In March 2007, Prakriti Foundation’s music festival, christened ‘Gharana’, continued the precedent set the previous year with three evenings of musical concerts at the Museum Theatre, Chennai.
Venue: The Museum Theatre, Chennai, 7 p.m.
30th March 2007
Dhrupad Vocal by Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar, with Pravin Arya on Pakhawaj.
31st March 2007
Hindustani instrumental on the Sarangi by Pt. Dhruba Ghosh, with Yogesh Samsi on Tabla.
1st April 2007
Hindustani instrumental on the Surbahar by Pt. Pushpraj Koshti, with Akhilesh Gundecha on Pakhawaj.
This year, Dhrupad was presented by Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar. The distinctive musical idiom of the Dagar family is the Dagar bani, one of the four traditional styles of alaap in Dhrupad singing. It is said to have arisen from the Shuddha Giti style mentioned in Sharangdev's famous musical treatise 'Sangeet Ratnakar' and in accordance with the practical tradition of the Nayaks, particularly Nayak Baiju and Nayak Gopal who were famous musicians of the 12th century. Compositions of these Nayaks preserved by the Dagar family are as remarkable for their poetic content as for their musical value. The Dagar family is perhaps the only one in North India to have maintained the tradition of the Vedic pronunciation base of Hindustani music as contained in Sanskrit musicology.
The Sarangi is the premier bowed instrument in Hindustani concert Music. It is performed solo as well as in accompaniment to Hindustani vocal music. It has a concert music history of more than a hundred and fifty year although it has been existing in the folk genre in varying shapes, timbres and names for centuries. There are many schools or styles of playing and techniques developed by their great exponents.
The Sarangi is held vertically and placed on the lap. The three main strings are of gut and are played with the cuticles of the middle three fingers of the left hand. Thirty-five sympathetic strings of steel pass beneath the main strings. The main strings rest on an ivory bridge while the sympathetic strings pass through it. This bridge is placed on a leather strip which rests on the parchment membrane covering the hollow belly. The melody bowed on the main strings along with the resonance from the sympathetic strings gives the deep and sonorous voice to the Sarangi.
The surbahar is to the sitar, what the cello is to the violin. In its contemporary form, the surbahar has a string-count identical to the present-day sitar, the difference being in the thickness of the strings, the pitch at which the instrument is tuned.