Sangeet Bahar enthralls with classical movie songs

Vocalist Richa Srivatsava and accompanying Tabla by Shonali Srivatsava and Harmonium by Prasun Kumar Jha
Vocalist Richa Srivatsava and accompanying Tabla by Shonali Srivatsava and Harmonium by Prasun Kumar Jha

MILPITAS, CA: Sangeet Dhwani, a community-based organization that promotes the musical heritage of India, organized a Sangeet Bahar concert that delighted music lovers with old classic movie songs based on Hindustani classical raags.

Sangeet Bahar is one of its two segments that promotes movie songs; the other one is “Sangeet Ankur” which inspires youth and kids to learn classical raags so that they would carry the torch of this glorious heritage to the future. Over the last 15 years, Sangeet Dhwani has hosted as many as 150 successful concerts with rave reviews from the press supported by high appreciation from music aficionados.

This Sangeet Bahar event was held on February 14 at the Milpitas Library Hall, Milpitas with 20 Award winning vocalists and musicians and was attended by as many as 175 music lovers. The artists rendered 25 songs. The highlight was a brilliant performance by Richa Srivastava who had acquired Doctorate in Hindustani Classical Music from the Benares Hindu University in India.

The event started with a melodious Devotional Song ‘Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram,’ a popular movie of the same name (1966), which was melodiously presented by Sandhya Gayathri. Then Richa Srivatsava took the initial 10 minutes to explain the main characteristics and nuances of Raags Bihag and Darbari Kanada.

She rendered a Bandish on Raag Bihag and Darbari Kanada and a movie song. She remarked that Raag Bihag had become popular with both beginners as well as experts. This raag is usually assigned to Thaat Bilawal. Its strong characteristic is the use of both Madhyams. Its related Ragas are Bihagra and Maru Bihag. It is played in the second quarter of night. Its Vadi swar is Gandhar and Samvadi swar is Nishad.

The mood of the Raag is celebratory as well as romantic. Richa buttressed these comments with a beautiful rendition of lyrics of a Bandish, “Baje ri mori payal jhanan jhanan, kaise kar aayoon tore paas, Saas mori dooti nanad mori bairan nahi aavat tohe laaj”.

Next, Richa gave a few distinct characteristics of Raag Darbari Kanada. This Raag is said to be invented by Tansen who sung it in the court of Emperor Akbar. This raag is considered to be one of the most difficult raags to master. The ascension of Aroha is mostly in lower and middle octave. In Avroha, Komal Gandhar is used which is Ati Komal and there is some slow Andolan on that note. Its Vadi swar is Rishabh and Samvadi swar is Dhaivat.

Its Jati is said to be sampoorna sampoorna but it must be presented in Vakra style to distinguish it from its related ragas like Jaunpuri, Asavari and Adana. It is a night time raag. She sang another Bandish, the lyrics of which were “Ghar Jane de chad mori baiyyan, haha karat tori paiyyan parat hun. She also sang a movie song Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet from Movie Goonj Uthi Shehnai. Her performance was lauded by several rounds of applause from the audience.

Each of 20 singers gave a soulful performance. Krishnan Subramanian sang “Payalwali Dekhna” from the movie Ek Raaj (1963), Sujata Mudumba who ably emceed the show with Niharika Saxena, had chosen “Mere Mehboob Shayad Aaj” (Movie Kitane Paas Kitne Door-1976), Prasun Jha sang Ghulam Ali’s famous Ghazal-Hangama kyon hai Barapa”; Ashwini Guruprasad (Tora Man Darpan Kahalayein” from Movie Kaajal (1965), Raju Chithambaram (Jhanak Jhanak Tori Baje Payalia- Mere Huzur-1968).

Shonali and Maneesh sang a duet ‘Dekha Hai Pahli Baar’ from movie Saajan (1991), Hemant Joglekar (Toote Huwe Khwabon Ne ( Madhumati), Almas Shabvani sang ‘Mohabbat ki Jhoothi kahani pe (Mughal E Azam), Nishikant Shivpurkar (Ye Hawa, Ye Raat ye Chandani’ (Sangdil- 1952), Sanjay Saxena ‘Tujhe jeevan ki Dor se’ (Aasli Nakli- 1952), Jayshree Kari ‘O Chand Jaha Vo Jaye’ (Sharada 1957), Shonali ‘Aap ki Nazarone Samajha’ (Anpadh- 1962).

As the grand finale of the event, Prasun Jha was invited to render a devotional song “O Duniyake Rakhawale” from the famous movie Baiju Bawra (1952). Prasun gave live music for Richa Srivatsava on harmonium and Shonali Maneesh, a Tabla maestro, gave superb accompaniment for the classical piece.

The event was meticulously planned by the Sangeet Dhwani President, Pradeep Joshi, whose passion has been enrichment of Indian classical music, as his retirement assignment. Joshi was awarded a “Life Time Achievement Award” by President Barack Obama in January 2014 for his valuable community services over two decades to the needy in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the end, while thanking all the singers and the audience, Joshi announced that more attractive music programs were being planned in the future months.

India Post News Service

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