Kishori Amonkar is unquestionably the most versatile and popular woman vocalist of the present generation. Kishori’s is the kind of music that
casts its magic spell over her listeners as few others can. Kishori Amonkar also enjoys the singular distinction as the first woman pioneer of the
avant garde movement in Hindustani music. And that makes her a controversial exponent of the musical tradition of North India.
Daughter and disciple of the great Mogubai Kurdikar, the doyenne of the Atrauli-Jaipur gharana, it is natural that music to her is a
maternal inheritance. But her genius has sought to overshadow the blue-blooded gharana, pioneered by her mother’s mentor, Ustad Alladiya
Khan. Thereby, she has widened her horizons of musical expression and discovered “fresh fields and pastures new”, to the perennial delight and
fulfillment of millions of her fans.
Raga Jaunpuri: This is a raga, conventionally rendered in the later hours of the morning. It has a caressive, persuasive quality, with an undertone
of melancholic yearning caused by separation. This mood is captured and projected so eloquently by the artiste.
Technically, Jaunpuri is a shadava-sampurna raga, in which gandhar is omitted from its aroha. One opinion regards dhaivat and gandhar
as its vadi and samvadi swaras. Another view is that nishad and gandhar are, respectively, its vadi and samvadi swaras. Be that as it may, this in no
way affects the innate emotional content of the melody.
The artiste begins her presentation with a slow-tempo depiction, set to teentaal (16 and appeal of its own, which has swayed the
emotions of listeners down the centuries. It has an odava (pentatonic) build-up, in which madhyam and nishad are completely to convey the mood
of the hour - one of anticipation, not unmixed with a tinge of suspense. The raga takes gandhar and dhaivat as its vadi and samvadi swaras. The
two-tier unfolding presented here, it begins with a slow-tempo composition, followed by a faster one, both set to teentaal (16 matras).
Raga Pat-Bihag: This is one of the most intricate and complex melodies to be found in the wide and varied raga repertory of North
India. The result is that few artistes are seen to have made an attempt to understand and interpret it. Those who have done so have given variations
that are as bewildering as they are confusing.
Pat-Bihag is believed to be a fusion of many melodies and there is no unanimity about its vadi and samvadi swaras. The version, heard
here, makes use of both komal and shudh variations of gandhar as well as nishad, while the remaining swaras are shudh. The unfolding, rendered
in the madhyalaya, set to teentaal, is a composition that is touching, musically as well as lyrically.
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