Creating magic on stage

Soulful tunes

Last Sunday, music lovers were treated to some exceptional performances by Carnatic and Hindustani musicians.

Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Lalgudi G J R
Krishnan performed a jugalbandi. The duo was accompanied by Vishwanath Nakod who played the tabla and Yella Venkateshwara Rao on the mridangam.

Creator of the Mohan Veena and the winner of the Grammy Award, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt mesmerised the audience with his perfect assimilation of sitar, sarod and veena techniques.

One of the most expressive and versatile performers, Bhatt said, “The tradition of Indian classical music has been in my family for the last 300 years. So music is in my blood and this had inspired me to design my own instrument and name it Mohan Veena.”

He added, “In a jugalbandi, one has to match the other during the performance without any rehearsal. Lalgudi and I have performed together earlier. But every time it’s different because you improvise on the spot listening to the other’s music. It is all about spontaneity.”

When the jugalbandi began, the strains of violins, rhythmic beats of the tabla and the mridangam reverberated in the auditorium.  With blinding speed and faultless legato, the Mohan Veena had a good blend of two styles that is the gayaki and instrumental styles.

With the vocal nuances of Hindustani music played by Bhatt interspersed with the shifting notes of the violin played by Lalgudi, it was hard to spot the difference between the two. But there lies a subtle variation in the two genres of music.

Carnatic music comprises Krithis, which are fixed compositions whereas in Hindustani music, one can notice the improvisation of the notes and chords.  There are slight rhythmic variations between the two as Carnatic music is based on Adithal, while Hindustani comprises different patterns. These subtle differences complemented each other and resulted in a delicate yet fiery and powerful music.

Said Lalgudi Krishnan, “This is a very great system. We do not have strict rules and the musicians can choose their own route with the way they treat their music.”

Many in the audience could also feel the power of the pristine music compositions.  Said Vinitha, a housewife and a student of Carnatic music, “This form of music is not only entertaining but is elevating and enlightening at the same time. And in jugalbandi, we get a chance to listen to two genres of music at the same time.”

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