Though the foundation of Hindustani classical sangeet (music) was established centuries ago, the work of legendary composers like Miya Tansen, Amir Khusrau and Rahim have nearly been lost over the years.
Now, the National Centre for the Performing Arts is hosting a three-day Bandish festival to revive the creations of these poets.
Classically renowned artistes will recite adaptations, given that the original syntax and tempo was never recorded. Says Dr Suvarnalata Rao, programming head - Indian music.
“We needed to understand primarily the way Hindustani classical music was conceived. That was the inspiration behind this festival.” Bandish is set to become an annual feature.
The adaptations include:
Birth of improvisation
Joining the Gundecha brothers, Ulhas Kashalkar, an exponent of the Gwalior, Agra and Jaipur traditions, says, “I will be singing the compositions of Sadarang and Adarang, composers who added to the ragas of Dhrupad in the 18th century.
Kashalkar will be mimicking the sound of poets who popularised khayal, which literally means expression in Hindustani classical music. “They composed songs with love lyrics and gave birth to improvisation,” he adds.
Bombay Jayashri, South Indian playback singer, Bombay S Jayashri, will be singing Dikshitar's kritis in Sanskrit and Papanasam's padams in Tamil.
“I grew up singing verses of artists who gave Carnatic music its unique syntax, which is different from Hindustani classical sangeet,” says Jayashri, who will be adapting the vocal works of Muthuswami Dikshitar and Papanasa Sivan.
Song of the Lord:
Shekhar Sen and Shujaat Husain Khan: Sen and Khan will perform recitals of Bhakti saints, Rakshan and Raheem and ghazals of Amir Khusrau Dehlavi.
He says, “None of us know how music was perceived during that era. We just need to understand it and perform our best.” Khan will be presenting a classical form of Sufi.
“It has been presented in folk and qawalli, but is rarely rendered in its classical form,” he says.
Times of yore:
Ramakant and Umakant Gundecha with Ulhas Kashalkar: Followers of one of the oldest vocal traditions, Dhrupad, Ramakant, along with his brother Umakant will be performing. “Tansen is our guru,” says Ramakant Gundecha.
“We have been singing Dhrupad as part of dagarbani gayaki (a sect of Dhrupad). Our lives have been spent researching and singing Tansen’s songs and verses. It will be incredible to give a recital.