Spending Time With the Purvi Raga.....

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.

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21 responses »

  1. vimala madon says:

    Your blog was really a learning experience Indrani. Keep them coming.

  2. Dear Indra,

    A lovely post. I always thought that you were good at writing music reviews.

    Your taste and passion for music seeps in through your words.

    • Indrani Talukdar says:

      Thanks so much Shail. I’ll try and give you something you might really like for the next post which won’t be immediately, though.

  3. Varun Reddy says:

    After seeing this post, I have concluded that my musical taste sucks… The closest I have come to listening to anything “classical” are the songs of the movie “Morning Raga”… I lost track of what I was reading after the first paragraph. However, since I am not an afternoon tea drinker, I guess this post was not meant for me.. But you do have a passion for music – that’s a given 🙂

  4. deepika says:

    Thanks Indrani for such a surila blog. You have a sound backround of music.
    My son is learning hindustani classical from prayag sangeet mahavidyalay and preparing for first year exam. I too have an inclination towards classical music.

    • Indrani Talukdar says:

      Thanks Deepika, for reading. I did learn music , thats right. I am really happy to know that your son is learning Hindustani music, not many young people who do these days.

  5. Sonal Shree says:

    Great blog and so informative. I met Pandit Bhajan Sopori and his wife during a train journey two years ago and realized these people have an aura and grace of their own.
    As far as ragas are concerned, I only know names of some like Bheem Palasi, Baageshwari, Bhairav and Bhairavi, Yaman etc. Purvi is new for me. Used to learn classical music as a youngster. This blog is so nostalgic for me.
    My father knows a lot about music. I will share this blog with him.

    • Indrani Talukdar says:

      Thanks Sonal, for visiting. I have met Sopori myself. He ghas promoted the santoorthe way no one has. Please pay my respects to your father.

  6. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Not as much to boast about. Have not heard Shounak Abhisheki…………..would like to hear him!

  7. Beyniaz says:

    Lovely blog, like the tinkling of cowbells at dusk.

  8. Sneha says:

    I have a lot to learn through these reviews of you, Indrani. Fiction or non-fiction, you rule the roost !

    • Indrani Talukdar says:

      Thanx such a lot Sneha, such a sweet thing to say. Well, what about you? You write so well, I have to learn from YOU!

      • Sneha says:

        Well, this coming from you… I’m a little spell bound actually. Very happy…thanks! 🙂

  9. vimala ramu says:

    A masterful review. I suppose “poorvi” is same as ‘Poorvikalyan’ of south.

    • Indrani Talukdar says:

      Thanks Vimala for reading. I will try and find out if Poorvikalyan is the same as Poorvi; it could belong to the same family, I suppose.

  10. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Beginning with Poorvi and ending with Triveni, all twilight ragas. Yaman seems a little out of place though as it is considered to be a purely evening raga when the sun has set and the sky is painted with a darker hue. Perhaps the latter has been blended in to highlight the interplay of Teevra Madhyam which finds a stronger hold in Hindusthani Ragas as dusk deepens into evening and evening progresses towards night.

    A divinely documented review! Kudos! Shall try to get hold of this one for sure.

    • Indrani Talukdar says:

      What I meant was that Pooriya Dhanashri is the afternoon counterpart of Yaman. Here it is, in the second para “… 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….”
      And thanks a lot for reading and also for your encouraging words. You have studied music, haven’t you Geetashree?

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