Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jayteerth Mewundi...

What: A review of a house concert of North Indian Classical Vocal Music by Jayteerth Mewundi
When: May 14, 2010 7pm-10-45pm.
Where: Kamlesh Saxena home, Austin

This review is offered as a service to the community of music lovers. Like most reviews it is subjective and its purpose is to promote discussion, interest and awareness.

The artist started the evening's performance with Raag Puriya in which he rendered a short Alaap, vilambit (slow) composition set to Ektaal (12 beats) and drut (fast) composition in Teentaal (16 beats). The beautiful Alaap was rendered in a serene and composed style and blended exquisitely with the atmosphere of the evening sunset visible through the tall glass windows of the elegant Saxena home. The Vilambit composition continued the slow and elaborate introduction of the Raag. The artist was most ably supported by Guruprasad Hegde on the Harmonium. The voice was in perfect Shruti as Jayteerth systematically progressed through the Raag paying careful attention to each note and cluster of notes. This style of treatment was reminiscent of the approach of the late Ustaad Amir Khan. The slow Ektaal khayal was ably supported by Bharat Kamath on the Tabla which was appropriately tuned to a lower register. The fast composition was breathtaking and the artist's voice gained in power and control as the Raag proceeded to its conclusion with many lightning fast Taans ranging over three octaves and more. Raag Puriya is a beautiful but difficult evening Raag and only seasoned artists can handle it. Its notes are the same as of the more popular Marwa which has the signature line Dha Ni re (with re atikomal). Puriya's chalan is more like that of Iman Kalyan and it must be kept distinct from Raags Puriya Dhanashree and Gouri. Jayateerth's rendering of Raag Puriya is one of the best I have ever heard.

The second Raag was Joag in which the artist sang a beautiful Tarana composed by the late Ustaad Amir Khan. The composition was set to Madhya Laya Teentaal and the medidative and introspective as well as heroic moods of Joag were in full display. The artist showed great command over his voice and deep understanding of the Raag and explored its structure through intricate and fast Taans. The accompanists rose to the occassion and supported him with exquisite Harmonium accompaniment and lively and responsive Tabla accompaniment.

After the intermission the artist rendered Raag Shankara. He explained that the stalwarts of the Kirana Gharana including Ustaad Abdul Karim Khan and Ustaad Abdul Wahid Khan had imbibed many musical ideas from the Carnatic tradition and he demonstrated this in his gorgeous treatment of Shankara. Thi was followed by several Marathi Abhangs and Bhajans including the well known Bhajan of Purandara Das ``Bhagyada Laxmi Baaramma". The concluding item was Raag Bhairavi which converged to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi's famous song ``Jo Bhaje Hari ko Sadaa". The rendering was spirited and full of Bhakti Bhaav and emotion leaving the audience spellbound.

Apparently this is Jayateerth's first trip to the USA. It was indeed a rare privilege to hear such a great artist in a house concert setting. I am sure he will be visiting often and I hope this was an eye-opener for those in charge of planning for the Music Societies.

Sur Saadhak

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