If the monsoon is around can music be far behind? Malhar Rang, a concert devoted to the oldest and one of the most melodious monsoon-inspired ragas of Hindustani classical music, and a mystical extravaganza based on the compositions of the legendary Amir Khusrau and Kabir come back to back on June 21 and 22.
While the former is being organised by Pancham Nishad and feature stalwarts of classical music Ulhas Kashalkar and Budhaditya Mukherjee, the latter, a Banyan Tree presentation, will have Madan Gopal Singh & Chaar Yaar of Punjab, Mukhtiyar Ali of Rajasthan and the Warsi Brothers & group from Hyderabad.
Pancham Nishad director Shashi Vyas told dna, “Malhar Rang is the first concert of this season in Mumbai. This concert is very close to my heart as monsoon creates magic in the air and this magic will be multiplied by the maestros of classical music Ulhasji and Budhadityaji performing various Malhar art forms, such as Miyan Malhar, Ramdasi Malhar, Megh-Malhar, Surdasi Malhar, Gaud Malhar and more.”
One of the most sought-after Hindustani classical vocalists, Kashalkar has received training in the Gwalior, Jaipur and Agra gharana styles and is considered a representative of all three schools. He adheres to the aesthetic contours of each individual style and also to the formal demands of the raga being presented. He is well known for his authentic presentations of seldom-heard traditional ragas.
“I’ll be singing a variety of Malhar ragas and, as per the tradition, these ragas are sung only during the rains as that’s when they get their full flavour; the rains help in capturing their spirit,” he said.
Renowned sitar and surbahar player of the Imdadkhani Gharana, Budhaditya Mukherjee was taught by his father Bimalendu Mukherjee. In 1970, he won two national-level music competitions and soon after was famously endorsed by none less than the auteur Satyajit Ray and then South Indian veena legend Balachander who proclaimed him “sitar artist of the century”.
Mukherjee has toured the world extensively, giving concerts in over 25 countries. He has also taught students from different parts of the world from time to time at the Instituto Interculturale di Studi Musicali Comparati in Venice and the Rotterdam Conservatory.
“Performing in Mumbai has always been a great experience. The audience genuinely loves classical music and cheers us giving more vigor to perform at our best,” he said.
Director of Banyan Tree Mahesh Babu said, “India has been blessed by the presence of several poet saints through centuries. Among the most revered and popular from north India are Hazrat Amir Khusrau and Saint Kabir. This concert, Khusrau-Kabir, celebrates the rich legacy of the two geniuses whose works continue to guide us even today.”
A great poet, an accomplished linguist, skilled warrior, prolific writer and, a great musician, Amir Khusrau had all the name, fame, wealth and success at his feet all his life. However, for the layman, least concerned with the history and political upheavals of the period, he remains a great mystic, a Sufi saint, a Sufi poet.
His works were a source of pride and happiness for many. He not only created tomes of creative prose and poetry but also contributed in the making of hallmark instruments of Indian classical music -- the Tabla and the Sitar; 700 years since, his contribution to the world of Indian art is truly unmatched.
Kabir on the other hand is one of the most loved and revered mystics of India. He was a fearless poet, reformer, critic, seeker and spiritual master all rolled into one. He spoke against all hypocrisy in the society regardless of its religious roots. His works abound in spiritual wisdom, universal love, oneness of all creation and, above all, about the spiritual path and gratitude to the satguru, continue to inspire people from all walks of life beyond the divides of age, nationality, religion and culture.
Madan Gopal Singh the Indian composer, singer, lyricist, actor, screenwriter, film theorist and editor who, along with his group Chaar Yaar, has performed extensively in India and abroad for the last eight years.
A collective that pushes audiences into realms of divinity, comprises of four fantastic musicians who share a passion for all things ‘worldy’ wise. They combine the Sufiana kalam with traditional folk sounds which is exceptional. They have had the honour and privilege of performing at some of the most prestigious international festivals.
Mukhtiyar Ali is known for a unique voice with which he sings of the divine communion with an ecstasy created in total detachment. He pervades this very essence of sufiana kalam with his involvement not just in the music but also in its poetry. He blends the Rajasthani folk idiom with refined classicism to sing the poetry of saint Kabir.
The Warsi Brothers & group are among the most sought-after qawwals not just across India but around the world. Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi & Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi are the recognised for the traditional qawwali, ghazals, thumri as well as classical music. In fact, they are the descendants of a disciple of Amir Khusrau. Their performances are known for rich poetic repertoire and instant connect with the audience.