Instead of following one gharana, young musicians have an open approach these days. Most of them hand-pick nuances from different styles and blend them into their presentations. Abhisek Lahiri is no exception; But what makes him special is the distinctive elegance with which he bridges three major styles – the Shahjahanpur, Maihar and Senia Bangash gharanas without leaving any suture.
In this Director’s Cut concert from the Darbar Festival 2015, we bring to you a soothing rendition of Shree – an early evening raga,from one of the best and emerging sarod players of India. Shree is known for its deeply meditative and unambiguously haunting countenance: It blossoms amply in Lahiri’s hands.
Lahiri is a Kolkata-based sarod player who trained under his father Pandit Alok Lahiri. “My father says that a gharana gives identity to a musician, but why restrict music in the name of gharana”, he remarks. According to him, the hallmark of his presentation lies in blending of the best from these three styles.
In this rendition, Lahiri performs an expansive alaap, jod and jhalain Shree highlighting the smooth glides between Re (2nd) and Pa (5th). His exposition of teevra Ma or raised 4th brings relief each time to the tension created from the convoluted phrases of this raga. The vilambit or slow composition set to the 10-beat jhaptaal is performed with sparkling laykari followed by a faster composition in 16-beat teentaal.
He then moves on to his second raga, Chayanat. “The fact that nothing is scripted in our music makes it all the more exciting,” says Lahiri. His quick shift from an intense sunset raga Shree to a lighter Chayanat is admirable. Lahiri plays two gats - one in medium tempo in rupaktal (7 beats) and the other in a faster tempo in teental (16-beats). He improvises the phrases with Chayanat’s signpost combination of Pa-Re (5th – 2nd), where Re settles into its frequency with an insinuation of Ga (3rd). His improvisations brighten up in the middle and upper octaves, leaving the all-pervasive flavour of ‘nat’ characteristic (ga-ma-dha-pa-ga-ma combination) floating ethereally in the ambience.
Sukhvinder Singh ‘Pinky’ brings in a sweet and smooth accompaniment with his buttery strokes, contributing both elements of serenity and excitement. His solos are controlled and his choice of tukdas is eclectic and befit the countenance of Lahiri’s sublime presentation. His interactive play of bols with the sarod’s phrases is full of apt anticipation.
Enjoy this Director’s Cut concert because we love to take you back time and again to the experiences you love as a patron and discerning audience of Darbar.
Abhisek Lahiri (sarod)
Sukhvinder Singh ‘Pinky’ (tabla)
Priya Sarma (tanpura)
Shree Thaat: Poorvi, Samay: early evening, after sunset Chayanat Thaat: Kalyan, Samay: second quarter of the night (9pm-12am)