Purvi, the raga of dusk, of cowbells ringing in the darkening twilight, of the cowherd and his flute… It is the raga of staidness, of a sated and fulfilled time of the late afternoon siesta. Thaat Purvi, a melody quartet on Purvi-based ragas launched by the Music Today stable is redolent with the profound mysticism of Sufism. Listen to this one while sipping your afternoon cup of tea.
It is said that when Pundit Bhatkhande was building a framework to accommodate all the ragas he was at pains to decide between Pooriya Dhanashri and Purvi. Ultimately, however, he settled for Purvi as the parent thaat of all the ragas with the same temperament.
The first recital in Raga Basant by the Kirana doyen Pt. Bhimsen Joshi is a sheer aural treat. The spring melody in the sixteen-beat teen taal flows moltenly, puckered by beautiful tans. The entrée itself is marked by a lightening bol tan that gives way to a mesmerizing composition, the hallmark of a true maestro. I only wish, though, that the maestro had picked the sarangi for accompaniment instead of settling for the rather pedestrian harmonium as this hacks down the performance a notch.
The next offering, a short composition in Pooriya Dhanashri, the afternoon counterpart of the exotic evening melody, Raga Yaman, is in Ustad Rashid Khan’s magnificent baritone timber. This torch bearer of the rather martinet Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana which traces its rich tradition to the Senia Gharana, bears (pun intended) all the hallmarks of the former. A full-throated rendition and medium-slow tans underscores the romanticism inherent in Pooriya Dhanashri. A beloved calling out to her lover; that’s the spirit of this raga.
Shruti Sadolikar’s recital in Raga Shree in her signature haveli-style is also commendable. Not many can pull off this meend pradhan raga with such aplomb as this doyenne of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. The climatic tans act as auditory calmatives.
The piece de resistance is the last number by Shounak Abhisheki, the talented son of Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, who deftly combines the Jaipur and Agra styles of singing in his rendition of the quite rare Raga Triveni. Like its sibling Lalit, the latter eschews the Madhyam or Fourth but continues to be slippery without an anchor unlike Lalit. Abhisheki’s singing, however, packs in all the punches of a masterly rendering. An afternoon treat, not to be missed.