We resume our series on Ektaal, a rhythmic cycle of 12 time-units or matras, with the sixth episode showcasing bandish ki thumris composed in this taal. Bandish ki thumri, also called bandhi thumri, is a compositional form within the larger thumri genre. One of its defining features is the manner in which the syllables of the song-text are closely knit to the matras of the taal. Usually, bandish ki thumris are heard in Sitarkhani or Addha taal and in Teentaal. Both are 16-matra taals, but they have different thekas or the structured syllables that represent the cycle. But today, we will hear some examples in Ektaal.
The first track features Banaras gharana exponent Mahadev Prasad Mishra. He sings a composition in the raag Khamaj set to a medium tempo Ektaal. He uses the words from the song-text for free-flowing melodic elaboration in order to heighten the emotive content, but he revels in rhythmic interplay through bol baant or a distribution of the words across the framework of the taal in different tempi.
He sings the words in double tempo or one-and-half times the original speed often ending with a tihai or a pattern presented thrice and calculated to end on the sum/sam or the first matra of the approaching cycle. He even uses sargam or solfège in a similar fashion.
The description that accompanies this recording of a live concert mentions maestro Sultan Khan as the sarangi accompanist and well-known performer Anand Gopal Bandopadhyaya as the tabla accompanist.
Thumri exponent Shobha Gurtu sings a bandish ki thumri in the raag Sohini. It is set to a medium tempo Ektaal. She is accompanied by Purushottam Walwalkar on the harmonium and by Aneesh Pradhan on the tabla.
The final track features Shruti Sadolikar Katkar, senior vocalist of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. She sings a bandish ki thumri in the raag Des set to Ektaal.