In one of the earlier episodes related to the Swami Haridas Sammelan held in Bombay in 1962, I had mentioned that the festival brochure did not carry any honorific titles like Pandit and Ustad before the names of the performers. Notably, it did not even carry less-heard titles like Sangeet Martand. For those who may not be aware, this was a title associated at the time with the renowned Gwalior gharana vocalist Omkarnath Thakur. He was awarded this title by the Calcutta Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in 1940.
But for many today, Sangeet Martand is a title that has been associated with the best-known Mewati gharana maestro Jasraj. Notably, both Thakur and Jasraj were featured in the Sammelan, but the brochure does not mention either this or any other honorific titles before their names.
It would be a matter of research as to why, when and how, such titles and even those associated with Padma awards became an imperative in programme publicity. Did musicians expressly ask for such titles to be mentioned and was it done to enhance their social stature? Or did concert organisers add these to draw larger crowds?
We begin today’s episode with a performance by maestro Jasraj. He sings two compositions in the raag Darbari Kanada. The first composition is set to vilambit or slow Ektaal and the second to drut or fast Teentaal. He is accompanied on the harmonium by Appa Jalgaonkar and on the tabla by Shafaat Ahmed Khan. Vocal support is provided by Chandrashekhar Swamy.
We conclude this episode with a recital by eminent sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan, who was also one of the instrumentalists featured in the Sammelan. The information accompanying the track indicates that this was recorded in 1961, a year before the Sammelan took place. He plays two compositions in the raag Manj Khamaj set to medium and fast tempi Rupak followed by a composition in the raag Chandrakauns set to Teentaal. He concludes with a composition set to Dadra in the raag Sindh Bhairavi.
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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