Padma Vibhushan Gaan Saraswati Kishori Amonkar the doyenne of the Jaipur Atrauli Gharana is a rare blend of tradition, imagination and creativity. She inherited music from her mother and Guru the legendary artiste, Gaan Tapaswini Mogubai Kurdikar. An emotive artiste, her voice is full of Bhava (feelings). Her deep involvement and total commitment towards Hindustani Music, her continuous search for innovations and improvements, her urge to imbibe the subtleties of other Gharanas and her monumental voice, make her a unique artiste. Her 'gayakee' is a combination of intelligence and aesthetic sense with a distinct feminine touch. She is highly acclaimed and looked upon as a role model by the present generation of artistes. Her formidable 'taleem, inherent talent, magnificent voice and commanding presence, contribute towards the making of the distinctive artiste that she is.
The Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Academi Award and the Sangeet Natak Academi Fellowship are just some of the honors bestowed upon her. Having travelled widely, Smt Kishori Amonkar may be considered n Ambassador of Indian Classical Music.
Colours are a function of the visual sensory system, based on perception. Colours are believed to have intrinsic powers, influencing moods, feelings and emotions. Music also possesses similar abilities that affect the senses. Any piece of music takes on the personal attributes of its practitioner, thus lending to it a uniqueness, akin to the various colours in an artiste's palette. When different colours are mixed together, an exclusive colour takes birth. Similarly, when different musical notes are combined with one another, a new raga emerges. Whilst a painter's artistic expression comes alive on the canvas, a musician's canvas is 'space' Even the same raga when rendered by 2 different musicians takes on 2 different interpretations. Further, the different genres such as bhajans, thumris, etc have an inherent colour of their own, which then blend with the performer's style to give the world a distinct musical colour.
This series on the colours of various musical genres is an attempt to showcase the diverse richness of the legacy of Hindustani Classical Music.
The Malhars are an ancient group of ragas associated with the life-giving monsoons of India. History has it that specific musical notes set to scientifically worked out meters were rendered to initiate the onset of rains. Ragas inspired by the monsoons have been categorized into the 'Malhar' family, which evoke the myriad joys of rain. Each of the individual Malhars was created in a different period, sometimes by design and sometimes by abstraction from folk music or from other ragas.
The 'Malhars' are traditionally rendered during any time of day or night in the rainy season. '
Malhar' is an Ang [Group of Notes] in Hindustani Classical Music which evolves the Swar Sangat as 'Ma; 'Re; Pa' and 'Ma; 'Pa; 'Ni','Dha', 'Ni; 'Saa' The combination of Malhar Ang along with several Ragas generates various 'Malhar Ragas' or 'Malhar Ke Prakar'.
The ragas from the 'Malhar 'family have a uniqueness about them. Each raga seems to exude a colour of its own. When this is layered with Gaan Saraswati Kishori Amonkar's genius, the raga takes on a totally new shade. 'Malhar Rang' is thus a palette of shades inspired by this exquisite blend.
About the Music
CD 1: Gaud Malhar is born out oft he coming together of the lyrical Gaud ang with the Malhar ang. The Gaud phraseology is abstracted from Western Indian folk traditions carrying with it lyrical folk flavours evoking the loneliness of deser expanses. The Gaud ang therefore gives this Malhar a quality of poignance. Kishori Amonkar has selected an ancient composition 'Kou yako barajat nahin' A woman pining for her lover yearns for somebody to stop the papiha (rainbird) from singing its song which torments her by reminding her of her beloved. A portrayal of viraha-the desolation of the nayika.
CD 2: Nat Malhar is a combination of the Raga Nat (which is also extended into a group) with the Malhar ang. The critical cadence in raga Nat is the slow, searching, upward phrase 'Sa-Re, Re-Ga, Ga-Ma: Nat has a majestic and languorous quality, tinged with a mysterious and misty character of distance. Nat-the actor- is symbolised by the beauteous peacock dancing to the call of romance in the rain-washed mountain breeze.
CD 3: Meera Malhar paints the stoic and dignified yet intense love which Meera had for Krishna. This rare and exclusive composition of the Jaipur Gharana - 'Tum Ghan Se' - has a remarkably well-knit structure which Kishori Amonkar employs with her own deep devotion to swara and the Almighty to create a virtual unity of music and divinity.
Sur-Malhar - Kishori Amonkar presents another Malhar from another great devotee of Krishna - the blind bhakti poet Surdas.
CD 4: Anand Malhar, a creation of Kishori Amonkar is the only Malhar which employs the Teevra Madhyam (Sharp Madhyam). The raga has been created by bringing together the beautiful Kalyan with the Malhar ang. Anandi is the woman with extraordinary beauty, whose knowledge of her own beauty evokes in her not vanity, but love for the Supreme. Anand Malhar is a celebration of the beauteous rain-drenched Anandi. Adana Malhar is born of the mixture of the raga Adana with Malhar.
CD 5: Miyan Malhar is believed to have originated from Miyan Tansen's version of Malhar. The Mughal Emperor Akbar was a great patron of music and was fascinated by Raga Malhar. He believed this raga had tremendous potential for further development. In this quest he encouraged the music intelligentsia of his court to develop new approaches. Thus was born Miyan Malhar.
Kishoritai's musical prowess is like an ocean. Whichever form she chooses to render, she does complete justice. When Kishoritai chooses to sing one of the Malhar ragas, it seems like the Rain God Himself decides to descend upon earth to partake in the magic. Little wonder then that we at Saregama have made an effort to bring to you the best of Malhars by Kishoritai in this unique pack.
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