The bhairavi marks a concert finale. That rule was broken on a popular demand by the audience, who wouldn't let kirana-gharana vocalist Jayteerth Mevundi, leave the stage at the Pancham Nishad organised a two-day concert - Classical & Beyond.
The 42-year-old Hubli-born vocalist, known for his impeccable taankari, delivered with effortless ease in the style of the late legend Pt Bhimsen Joshi - had to give in and sing the Purandara D?sa-composition Bhagyada Laxmi baramma on Saturday. That only seemed made the audience more hungry. They also got him to sing the Brahmananda composition Jo bhaje hari ko sadaa.
"The credit should go to Pt Joshi, whose renditions of both these compositions have made a home in people's hearts," offers Mevundi in his signature modesty. Incidentally, these devotional compositions came on the heels of a traditional kirana gharana bhairavi, jamuna ke teer. When asked about how he feels about carrying the kirana-gharana mantle forward, Mevundi, who rendered an electrifying Mian ki Malhar and Basant at the concert, said, "It's very kind of people, who think so but I've no such illusions. I only keep polishing my craft and try to live up to people's expectations."
Given his initiation to music at a very tender age under the guidance of his mother and his formal training under Sangeet Ratna, Pt Arjunsa Nakod and late Pt Shripati Padigar, a disciple of Pt Joshi, not many are willing to take this modesty at face value.
Among them Shashi Vyas of Pancham Nishad, who called both Mevundi, Kaushiki Chakraborty of the Patiala gharana and sitarist Niladri Kumar (who performed on Sunday), "the promise of the future." According to him, "Like everything else in life, classical arts too need infusion of young blood. The arrival of artistes like these fills one with hope about the future of this ancient tradition."
Kaushiki Chakraborty, who took the audience by storm before Mevundi with raag Puriya and Kedar, had already had audiences eating off her hands with her unique rendition of the thumri - yaad piya ki aaye too, said, "It's an honour when it's said I'm 'carrying the legacy forward.' It only signals I'm headed in the right direction," but added, "If I allow this to go to my head it'll stop my growth. In fact, this raises the bar several notches for me to better my art."
A view, echoed by sitarist Niladri Kumar. The classical and fusion musician, who modified the sitar and created the unique instrument zitar too showed his mettle with his performance. Born to sitarist Kartick Kumar, a disciple of the Bharat Ratna sitar legend Pt Ravi Shankar, Niladri trained under his father when four and gave his first public performance at six at the Aurovile. Known for his association with Bollywood biggies like AR Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Pritam, he said, "It's always a pleasure to perform in Mumbai among music connoisseurs," and added, "The contribution of the legendary stalwarts who've come before is huge. We are only trying to follow in their footsteps." Niladri was accompanied by Gino Banks (drums), Sheldon D'Silva (bass guitar), Agnelo Fernandes (keyboard), Ojas Adhiya (tabla) and Sridhar Parthasarthy (Mridangam and Kanjeera).