Kirtan graduate course raises the pitch for a new career song

pune Updated: Jul 17, 2017 13:39 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Kirtan class,Graduate course

Students attend a Kirtan class by Charudutt Aphale at the Bharati Vidyapeeth, deemed university, in Kothrud.(Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO)

A formal college course in ‘kirtan,’ the traditional performing art of presenting stories from the Panchatantra, teachings of saints, or acts of valour of kings from history and mythology, is continuing to attract students in its second year at the Bharati Vidyapeeth, deemed university.

This year there are 17 students who have enrolled for the four-year diploma course which is equivalent to a graduate certificate. The course covers 16 kirtans in the Naradiya style as well as Warkari style, held over weekend batches. Many of the students are from all over Maharashtra and are taught in Marathi and Sanskrit, in addition to the distinct style of rendering kirtans which is a a performance artform. Last year, 15 students had enrolled when the course was launched.

Charudutt Aphale, who belongs to the 400-year-old tradition of the Kirtankar gharana, is teaching this year’s course. As he explained, “Kirtan is a format basically used to tell a story or a katha, along with the abhangas (poems of God).”

Pallavi Borate, the youngest student in the class said she was keen on mastering the art of kirtan. “I come from a Warkari family and am very interested in performing kirtans. I like coming to class to listen to Aphale ‘bua’ and Jadhav Maharaj.”

The idea was conceptualised by the School of Performing Arts’ director Sharangdhar Sathe. This course has been designed with inputs from Aphale and Nimbaraj Maharaj Jadhav and was launched last year.

“Kirtan is a style which is appreciated by all; it has humour, dramatisation of stories to make it more appealing and is interesting to its listeners,” said Aphale.

In fact, he is often asked by many youngsters to teach them the nuances of kirtan.

Aphale said that his father Govind Swami had undertaken to teach kirtan at their home in the 1960s. “Now I have a chance to teach the youth kirtan. There are five different styles of kirtan; viz Haridasi kirtan, Sampradyik Warkari Kirtan, Ramdasi kirtan, Dasgana Kirtan and Tukadoji Maharaj style,” he said.

Besides Bharti University, Kalidas University in Ramtek also offers a kirtan course. Aphale feels that though it is tough to make a career out of kirtans, one needs to give yourself completely into spirituality as well as creativity to keep the audience in a trance for two hours or more through abhangas, dance and the sounds of your voice.

First Published: Jul 17, 2017 13:38 IST