Singing out the best of Gwalior 'gharana'

Singing out the best of Gwalior 'gharana'

The Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Delhi’s Gandharv Mahavidyalaya, a leading institute for music and dance learning, held a different vibe this time. 

It gave the audiences a rare glimpse of the music of the Gwalior gharana as presented by one of its most senior doyens, Malini Rajurkar. 

Though reputed for her commendable calibre among musice connoisseurs of the country, she seldom graces the Delhi stage, and thus, the commemorative concert for the Vidyalaya found her singing to a packed hall of young students, knowledgeable fans who have been following her music career through the ages, and a sizeable young audience for whom her performance was a rare glimpse into the essentials of the Gwalior school.

What came out clear from the start was the vocal mellifluity of her singing through a medium-paced rhythm of her bandish and the ability to create a complete musical composition of the raga being sung, within the ambit of a few select notes. 

Choosing a pared-down accompanying set-up, the artiste did not even resort to the regular drill of a pair of tanpura accompaniments alongside the vocal presentation. 

Instead, a mechanical substitute worked elegantly, for then, audiences were privy to the strength of her performance in its purist and pristine arrangement. 

Listeners were able to analyse and enjoy the many variants of her behlawa or word-based patterning, using a single line of the lyric as her point of elucidation.

Perhaps what won over her listeners was her approach of presenting the taan sequences.

Faceted to perfection, she chose different notes of the musical scale to mark the starting phrase of each patterning. 

Thus, for the introductory aroha portion of the concert, most of the patterns were generated from the middle octave notes but were then carried through to the higher parts of the scale and tumbled down gracefully and to the sa note, before completion.

In the latter part of the concert, she kept her audiences spellbound by taking them through the delights of the tappa, a musical heritage unique to the Gwalior school. 

Prior to this, her rendering of the Raga Dhani in a medium-paced composition was an expletive of emotions and the romantic interlude of the Shringar Rasa. 

And in the end, she had her listeners’ best attention as she closed the tappa presentation with an emphasised sargam taan as the tabla drummed out her syllables with matchingvibrancy.

Such a concert is a fitting salute for a school that has been at the helm of musical affairs for more than seven decades amongst the various learning centres of the Capital.

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