It was an apt and sparkling inauguration of the Veena Festival at Chennai jointly organised by the Bharat Veenalaya, Delhi and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai with a Jugalbandhi Concert by Veena Vidushi Saraswati Rajagopalan (Saraswati Veena) and Ustad Bahauddin Dagar (Rudra Veena).
While continuing with the principles of her Guru’s pioneering school – the K.S. Narayanaswamy “Bani”*, Saraswati Rajagopalan has created and evolved a distinctive style and identity entirely her own. The exquisite tonal quality and versatility that have been the magical hallmarks of her style of playing the Veena, saw her produce sounds quite varied and majestic in the given short spell.
For Ustad Bahauddin Dagar, the Rudra Veena (Been) has been a part of his family’s training in music for several generations. His family sees the Been and vocal music as complementary arts. But in him the Been has been treated also as a guide to vocal music and In his rendering the subtleties of intonation and intervallic transitions in Dhrupad was very well brought out.
It is true that all the instruments derive their inspiration from vocal music. Both the Artists brought out the beauty of Gayaki style in their rendition. Raga chosen was Hindolam in Carnatic Music and known as Malkauns in the Hindustani Music. This Raga is a pentatonic scale common to both the systems of Indian music and is very popular. They presented Alap, Tanam (Jod) and Gath which was set to Chauthal having 12 mathras , which is Roopaka Thalam ( 2 kalai ). Both of them brought the beauty of the raga by displaying the intricacies of the different Gamakas with their fine techniques. Both of them had good understanding and were complimentary to each other in bringing out the similarities and distinctions in their respective styles. This was done with great aplomb and maturity and was very well received by the audience and cast a magic spell for the festival inauguration.
Lalgudi Shri Sriganesh on the Mridangam and Shri Vivek on the Pakhawaj gave able percussion support.
The Veena Festival is all about sincere effort to rekindle interest in Veena instrument as a significant medium for expression of the Indian Classical music for both the genres of Indian Music, the Carnatic and the Hindustani. The Veena is considered most noble and revered musical instrument. In order to unite members of the known and existing Veena family, the Veena Foundation has announced that it will facilitate exchange of ideas and knowledge between Veena players across the country and abroad. The Veena family is about to emerge as a well-knit group. They seek to highlight the significance of the Veena as a symbol of art & science of music. It is also an acoustic vehicle for spiritual odyssey. The foundation will act as a catalyst towards achieving the objective of uniting vainikas of the south with the north. It will also foster the traditional guru-shishya parampara*.
The festival catered to the representation of various gharanas/ Banis of the Veena schools.
* A jugalbandi or jugalbandhi is a performance in Indian classical music that features a duet of two solo musicians. The word jugalbandi means, literally, “entwined”.
* Bani = tradition/style
* Parampara = Parampara denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Indian culture and Indian religions
* Gamaka = Gamaka, also known as gamak or gamakam, refers to ornamentation/embellishment that is used in the performance of Indian classical music especially to individual musical notes