Torchbearer of Kirana gharana

hindustani notes
Last Updated 16 June 2012, 12:22 IST

Kirana gharana is one of the most prolific Hindustani khyal gharanas. The name of this school of music derives from Kirana or Kairana, a town and tehsil of Muzaffarnagar District in Uttar Pradesh.

It is the birthplace of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (1872–1937), who was one of the most important musicians of this gharana and of Hindustani music in general in the twentieth century, and considered by some to be the real founder of the Kirana gharana, while the roots of the tradition can be traced back to his great-grandfather Ghulam Ali and Ghulam Maula, the brother of Ghulam Ali.

A frequent visitor to the court of Mysore, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan was influenced by Carnatic music.

Much to the credit of Abdul Karim Khan, today most Hindustani musicians from Karnataka, particularly Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum and Gadag, are exponents of Kirana gharana, which has imbibed many of the features of the Carnatic tradition.

Great vocalists and maestros of Hindustani classical music, like Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal, Mallikarjun Mansur, Basavraj Rajguru, Vinayak Torvi and Kumar Gandharva all hail from this region. Rambhau Kundgolkar, popularly known as Pandit Sawai Gandharva, the foremost disciple of Abdul Karim Khan, also hails from this region.

In the Kirana Gayaki, the individual swaras (notes) of the raga are considered not just random points in the scale but independent realms of music capable of horizontal expansion.

Mind-blowing, emotion-drenched pukars in the higher octaves form a part of the musical experience. Another unique feature of this gharana is the highly intricate and ornate use of the Sargam Taan (weaving patterns with the notations themselves) which was improvised by Ustad Abdul Karim Khansahab as a direct influence of the Carnatic classical style.

Jayateerth Vasantrao Mevundi hails from such a hallowed Hindustani musical tradition. He is one of the most promising young talented Hindustani vocalists of the Kirana gharana.

Born in  1972 in Hubli, Jayateerth, according to many connoisseurs and critics of Hindustani classical music, is considered to be a torchbearer of Kirana gharana. His music is marked by impeccable taankari, delivered with effortless ease in the style of Bhimsen Joshi.

He received his initial training in music from his mother Sudhabhai Mevundi and continued learning for a decade under the tutelage of Sangeet Ratna Pt Arjunsa Nakod of Gwalior gharana for about 10 years. From 1994 onwards he has been receiving musical lessons under the able guidance of Pt Shripati Padegar, a disciple of Bhimsen Joshi.

Jayateerth Mevundi has won many accolades and awards including Pt Jasraj Gourav Puraskar for the year 1995. He was also awarded the Young Maestro award which was personally handed to him by President Abdul Kalam at the second year inauguration of the Indian Music Academy, organised by Pt Jasraj on April 9, 2007 in Delhi.

He has travelled extensively to perform, within India and outside. He has been invited to perform at prestigious venues like the Sawai Gandharva Festival held in Pune every year.

His recent releases, Sunset at Dharwad and Raga Renaissance, comprise songs which were made famous by maestros of Kirana gharana. Sawan ki bundaniya in Rag Kedar was popularised by Bhimsen Joshi, as also Thumaka thumaka, a bhajan immortalised by Bhimsen Joshi. Jayateerth renders two traditional compositions, Hovan lage sanj followed by Bahut din beete, both in Rag Puriya Kalyan, a favourite of many performers after it was popularised by Bhimsen Joshi in the 1980s. He also renders Bina dekhe pare nahin chain, a thumri popularised by Pandit Sawai Gandharva.

Jayateerth Mevundi is indeed treading the path of the great maestros of the Kirana gharana.

(Published 16 June 2012, 12:22 IST)

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