In the eighth episode of our series on the Saarang family of raags, we feature Badhans Saarang, yet another rarely heard raag. Performed in the afternoon as per the raag-time theory prescribed in Hindustani music, Badhans Saarang is quite close to Vrindavani Saarang, which was discussed in the first episode. But there are other interpretations of this raag, a common feature with many raags that are rarely heard on the concert platform. Scholar-musician and composer Ram Ashreya Jha lists a few interpretations of Badhans Saarang. One includes the shuddha Gandhaar or the natural third in a twisted manner from the Pancham, or the fifth, on the descent. Another includes the shuddha Dhaivat or natural sixth in addition to the shuddha Gandhaar, and yet another variety incorporates teevra Madhyam or a sharp fourth.
Eminent vocalist Jitendra Abhisheki sings a composition set to Jhaptaal, a cycle of 10 matras or time-units. A creation of Ram Ashreya Jha, it contains his pseudonym “Ramrang” in the antara or second section of the composition. This interpretation uses the shuddha Gandhaar.
Another variety of Badhans Saarang has all notes from Vrindavani Saarang and includes shuddha Dhaivat but does not have the shuddha Gandhaar that was essential in the first track featured here. But the manner of using the shuddha Dhaivat is quite different from its use in Saamant Saarang, a raag that was discussed two weeks ago in this column. Respected scholar-musician KG Ginde presents this variety through a vilambit or slow composition set to the 14-matra Jhumra. He follows it with a drut or fast composition set to the 16-matra Teentaal.
The final track in this episode also has a presentation that uses shuddha Dhaivat and does not include the shuddha Gandhaar. This is a rudra veena recital by the maestro Asad Ali Khan. He plays a composition in the 14-matra Dhamaar taal. He is accompanied by Gopal Das Panse on the pakhawaj.