Devgiri Bilawal, another variety of Bilawal, is like the latter also a raag prescribed for performance in the morning. It is a mishra raag, which means that it combines features from more than a couple of raags. Eminent scholar-musician Ram Ashreya Jha states in his Abhinav Geetanjali – Volume 1 that Devgiri Bilawal combines features of Kalyan, Shuddha Kalyan and Bilawal. Although Kalyan and Shuddha Kalyan form parts of this raag, there is no presence of teevra Madhyam or the sharp variety of the fourth note. Jha also adds that there are interpretations that incorporate elements of other raags too.
The tracks chosen for today’s episode demonstrate yet again the many ways in which different performers explore a single raag.
We begin with a recording featuring renowned scholar-musician SN Ratanjankar. He mentions in his introductory remarks that he combines features of Shuddha Kalyan and Bilawal. He sings a vilambit bandish or slow composition set to Tilwada, a cycle of 16 matras or time units.
Gwalior gharana doyen Sharad Sathe sings a vilambit composition in Teentaal. The second composition is a tarana set to the same taal.
Jaipur-Atrauli exponent Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik portrays a distinct picture of the raag through a vilambit bandish set to Teentaal. This is followed by a drut or fast-paced composition also set to Teentaal.
Celebrated vocalist Kishori Amonkar, an inspiration to many female vocalists in the next generation, sings a vilambit bandish set to Teentaal. Her interpretation evidently has an unconventional edge as is often heard in her raag expositions. She follows it with a composition in Alhaiya Bilawal set to the 16-matra Addha or Sitarkhani taal, which is later changed to Teentaal.
We end with an instrumental rendition of Devgiri Bilawal. This is by sarod maestro and founder of the Maihar-Senia gharana Allauddin Khan. Listeners will note that his interpretation is quite different from the vocal presentations included earlier.