Raag Bilawal, prescribed for morning performances, has a few special varieties that have come to be associated with the repertoire of certain gharanas and are rarely heard in concert today. Like Bilawal, these too are prescribed for the morning hours. In the fourth episode of our series on Bilawal, we listen to renditions of Yamani Bilawal, a compound raag that brings together elements from the Bilawal and Kalyan angs or features. Interpretations of this raag may or may not include the teevra Madhyam or the sharp variety of the fourth swar or note that forms an integral part of the melodic structure of Yaman, a major representative of the Kalyan group of raags.
We begin with a recording here featuring renowned scholar-musician Ram Ashreya Jha, who sings his own composition in the raag Yamani Bilawal set to a slow-paced Rupak, a cycle of seven matras or time units. The presentation demonstrates clearly the Bilawal and Kalyan angs with the inclusion of the teevra Madhyam.
Revered guru and founder of the Maihar-Senia gharana Allauddin Khan plays an unaccompanied aalaap-jod movement as an introduction to the raag Yamani Bilawal. Listeners will note the subtle use of the teevra Madhyam. The maestro plays a gat or instrumental composition set to Teentaal, a cycle of 16 matras or time units. The short elaboration of this gat is followed by a composition in the 14-matra Dhamaar, a taal usually played on pakhawaj. Once again, this is a brief exposition and is immediately succeeded by a drut or fast-paced composition set to Teentaal.
Jaipur-Atrauli gharana exponent Mallikarjun Mansur’s interpretation of Yamini Bilawal does not include the teevra Madhyam. But the treatment of Nishad, the seventh swar, Rishabh or the second swar, and Gandhar, the third swar, brings in the Kalyan ang. He sings a vilambit or slow-paced composition set to Teentaal. He is accompanied on the tabla by Narayanrao Indorekar and on the sarangi by Abdul Latif Khan.
Despite being from the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana, guru Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik presents an entirely distinct interpretation from Mansur’s, with a focus on the shuddha or the natural variety of Madhyam, while highlighting several features of the Kalyan ang. The teevra Madhyam appears marginally as part of the composition and in some of the taans or quicker melodic passages. He sings a vilambit composition set to Teentaal. This is followed by a drut composition set to Teentaal.