Music that elevates the soul

todaySeptember 3, 2023 3

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Dark clouds turn darker dotting the skyline as they move lazily in their water- laden state and a gentle wind blows over filling the nostrils with petrichor- the unique smell that wafts through as water droplets kiss the parched earth- the monsoon or Varsha rithu is a captivating season holding us all in its spell. One felt the impact of the monsoon through the enchanting shower of different styles of music at the second season of ‘Varshotsav’, the annual music festival conducted by Dhruvpad Gurukulam Foundation at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Hyderabad. Founded in 2019 by Smt. Vijaya.L. Ramam and Shri Manish Kumar, the Foundation chose the weekend before Janmashtami to present two distinct and unique styles of traditional classical music and a tabla solo to regale audiences.

The Dhrupad Bandhu Duo of Manish Kumar and Sanjeev Jha, both hailing from Bihar, are bound together as students (guru bhais) of the Gundecha brothers from the Dhrupad Sansthan, Bhopal trained in the “Daagarvani” style of Dhrupad and have given several performances on prestigious platforms across the country. “Dhrupad music is not for ‘manoranjan’ (entertainment). It is atmaranjan (soul- elevating) where a divine connection is forged with the self ‘’ opined Sanjeev Jha as I spoke to the duo before the concert began. “As atmaranjan leads to ‘atma bodha’ or learning enabled through the profound connection that music forges, the true power of Dhrupad is experienced” echoed Manish Kumar. Swami Haridas’s “Kunjan mein racho raas” in Bhimpalasi brought alive the enduring “raaslila” of Lord Krishna as the duo began singing in the unhurried Dhrupad style, the purity of notes bringing forth a surge of devotion that dwelt on the aspect that they had earlier mentioned about connecting with the self. Another beautiful gem was Shiva Shiva in Raag Atana. Slow, haunting, profound and divine, the devotional aspect of Dhrupad paved the way for the lively beats of the tabla that made a deep impact on the listeners. Abhiman Kaushal an outstanding tabla artist whose intense and sensitive playing won him several accolades including that of being a featured percussionist on White Sun 11, a grammy winning album under the New Age music category, won hearts with his precision and mastery.

The performance of renowned maestro of Khayal gayaki and Padmashri awardee Pt. Venkatesh Kumar was indeed what all music lovers gathered at the venue looked forward to with bated breath. It was everything it promised to be and more. The most important feature of ‘Khayal’ the Persian term for imagination is the taans or running glides over notes, which clearly distinguish it from dhrupad. Audiences were spellbound by his renditions which touched their hearts through the soulful singing and the purity and richness of his unique voice which has a smooth river like flow. Hailing from the Kirana and Gwalior Gharanas Pt. Venkatesh Kumar’s singing transcends all narrow divisions and has a universal appeal that lingers on long beyond his performance. Different styles and performances coalesced to give audiences an uplifting spiritual experience with emotion, melody and rhythm, the essence of Indian classical music. People left the venue carrying the music in their hearts.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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