Yaman and Yaman Kalyan are not raags that one would normally hear from vocalists of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. Their concert repertoire often veers towards rare raags, some of which are of a compound nature, comprising of two or more raags. But here are two tracks featuring maestros of this gharana, who had their initial training in other styles.
The first track features Mallikarjun Mansur (1910-1992) in a live concert held at a private residence. According to the description provided with the track, this recording was made in 1975. The recording captures the informality of the ambiance, as Mansur at times breaks into laughter, compliments accompanists, or is in turn complimented by the audience.
He sings a vilambit or slow khayal set to Teentaal, a cycle of 16 matras or time units. Listeners will note that the shuddha madhyam or natural fourth features prominently in the bandish or composition and in the vistaar or elaboration. But the mukhda (literally the face of the composition) coincides with the sam or the first matra of the rhythmic cycle with a teevra madhyam or sharp fourth. Spending some time on establishing the tonic and elaboration around it, Mansur moves forward with vistaar sung in aakaar using the vowel "aa".
As was his style, Mansur maintains continuity through the singing, which is further accentuated by the quick pacing of phrases that leaves few spaces of silence. To some this may appear to be explorations of a restless soul, but others may also appreciate the aesthetic of an almost unbroken wall of sound that emerges through his singing and creates a characteristic resonance. His tremendous breath control is evident, as he seamlessly moves from free-flowing vistaar to taans or quick melodic passages.
The taar saptak or upper octave tonic appears suddenly, almost as if it were a declaration. The antara or second part of the song-text composed in the upper octave acts as a refrain for several taan varieties that intersperse it. He returns to the sthayi or the first part of the song-text and once again launches into a series of long taans that are not necessarily in tandem with the pace of the rhythmic cycle.
The second composition is a drut or fast khayal in Teentaal, also interspersed with taans that are more bound to the rhythm than the ones sung in the vilambit composition.
Nivruttibua Sarnaik (1912-1994) exhibits an eclectic style fusing elements from the Kirana and Jaipur-Atrauli styles. In this rendition of Yaman, Sarnaik’s malleable and sweet voice explores the raag in a colourful and lively manner. His vistaar is relaxed and he uses the words of the song-text to elaborate upon the vilambit khayal set to Teentaal. But later, he devotes full attention to several varieties of taans, some that are short and appear in spurts, others that are longer, at times swooping over or diving under notes, using various permutations and combinations. The gush of intricate taans continues unabated only to be interjected by bol baant or rearrangement of words from the song-text with changing syncopation and scansion, which displays his ease with the rhythmic cycle. He concludes with a drut composition in Ektaal, a cycle of 12 matras.
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