For the past five years, the Iyer Foundation, a cultural institution run by the Borivli (W)-based Pandit Balakrishna Iyer, a veteran tabla player, has been organising the Sur Mansur festival of classical music in honour of the late Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur, whom Iyer accompanied for more than
two decades, until the great vocalist's death in 1993.
"Mansur was the greatest male singer from the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana in the fifty-year period from 1940 to 1990," said Iyer. "This festival features singers from his gharana."
This year, the festival will open with a recital by Devaki Pandit, 48, a leading singer of the post-Kishori Amonkar era of Hindustani music. The Andheri (W)-based Pandit is versatile, with a grasp of several forms and a magnetic voice that instantly hooks the audience.
"The spectrum of her music is very wide," says Kandivli (E)-based sitarist Ravindra Chary.
"She sings hardcore raga music with the same mastery that she sings a film tune or a television serial's title song."
Pandit has sung for films Kabhi Ha Kabhi Na, Daayra and Saaz, the last of which had Ustad Zakir Hussain as the music composer.
A recipient of the Aditya Birla Kala Kiran award, in 2004, and one of the early winners of the prestigious Kesarbai Kerkar scholarship, Pandit's popularity soared after she became part of the jury of a television reality show.
She has learnt from Jitendra Abhisheki, Kishori Amonkar, Babanrao Haldankar and Vasantrao Kulkarni.
Pandit will be followed by Arun Dravid, a US-based singer who learnt from Moghubai Kurdikar and her daughter, Kishori Amonkar.
Tomorrow, you can hear Vijaya Jadhav Gatlewar, 57, one the early scholars of the prestigious ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata. She was trained by the late Pandit Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik, a senior guru there.
She is one of the most dedicated exponents of the Jaipur-Atrauli style. With relentless practice over more than 45 years, Gatlewar has achieved great flexibility in her voice.
Her mastery of complex ragas that are the speciality of her gharana, such as Bihagada, Raisa Kanada and Basanti Kedar, has won her a dedicated fan following.
Gatlewar is a faculty member of the Gangubai Hangal Institute in Dharwad. Pune-based Dr Alka Deo Marulkar will follow Gatlewar.
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