as I got from Ustad ji in late 1970s.

Raga Mishra Kafi
Auchaar, Gat in Rupaktala
I conclude the album with a thumri-type dhun (medley) in Mishra Kafi set to Rupak tala. This is a freewheeling piece where I pay humble tribute to the peerless sitar player, the late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and that the Kafi Tappa of the great Gwalior doyen, Pandit Krishnarao Shankar Pandit. Both these masters did amazingly beautiful things with Kaafi; I attempt but a few of their ideas on the sarod.


Raga Gaud Malhar29.35
Auchaar, Vilambit & Drut Compositions In Teentala
Raga Shahana Kanhara19.03
Auchaar, Gat In Jhaptala And Teentala
Raga Mishra Kafi09.56
Auchaar, Gat In Rupaktala
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