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A celebration of sadhana

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The annual Sangeet Samaroh in Goa in reminiscence of the legendary Kesarbai Kerkar is a homage to all the ladies who turned colossal figures in classical music

The brochure of Kala Academy’s not too long ago concluded fortieth version of Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Samaroh in Goa introduces the incomparable Kesarbai thus: ‘Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar’s life was the enactment of a noble soul’s craving for reaching musical perfection with perseverance and tenacity. Kesarbai was God’s reward to Goa’.

On the sprawling, lovely premises of Kala Academy, giant numbers of music lovers, critics, connoisseurs congregated as an affidavit to the above assertion. Whereas it was true of Goans, it was true of classical music lovers throughout India and out of doors India as nicely. Individuals had travelled from numerous components of the nation and overseas to pay their respects to this priceless gem of Indian music and in addition to hearken to the advantageous music line-up for 3 days.

Kesarbai Kerkar, the consummate queen of the Jaipur Atrauli gharana, didn’t hanker for title or fame. Relentless battle for perfection in music was her singular aim. A competition in reminiscence of her is a pilgrimage for many musicians. Each musician – upcoming to senior– who carried out at this competition invariably acknowledged this.

Flawlessly organised and fantastically curated, the competition should undoubtedly determine within the annual calendar of all musical lovers. Excerpts from an interview with the Programme and Improvement Officer, Dattaguru Amonkar, Kala Academy, Goa.

So many musicians who hailed from Goa went on to grow to be giants on this planet of music. Why did the Kala Academy determine to host an annual competition in reminiscence of Kesarbai Kerkar?

There are various legendary musicians who hailed from Goa. I wish to bear in mind the good Bablibai Salgaonkar, the disciple of Nathan Khan Agrewale. A six-footer with a robust physique, she regarded like a wrestler. Ustad Alladiya Khan, her modern, thought of her a unprecedented musician and Ustad Abdul Karim Khan apparently by no means sang after her at any music convention. She was additionally the court docket musician of the princely state of Bhavnagar. In her later years, she was drawn to spirituality and sang very much less. She, nonetheless, was not as well-known as Kesarbai.

Kala Academy began a Kesarbai Pageant 40 years in the past for multiple cause. Her music constituted the perfect of all facets of music — mental and emotional. She was the disciple of the emperor of music, Sangeet Samrat Ustad Alladiya Khan, who thought of her his true successor. Poet Rabindranath Tagore gave her the title, Surashree. Contemplating all this, the Kala Academy felt it was essential to maintain Kesarbai’s reminiscence alive, somebody who regardless of all odds turned a number one musician.

I don’t suppose there may be another competition in India that pays tribute to a lady musician.

There have been a number of nice musicians from this area: Bhaskarbua Bakhale, Jitendra Abhisheki, Anjanibai Malpekar… however once you have a look at the lifetime of Kesarbai, you realise what it means to grow to be a star in a society dominated by males. She got here from the Kalavanth group, the place ladies had been pressed into the service of the temple. They had been phenomenally gifted, however had no standing in society. The moms of all these nice daughters strived to hone the expertise of their daughters in order that they had been identified to the world by the standard of their artwork. It was not simple; the travails of their lives is tough to clarify. Kesarbai Kerkar, Mogubai Kurdikar, Saraswatibai Jambavalikar, Bablibai Salgaonkar, Dattibai Nageshkar… all these ladies turned sensible musicians. In remembering Kesarbai we’re remembering all of them.

Kesarbai was identified for her sadhana, she practised music like penance. She was identified for her unparalleled guru bhakti, her uncompromising nature, and her pursuit of perfection. What do you want to uphold by way of your competition?

Her guru bhakti. As you recognize, Ustad Alladiya Khan was not keen initially to take her as his disciple. And when he did, he didn’t enable her to sing in public for 25 years. Not as soon as did Kesarbai really feel bitter about this. Belief in her guru was implicit. Now individuals simply drop phrases like ‘guru seva’ with out even understanding its which means totally. Studying is now a business exercise. In three months you wish to grasp a raga, in two years you wish to be on stage. Throughout Kesarbai’s time, the gurus taught a raga for a number of years; it was not about studying a raga alone, they had been grooming the voice, approach, and most significantly the power to suppose. Kesarbai was an skilled is ragas like Sawani Nat, Nat Behag, Nayaki Kanada and plenty of others.

It is sort of a gold customary. She and Mogubai had been Alladiya Khan saab’s most interesting disciples. However have you learnt what he mentioned to Kesarbai? “Music is like an ocean. What you have got taken from me is just some drops.” This he informed her after 30 years of gurukul coaching! We wish to move on these values. Humility is a superb advantage, with out which artwork is shallow.

The competition simply accomplished its fortieth version. What has been its journey?

There has all the time been a conscientious effort to carry the perfect musicians from throughout the nation. Finest shouldn’t be standard, however scholarly. Within the very first version, we had Nisar Hussain Khan saab, so you may think about! The competition has been strictly Hindustani, however within the final 5 years we have now added a small element of Carnatic music. We’re but to usher in a vocal musician, however we have now had Vikku Vinayakram, U. Shrinivas, Umayalapuram Sivaraman, Selvaganesh, Ganesh and Kumaresh, and Jayanti Kumaresh. Final yr, we introduced within the percussion ensemble led by ghatam artiste Sukanya Ramgopal.

The curation of this competition is fully on benefit. There’s a three-member staff which included Prasad Sawkar, Ajay Naik and me for this version.

What’s Kala Academy’s contribution is to the world of classical music?

It’s immense. Each artiste feels their profession has been elevated by acting at this competition. They maintain it in excessive esteem. It’s also a possibility for kids to find out about Kesarbai Kerkar. If they’re impressed sufficient to study classical music and emulate her in small methods, it’s a huge step for us.

Goa misplaced most of its musicians to Bombay however brings all of them again by way of this competition.

Though Goa produced legendary musicians like Abhisheki, Karekar, Kishori Amonkar and a number of other others, they needed to go away Goa in search of a guru or a possibility. They established themselves as high performers and introduced title and fame to Goa. In reality, there’s a standard saying, ‘Maharashtra sings in Goa’s voice’. If they’d remained in Goa, they might not have achieved all this.

You will have additionally began a competition in Kishori Amonkar’s reminiscence.

Sure, we had one version; hopefully we may have the second this yr. Kala Academy’s basic council determined to carry this competition as a mark of respect to Goa’s daughter Kishori Amonkar.

(A report on the 40tth Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Samaroh

might be revealed subsequent week.)

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