We revisited the Swami Haridas Sammelan held in Mumbai in 1962 under the aegis of the Sur Singar Samsad in the last two episodes. Continuing with the same festival this week, we reimagine the music of some more performers featured here.
Notably, the schedule of this festival did not mention honorific titles like Pandit, Ustad, Vidushi, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri and many others, as prefixes to the names of Hindustani musicians. But it is evident that the wide variety of artistes consisted of seniors and juniors. Conventionally, the sequence of performers in a single session begins with the most junior and ends with a senior. But given the nature of music festivals where numerous musicians are included over many days, this convention has often been set aside. Often, the only criterion applied is to alternate vocal and instrumental presentations, but at times even this is not strictly followed.
Today, we listen to four of the many artistes included in the festival organised in 1962. We begin with a violin recital by Husnalal of the well-known film composer duo Husnalal-Bhagatram. The schedule mentions a violin-accordion duet featuring the two brothers, but I could not access any recording that had Bhagatram as one of the performers. Husnalal, who was also a vocalist, plays the raag Madhuvanti on the violin. The first composition is set to a madhya laya or medium tempo Teentaal, a cycle of sixteen matras. The speed is accelerated towards the end and the recital ends with a climactic jhala section. As per the text provided with the track, this recording was made in 1958.
Following this is a presentation of the raag Shuddha Kalyan by RV Jadhav, whose father and guru had studied in the Gwalior and Kirana gharanas. He sings the first composition in vilambit or slow Ektaal and the second in drut or fast Teentaal. According to the text accompanying this track, this is part of a live concert recording made in 1956.
Abdul Halim Jaffar Khan, sitar exponent and innovator of the Jafferkhani style, presents vilambit and drut compositions in the raag Kirwani set to Teentaal.
We end this episode with compositions in the raag Bageshree sung by Kumar Gandharva at a live concert. He draws the attention of the audience to the use of Pancham, the fifth swar, in the context of this raag. The first composition is set to vilambit Ektaal followed by a tarana in drut Teentaal. These are followed by other compositions in madhya and drut laya Teentaal.
One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.