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Live Concert Swarutsav 2000

Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar

Tambura Players
Ojesh Pratap Singh, Shashank Maktedar
Tabla Player
Suresh Talwalkar
Harmonium Player
Viswanath Kanhre

About this album

No other music system in the world has raised the simple single voice melody to the level of aesthetic and psychological sophistication as the Hindustani art music tradition. Over the centuries melodic structures have been organized in an elaborate scheme of the Raga-ragini paddhyati and simple rhythmic patterns devised into complex cycles of Tales. Ragas are further endowed with psychological and emotional nuances, linked to seasons and even the time of the day.

While the earlier musical forms relied heavily on lyrics of religious content, with the coming of the Islamic influence, north India adopted a freer, more secular and abstract form called the Khayal. With its scope for play of imagination and emotional interpretation of the raga this form is predominantly favored by musicians today. Khayal developed over the last three centuries under princely patronage and some half a dozen styles called the gharana-gayiki-s came to exist. However, lately individual eclecticism has ensured that the distinction between these regional styles have largely blurred.

India Today Swarutsav proudly presents the two finest exponents of this genre Kishori Amonkar and Ulhas Kashalkar in a morning concert and an evening recital respectively. Representing instrumental music at the festival was the undisputed master of the santoor, Shiv Kumar Sharma.

Ulhas Kashalkar is that rare modern vocalist who combines in his personal vocalism all that is best in the traditional gayiki-s of the Gwalior, Agra and Jaipur gharana-s. He begins his recital in the Agra mould with a short introductory alap in the rare Raga Bihagada and follows it with two Jaipur Khayal compositions set to slow and fast teentala.

Such is his understated virtuosity, that the grammatical complexities of the Raga and the split second perfection of rhythmic play appear magically simple. Mark the effortless dexterity of his spiraling tana-s and the intellectually brilliant interpretation of the complicated Raga Bihagda at times very reminiscent of the late Mallikarjun Mansur.

The second part of Ulhas Kashlkar's recital is more in keeping with the Gwalior tradition wherein he takes up the Ragas Sohini and Kafi. A late night Raga Sohini has a romantic yet plaintive mood and Ulhas Kashalkar sings two tightly structured compositions in it. His concluding choice of the springtime Raga Kafi is given a playful and buoyant treatment as is done in bandish-ki-thumri.

A sterling performance by the passionate and imaginative master of Khayal today.

In contrast to his gentle self-effacing personality, Ulhas Kashalkar's vocalism is turbo charged. His pliant tuneful voice spins dazzling fast pirouettes and engages in complex rhythmic acrobatics keeping his audience guessing what turn his vibrant imagination is going to take next. Ulhas Kashalkar has been trained by great masters of both the Gwalior and the Jaipur schools like his father P.D. Kashalkar and Gajanan Rao Joshi. Ulhas Kashalkar's genius combines creativity and tradition in a seam-less whole.

Tracks

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