Celebrations for Durga Puja and Navratri have begun across the country. Both festivals are devoted to the incarnations of Shakti, or the feminine divine force. Gauri happens to be one of the many avatars, but we also have a raag that shares the same name and is prescribed for performance at dusk. Last week, we listened to two renditions of the raag that belonged to the Poorvi thaat or parent scale.
Today, we focus on an interpretation of Gauri that belongs to the Bhairav thaat. While the Poorvi thaat Gauri uses the teevra Madhyam or sharp fourth, the Bhairav thaat has varying interpretations. Some musicians use only the shuddha Madhyam or the natural fourth, others use both shuddha and teevra Madhyam. But the emphasis on the mandra saptak shuddha Nishaad or lower octave natural seventh is present in most interpretations. Besides, Gauri of the Bhairav thaat uses phrases of Kalingda, a raag prescribed for the morning.
We begin with a track featuring Mewati gharana exponent Jasraj. He sings Gauri of the Bhairav thaat with the shuddha Madhyam. The vilambit or slow composition is set to Ektaal, a cycle of 12 matras or time-units. This is followed by a drut or fast composition set to the 16-matra Teentaal.
Dr SN Ratanjankar sings an interpretation of Gauri that uses both Madhyams and phrases from Kalingda. He begins with an aalaap or introductory movement followed by a bandish in Rupak describing the victory of the god Ram over Raavan, the king of Lanka.
We end with an instrumental rendition of Gauri by Senia-Shahjahanpur maestro Radhika Mohan Moitra. His interpretation highlights the mandra saptak Nishaad, but does not include the twisted return from the madhya saptak Pancham.
He begins with an aalaap followed by a gat or instrumental composition in vilambit Teentaal. The next composition is set to drut Teentaal.