Today‘s program was so divine from the moment it started. It was dark and cold and beautifully landscaped with Gateway of India as the backdrop. Both Padmashri Umakant ji and Padmashri Ramakant ji started with ‘Jai Shiva Shankar’ a Dhruvapad in Raag Lalit. Ramakant ji deftly touching ati kharaj (mandra saptak ) notes in his powerful baritone voice in the initial alap and Umakant ji merging it with mandra and taar saptak with equal strength with nom tom and suddenly #SukhadMunde ji joining in with Pakhawaj in 3/4th rhythm cycle suddenly connected us to the divine in the very beginning even before the Dhruvapad started. The Dhruvapad was in Sooltal and sounded like lord Shiva’s tandav in the heavens. With the drut improvisations of dugun, tigun, chaugun, tihais (mathematical fractions of double, third, fourth, triplets), the audience simply couldn’t stop vowing. Wah! wah! wah! went on throughout the performance.
Next they presented a poem by Jaishankar prasad dwivedi – Ashok ki Chinta. It is a description of King Asoka’s feelings just after the Kalinga war. We did study about it in our literature and history class as kids but never thought of poetry in Dhruvapad in this way. This was again composed in Raag Lalit. With pakhawaj in 16 beats was a treat to the music lovers present in this morning who deeply could connect to lyrics
‘ जलता है यह जीवन पतंग जीवन कितना?
अति लघु क्षण,
ये शलभ पुंज-से कण-कण,
तृष्णा वह अनलशिखा बन
दिखलाती रक्तिम यौवन।
जलने की क्यों न उठे उमंग?
We were so mesmerised when suddenly Umakant ji said ‘5 aur minute aapka lenge, ek gurjari todi me choti si prastuti’. The audience was so dissapointed to hear it is about to end. With the sun rising on the horizon, this composition in drut Teevra taal Dhruvapad suddenly paced up our energies with its divine lyrics.
Katat vikar naam uchhar
Jo nar sumire naam
Jagatido pe sab sansar
Dharm adhar vidya par.
It was indeed a Spiritual Morning in every way. #ShashiVyas ji gave a vote of thanks to the artists and couldn’t stop himself in reciting these verses of a poet manish
“Suraj ki tapan asman me hoti hai
Tadapna dharti ko padta hai
Pyar ankho se hota hai
Tadapna dil ko padta hai ” leaving the audience in peals of laughter as the sun was now getting hotter. He rightly said that Gundecha brothers kept the pace very well “Dhrupad ki gati Shant se drut”, just the way it should be. “Is Behtareen mehfil ke liye shukriya”. Mangala ji and amol accompanied on tanpura.
Gundecha brothers, Padmashri Umakant Gundecha ji and Padmashri Ramakant Gundecha , are one of the leading exponents of Dagarhani Dhruvapad gharana. For those who don’t know, just like Khayal Gayaki, Dhruvapad Gayan is an ancient traditional form of Hindustani singing. It was prevalent even during the vedanta era. The Samagana system of Samaveda (verses with tunes ) evolved into Chanda-Prabandha which had verses with a specific oragnisation(taal). This later came to improvise as the Dhruvapad.
Dhrupad music is spiritual and divine while Khayal gayaki is more of demonstration of a dialogue between the notes, interval and mood of the raag. Dhruvapad is performed with Pakhawaj as percussion as opposed to tabla in Khayal gayaki. Besides this, Dhruvapad instruments are the Surbahar and Rudraveena. This renders even more depth and fuller tonality to the ambience of Dhruvpad performance. A Dhruvpad has four sections –
Sthayi- That ranges from Kharaj to Mandra Saptak ( lower octaves to the middle octave)
Antara- That ranges from Mandra to taar Saptak (Middle to higher octaves)
Sanchari- The third part (absent in Khayal Gayaki) improvises upon the first section and second section ranging from kharaj to taar saptak.
Abhog-The concluding part( absent in Khayal Gayaki) that winds up the whole presentation.