Morning Raga

The third edition of the Naad Bindu Festival of Arts featured acclaimed classical artistes

Written by Debjani Paul | Published: April 23, 2013 2:22:48 am

The third edition of the Naad Bindu Festival of Arts featured acclaimed classical artistes

There was just a hint of pink on the horizon; the sun hadn’t risen yet. A steady breeze gave a bite to the cold air and people huddled together,walking towards the auditorium. While they stood around the theatre,sipping hot drinks and chatting,the sun made its entrance in the morning sky and the air was filled with the vibrations of a harmonium. Speakers placed around the campus told everyone that the concert was starting and it was now time to enter the hall.

Inside,they had a treat waiting for them — Jayateerth Mevundi,a well-known artiste from the Kirana gharana,was to sing. Known for his dizzying taankari or vocal manipulation,Mevundi began with Bhairav,his aalap slowly building and developing the raga.

As he sang Baalim more saiyya sadarangi,every time his deep vocals touched the low notes,the effect was like a sharp kick to the gut. Eventually,he transited to the iconic Jaago Mohan pyaare. Absorbed in the music,the audience kept a steady taal with their hands. He ended his performance with Teerth Vitthala,a bhajan made famous by Bhimsen Joshi. Mevundi then spoke of the connection between music and spirituality,“When we close our eyes,focus on the notes and try to sing them,we can feel the presence of the inner spirit and of God,” he said.

The early morning performance was nothing out of the ordinary at the Naad Bindu Festival for Arts (NBFA),hosted for the third time by the Chinmaya Mission at its Kolwan campus in Mulshi taluka. The three-day festival that ended on Sunday,featured performances and workshops by acclaimed classical artistes such as Mevundi,Lalgudi Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi and dancer Rama Vaidyanathan.

The workshop by the famed Lalgudi siblings was an introduction to Carnatic music and how it differs from Hindustani music. Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi were both taught by one of the most famous names in Carnatic music — violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman. Together,they explained the basics of the violin and their music,commonly known as Lalgudi Baani. With Raga Bhupali,or Mohanam as it is known in the South,the duo demonstrated how the violin captures all the shades and degrees of a vocal performance.

Their lessons were peppered with jokes and the audience was immersed till the end.

But it was the day’s final performance that captured everyone’s imagination,as Vaidyanathan,a renowned Bharatnatyam dancer,presented a special choreography titled Parama Tatvam.

Said to be one of the best Bharatnatyam dancers in the world,Vaidyanathan was spellbinding during Navrasa Mohana. The spectators veered from disbelief to contempt to awe and adoration as she switched from one expression to the next,depicting all the nine rasas.

Despite the common prejudice that only a niche audience can enjoy classical recitals,the power of her performance was such that several people could be heard exclaiming at its beauty. “There will always be a wall between the artiste and the audience,just as there is between a doctor and a patient,but it is up to the artiste to remove this wall. The idea is to involve the audience and share the performance with them,” she added.

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