The eighteenth episode in our series on public spaces named after Hindustani musicians focuses on the Pandit CR Vyas Marg at Chembur in eastern Mumbai. This was the street where vocalist and composer Chintaman Raghunath Vyas, a recipient of many prestigious awards, lived for several years.
Like many Hindustani musicians, Vyas was also not originally from Mumbai. He was born in Osmanabad, but he pursued his career as a resident of Mumbai.
He was groomed by Govindrao Bhatambrekar from the Kirana Gharana, Rajarambuwa Paradkar and Yeshwant Sadashiv Mirashibuwa from the Gwalior Gharana, and Jagannathbua Purohit alias Gunidas, who had assimilated influences from various sources including the Agra Gharana.
Vyas’s musical persona was, thus, shaped by the traditional khayal repertoire he had assimilated from three major gharanas coupled with his individual perspective.
His khayal compositions under the pseudonym Gunijan form a part of the performance repertoire of several vocalists, including his disciples. He also composed raags like Dhankoni Kalyan, Sanjogiya and Shiv-Abhogi. His compositions have been published in a book entitled Raag Sarita.
Today, we listen to some tracks featuring his music.
He sings two compositions in the raag Maluha Kedar on the first track. The vilambit, or slow khayal, is set to the 16-matra Tilwada and the drut, or fast khayal, is set to the 16-matra Teentaal. He follows this with a medium-paced composition in Gaud Malhar, a raag prescribed for the monsoon.
The composition is set to the 16-matra taal Addha, also called Sitarkhani. Mehmood Dholpuri accompanies him on the harmonium and tabla accompaniment is provided by Ramzan Khan. Vocal support is provided by his eldest son and disciple Suhas Vyas.
On the next track, CR Vyas sings two compositions set to the 12-matra Ektaal in a self-composed raag called Shiv-Abhogi.
We end with an extract of an interview conducted by theatre director and actor Kamalakar Sontakke in which scholar-musician CR Vyas speaks about the significance of the guru-shishya parampara, or mentor-disciple tradition.
One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.