Music and dance reviews

Music and dance reviews

Harmonium Habba

Harmonium is a popular accompanying instrument in Hindustani Music. But though it is not a rare instrument in Carnatic music, we don’t hear its solo recital frequently in Carnatic music. Till recently it was a must in ‘Sugam Sangeeth,’ which has been replaced by electronic instruments, from last few years. It is also a popular instrument in ‘Ranga Geethe’ (theatre music).

Many stalwarts like Vittal Rao Koregawkar, Seshagiri Rao (Leg Harmonium), Ram Bau Bijapure, Seshadri Gavai, and few others have contributed to popularise the harmonium. Disciples of Ram Bau Bijapure founded the Bijapure Harmonium Foundation ten years back, under the leadership of Dr Ravindra Katoti, which celebrates the Harmonium Habba every year. In this year’s Habba sponsored by Kamath and Kamath, which was held last week, veteran harmonist Pandit Vasant Kanakapure was felicitated and solo harmonium recitals in both Karanatic and Hindustani styles by young and senior artistes were held and the public response was also good.

On Sunday evening the programme started with a solo harmonium recital by Thanmay Deochake from Poona. His rag Madhuvanti in vilambit and drut teen tal was sparkling, especially the swara was very attractive, who was accompanied well by Udayraj Karpoor.

The main attraction of the Habba was a jugalbandi of Harmonium and Sarangi. While Dr Ravindra Katoti is a well known harmonium player who has accompanied top artistes of the Hindustani music, Ustad Faiyaz Khan is a multifarious talented artiste.

He is known more as a vocalist, but he is also a tabla player and plays Sarangi too.

They opened the Jugalbandi with rag Vachaspati. It is a popular raga in Carnatic music with several compositions. But it is not heard frequently in Hindustani concerts. The alap itself was successful in revealing the depth and maturity of the raga. It was a bright start, consolidating further as they delineated the raga, in both vilambit and drut teen taal.

It was wholesome and a treat too. Soft Naada of Sarangi and bright sound of harmonium were attractive and pleased the gathering. Tabala accompaniment by Viswanath Nakod suited the needs of the occasion.

This year’s ‘Habba’ came to an end with a harmonium solo of Pandit Tulasidas Barkar.

He is a veteran artiste from Mumbai. He chose rag Bihag in madhyalay jhaptal and drut teen taal. It was refined music with highly matured phrases. His fingers seemingly danced on the instruments, even in this age. It was followed by a composition (Natyasangeet), abhang and concluded with Bhairavi, customarily. He was ably accompanied on tabala by Kedar Vyshampayan.


The Sai Arts International conducts a ‘Nrityotsav’ on the first of every month at Seva Sadan, Malleswaram under the guidance of Sai Venkatesh and Dr Suparna Venkatesh. Artistes, both local and from neighbouring states apart from foreign, have presented Bharathanatya, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam, Odissi, Sattriya and Manipuri dances so far.

In the 50th month celebrations on last Monday artistes from USA, Malaysia and Bangalore presented dances in different styles.

Five students of Padmaja Kelam (USA) opened the programme with Bharathanatya. No doubt ‘Sringara Lahari’ is a classic piece in the raga Neelambari. But dancer’s expression was rather poor. The ‘Asta Nayika’ in raga malika was well choreographed, but it was not easy for the young dancers to portray different Nayikas successfully.

They also performed ‘Urdhva Thandava’ in the raga Rishabhapriya. The young students performed with enthusiasm, but fell short in meeting the requirements and feeble music (recorded) also betrayed them.

Graceful dance

Young Swetha Venkatesh, who is familiar with the Bharathanatya, performed Kathak this time, which she has learnt from Mysore Nagaraj. She portrayed the life of Saint Meera through Meera’s lyrics. Popular lyrics like Mere to Giridhar Gopal, Shyam Mane Chakar Rakho, Yeri Main to Prem Diwan – all performed with good Abhinaya.

Sarvani Yadavalli from Malaysia in her Kuchipudi recital chose a composition from Krishna Leela Taranga. Standing on the brass plate she danced to different jathi phrases. Though it was brief, she was adequate in laya and she also performed well the Nataraja Thandava (Ragamalike) gracefully.

Senior dancer Mysore Nagaraj presented ‘Sharana Smarana’ a one-man dance drama. He chose two Vachanas each of Basavanna and Akkamahadevi for his Kathak recital. Popular vachanas Vachanandali Namamritha, Naadapriya Shivanembaru, Thanu Karagadavaralli – were performed beautifully, with expertise.

Under the direction of Dr Suparna Venkatesh, young dancers presented ‘Asta Rathna’ – based on the Kannada Jnanapith awardees’ lyrics. Jaya Bharatha Jananiya, Kuniyona Baara, Saavirada Sharanavva etc. were performed with gay abandon.

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