Arati Ankalikar is a stellar vocalist who straddles classical and light music with dynamism. While she has bagged many awards in Indiaas a playback singer in Hindi cinema, her thoroughness as a classical artist is awe-inspiring to the world.
This Director’s Cut concert is a discovery of the depth and authenticity brought in by one of the leading exponents of the Hindustani form. Ankalikar’s foundation in Indian classical music is steeped in learning from three of the richest gharanas– Agra, Gwalior and Jaipur.
She chooses AhirBhairav, a morning melody, as her opening raga. The full-throated Agra vocalization comes to play gradually as she unfurls the idioms of the raga through the alaap and vilambit teental composition, ‘Rasiya mhara amalara’.
Using the lyrics of the composition, Ankalikar shapes up the expansion of the raga into various structures and forms over the 16-beat cycle. She actively exploits the middle and higher octaves to bring out the lighter, Kafi-like characteristics of Ahir Bhairav. In the lower octave, she sensibly trims it down to its grave, Bhairav-like characteristics. The electrifying Jaipur and Gwalior gharana taans form the hallmark of the drut teental composition, ‘Jago re mayi jago.’
An engaging Raag Jaunpuri is sung next with profound imagination, highlighting the raga’s wakeful moments of grace against sombre stillness. ‘Ri main na janoonkaisi lagi lagan’ is set to a 7-beat cycle – rupak taal,in slow tempo followed by a faster composition in 12-beat ektaal, ‘Morey man bhavan ki’.
While we bring this Director’s Cut to you digitally at your doorstep, we also try to preserve the live essence of the concert. With the rest of the starry line-up of the 2011 festivalin the front row, the ambience of this concert is charged with excitement, camaraderie and inspiration. Don’t miss Ankalikar having a light-hearted exchange in her native Indian language with Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar who was also present in the front row.
She then begins a devotional song (bhajan) by Mirabai (1498-1546), ‘Mhare ghar awo ji preetam pyare,’ bringing the hymn to life with soulful melodic extensions of its lyrics and widening the scope of its improvisations.
A swaggering ‘chaiti’ follows this; Chaiti is a light classical form that originated in the western belt of India with strong influences of the folk music of the region. Chaitis are sung during the lunar month in the Hindu calendar marking the celebrations that follow the harvesting period (February-March) in agricultural India.
The concluding piece is an Abhang (spiritual literature from Maharashtra and neighbouring areas in India) set to Raag Bhairavi, ‘Rangi rangala srirang’ that begins with the reposeful quietude of a morning raga culminating to the various sprightly hues of Bhairavi. This Abhang was composed by Saint Soyarabai, a female ascetic from the 14th century.
Anubrata Chatterjee and Omkar Dalvi give an unobtrusive and befitting accompaniment to this vocal recital, preserving all the soulful and virtuosic elements of Ankalikar’s singing. Although Chatterjee plays very restrained during the classical pieces, he pushes boundariesin the lighter pieces with agile and upbeat strokes. Chinmay Kolhatkar’s support on the harmonium is grounded in the purity of the ragas and his own subtle sensibilities.
Arati Ankalikar (khayal)
Anubrata Chatterjee (tabla)
Chinmay Kolhatkar (harmonium)
Omkar Dalvi (pakhawaj)
Priya Prakash & Shobhana Patel (tanpura)
Ragas: Ahir Bhairav, Jaunpuri, Mirabai bhajan, chaiti, abhang,