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Venkatesh Kumar M

Venkatesh Kumar M

About this album

The growing reputation of Venkatesh Kumar as a front ranking vocalist at present is built on solid artistic achievement. Coming from a family steeped in the traditions of classical music and folk art, Venkatesh Kumar came under the tutelage of Dr. Puttaraj Gawai of the Gwalior gharana at Veereswara Punyashrama, Gadag and Karnataka founded by the great Panchakshari Gawai. Thirteen years of rigorous sadhana under the guiding eye of his guru and venkatesh Kumar's genius flowered.

Immense dedication and passion for his art chissled a fine musician out of his latent musical gifts. His gayaki is characterized by an imaginative grasp of the possibilities of melody and rhythm in the context of Indian raga music. The quest for purity in swara and subtlety in laya and achieving an exquisite balance between the two is the hallmark of his Gwalior gharana gayaki. An 'A' grade artiste of AIR, Venkatesh Kumar teaches music at Karnatak University, Dharwad.

A word of Persian origin, 'Khyal' suggests imagination. Earlier to Khyal, 'Dhrupad' - meaning fixed gait - was the dominant form of classical music. With increasing secularization of temperament and taste, both of the artiste and audience, the restrictive rhythms and the arid austerity of the dhrupad made way for the celebrative sensuality of Khyal. It was Niyamat Khan, better known as Sadarang, who brought khyal gayaki into wide currency. A court musician under Mohammed Shah Rangile in the 18th century, Sadarang composed and rendered khyals of exquisite beauty. The undulating plasticity inherent in the sthayi and anthara, the two segments of the structure of the Khyal, its endless potential for exploring the musical depths of melody and rhythm, coupled with the amazing range of its emotional vocabulary mirroring a thousand emotions in all their complex richness, makes Khyal the most popular form of musical expression in Hindustani classical music.

Lalit is a melody of twilight, which fuses the mystery of the fading night with the expectation of the awakening day. Emerging from Marwa thaat, the emotional amplitude of Lalit covers a range of feelings from nostalgic reminiscence to tender piety. Venkatesh Kumar's musical imagination begins an exploration of the melodic depths of Lalit through the vilambit composition 'Ye more ghar aa'. Juztaposing the shudh and teevra madhyam next to each other, the vocalist carves out the contours of Lalit with consummate skill. The drut composition 'Balama aaye' in ektal is studded with a dazzling variety of taans, charming sargam and imaginative layakari. Umakanth Puranik's nimble fingers on the harmonium create tonal hues of silky grace while trailing the main melodic line of the vocalist, all to the enhancing rhythm accompaniment of Prahlad Mokashi's tabla.

Shree is an enchanting evening melody originating from Purvi-thaat. Mythical folklore projects Shree as one of the primal ragas emanating from the face of Brahma, the cosmic creator. Venkatesh Kumar renders here the vilambit composition 'Anand de mukh chandra' set to ektal. As the alap unfolds, the melodic elaborations undulate around the vadhi rishab and samvadi pancham, by a subtle use of grace notes the vocalist teases out the melodic ambience of raga Shree. The breezy drut composition 'Baaje muraliya' is full of dazzling taans, pleasing sargams and imaginative rhythm play.


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