Picking up from where we had paused last, we will continue revisiting the Swami Haridas Sammelan held in Mumbai in 1962 under the aegis of the Sur Singar Samsad in the last two episodes. Notably, the Samsad played an important role in widening the scope of music concerts in Mumbai during the 1950s and 1960s. Held at large venues accommodating a few thousand people, these concerts were arguably the first of their kind in the city.
In the brochure published in 1956 for the fourth Swami Haridas Sammelan, BN Anklesaria, the General Secretary at the time, proudly claimed, “Night after night, in the heart of our city, the Urbs Prima in Indias’ graced by the highest and the choicest from our society, artist after artist will come before you and will be given the recognition he or she deserves.”
This week, continuing with the Sammelan held in 1962, we reimagine the music of some more performers featured there. In the absence of any information about the sequence of performances and any recordings from the festival, I have been making a selection of artists and recordings for the past few weeks that will hopefully help in recreating the magic of those moments.
We begin today’s episode with a track featuring a tabla solo recital by prominent tabla player Chatur Lal, one of the two tabla players mentioned in the list of instrumentalists provided in the festival brochure. He plays solo repertoire in the 16-matra Teentaal followed by expositions in the seven-matra Rupak and the 13-matra Jaitaal.
Well-known flautist and composer Vijay Raghav Rao presents the raag Rageshwari also known as Rageshri. He begins with the introductory aalaap section followed by gats or instrumental compositions set to Rupak and Teentaal.
We conclude this episode with a dhrupad composed by Mia Tansen, the 16th-century vocalist, composer and court musician at the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s court. The composition is in the raag Malkauns and set to the 12-matra Chautaal. The performers are Nasir Moinuddin Dagar and Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, who were popularly known as the senior Dagar brothers.
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.
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