RAGA KAUNSI KANADA
A night raga, Kaunsi Kanada is a combination of Ragas Malkauns and Darbari Kanada. It is a relatively new raga in our tradition and has become popular over the past five decades. The Raga is performed in either the Bageshwari Ang style or in the Malkauns Ang style. In this raga, the Vaadi swara (the note most frequently used) is ‘Ma’ and the Samvaadi swara (the second most frequently used note) is ‘Sa’. Both the vilambit and drut compositions, featured in Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s performance, are by Pandit Ratan Jankar of the Agra Gharana. They are sung extensively by musicians of all the prevailing gharanas. Kaunsi Kanada has a fairly complex raga structure and it is not often that musicians pull off a virtuoso performance of this raga. This is exactly what Panditji has done here. In his own strikingly individualistic way, he takes this raga to great heights, setting his own stamp on this difficult yet very engaging melody.
Listening to this exquisite vocal performance is an undiluted treat. It will arouse the curiosity of his fans as to why Bhimsenji did not perform this melody earlier in his career. Still, the fulfillment and satisfaction that the listener feels on hearing this outstanding performance will make the long wait worth it.
Thaat - Asawari
Time - Midnight
Aroha : Sa, Dha Ni Sa, Re Ga, Re Sa, Ma Pa, Ga Ma, Dha Ni Sa
Avroha : Sa Ni Dha, Ma Pa, Ga, Re Ga, Ma Ga Re Sa
THUMRI BAVRE DAM DE GAYO
This is a traditional thumri which the pioneer of the Kirana Gharana – Ustad Abdul Karim Khan used to sing throughout his career. Bhimsenji pays a tribute to Khansaheb with his wondrous rendition of this thumri. He has never recorded this particular composition before, and thus it is a rare treat for his listeners. Raga Kafi, on which the thumri is based, is Panditji’s siddha raga, demonstrated in the truly masterfully way in which he has sung this particular melody.
PT. BHIMSEN JOSHI
Unquestionably brilliant and charismatic, Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi was born on 4th February 1922, in the small town of Gadag, Karnataka. Deeply influenced by the recordings of Ustand Abdul Karim Khan that he heared in the local record store, panditji ran away from home in order to pursue his musical studies. Later after he was brought back, Panditji began his tutelage under Sawai Gandharva (Pandit Rambhau Kundgolkar), a great master of the Kirana gharana, who himself was a pupil of Abdul Karim Khan for 10 to 12 years. Relentless and vigorous, this training added a luster and brilliance to his naturally tuneful voice that has dazzled the entire world for decades now.
The legacy of his Guru’s rich and rare musical treasures and Panditji’s constant quest for newer domains has helped him develop his own distinctive style, excelling in gamakar, meend and tanakriya and adopting interesting characteristics from other gharanas. A style that without losing the sensitivity to the mood and nuances of a particular musical piece, intersperses it with rapid Taans that glide through all the three Saptaks, sending the listeners into raptures.
Blessed with an amazing understanding of the soul of the Swara and Raga, and developing mastery not only over the khayal idiom but also over Thumri, he remains at the zenith as one of the most popular and dedicated artistes in the realm of Hindustani Shastriya Sangeet. He earned his first platinum disc in 1986. He has been honoured with the Padma Shree in 1972, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1985. For years, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi led the renaissance of Indian classical music with passion and utmost dedication. Despite changing times, he has steadfastly adhered to khayal-gayaki, even while striving to strike a balance between the yesterday and today.
The Unsung series is yet another exemplary presentation of the magnificence of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s abundant devotion to the subject. It is a manifestation of the great inherent spirit that he has exhibited throughout his life. Each a masterpiece in itself, the Unsung series is a collection of ragas and some raga-bound compositions that he has never recorded before. His boundless creativity, and his total being saar to infinite heights of fulfillment as he unleashes his talent in these recordings, filling everything with a sense of oneness with the elusive ultimate peak of Naad Brahma – the quintessential state of bliss for which every musician strives.
1. Raga – Kaunsi Kanada Vilambit Ektaal ‘Rajan Ke Sirtaj’ Drut Teentaal ‘Kahe Karat Mose Barjori’
2. Thumri (based on Raga Kafi Deepchandi Taal) ‘Bavre Dam De Gayo’
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi celebrates his 80th birthday with this never-before recorded collection of ragas. These have been selected by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi himself and have been recorded specially for Times Music.
Recorded and Mixed of Western Outdoor Studio, Mumbai. Engineer: Avinash Oak. Edited by Chinmay Harshe at Insync Studios, Mumbai. Cover Photographs by Sunil Cherian. Raga writeups by Bakul Bhavsar.