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Thursday, 16 August 2018

In and Around Jamshedpur...

Here are some of the pictures from in and around Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. From a recent personal visit...

Refreshing greenery sprinkled with fresh raindrops as seen through the train window at Ghatshila, on the way to Jamsehdpur:

Greenery around Dimna Lake and Dam, Jamshedpur:

Crystal clear Subarnarekha River and the surrounding greenery at Chandil Dam:

A normal drizzling day in the streets of Sakchi, Jamshedpur:

Bhubaneshwari Temple, Telco, Jamshedpur:

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Colourful Kadu Malleshwara: Part 2

Concluding part of the Kadu Malleshwara images...

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Bolava Vitthal 2018: Bengaluru Leg

On Friday, 27th July 2018, I had the good fortune of attending the Bengaluru leg of the All India Tour of Bolava Vitthal 2018, organized by Pancham Nishad at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, Malleshwaram. They have been doing this tour for 13 years now, and if I am not mistaken, this is the 8th year running at Bengaluru. An evening of Bhakti and Raga bliss that is comparable to none other, with the artists capable of providing us a Darshan of Panduranga Vitthala and Rakhumai with their singing repertoire. 

In this Bengaluru leg of the program, we had the gracious presence of Padmashri Aruna Sairam, the latest recipient of the Sangeetha Kalanidhi award, the highest honour for a Carnatic musician, Sri Anand Bhate Gandharva and Sri Rahul Deshpande. While I had been to one concert each of Smt Aruna Sairam and Sri Anand Bhate before, this was the first time I was getting to listen to Sri Rahul Deshpande live.

The program began with a Jugalbandi invocation song "Jaya Jaya Rama Krishna Hari", rendered by Anand Bhate and Rahul Deshpande. Some pictures below:

Then came Smt. Aruna Sairam, with a series of Abhang renderings interspersed with her unique explanations in English, Marathi, Hindi and Tamil, of historical facts surrounding those songs, drawing parallels with the Tamil Bhakti movement with Alwars and their Pasuram compositions, and singing with such brilliant expressions of Bhakti right through.

She began her renderings with Sant Eknath's composition, "Omkar Swarupa Sadguru Samartha" in the soul stirring Raga Revati. This was followed by Sant Namadev's "Pandhari Nivasa Sakhya Panduranga", but preceding it was Nammalwar's Pasuram with a similar meaning.

Then came a reference to Sant Chokhamela and his famous composition "Johar Mai Baap" but she made a request to Sri Anand Bhate to sing that song later in the concert, and chose to sing another song with similar connotations, the Purandara Dasa composition in Kannada, "Ragi Tandira" in Raga Punnagavarali.

Up next was a tribute to the historical cultural bridge between the Marathas and Tanjavur, by singing Samartha Ramadas's composition, "Arambhi Vandin Ayodhyecha Raja". Then came Sant Savata Mali's famous composition "Kanda Mula Bhaji" but before that was the similar themed Pasuram by Thirumalisai Alwar. She concluded the concert with a Tillana followed by "Pandharicha Raya Tula Drushta Jahali". Entire auditorium fittingly gave a standing ovation. Some pictures from her section of the concert.

Rahul Deshpande began his recital after Aruna Sairam with an elaborate and exuberant rendering of Sant Namdev's compostion, "Pandharicha Vaasa Chandrabhage Snaan". This was followed by "Pandharpuricha Nila Lavanyacha Putla", a composition of  Sant Jnaneshwar. 

Sri Deshpande then turned to Sant Tukaram's composition of "Lakshmi Vallabha". After that masterful rendition, with time running out, two of the most popular songs followed back to back with a seamless transition - Sant Namdev's "Teertha Vitthala Kshetra Vitthala" and Gajanan Digambar Madgulkar's "Kanada Raja Pandharicha".

When he finished his recital with these two renderings, the crowd wanted more of Rahul Deshpande! But with strict time constraints and Anand Bhate still waiting for his turn, the organizers advanced the concert ending Jugalbandi "Taal Bole Chipali La", rendered together by Deshpande and Bhate, before the latter took over for his part of the concert. Some pictures from the second section below:

The final section of the concert was what I was personally most looking forward to, that of Anand Bhate. I have been a big fan of his ever since I started listening to him and this was my second chance to listen to him live after the 2014 Sapthak concert at the same venue.

Sri Bhate began with the Kannada Bhajan by Sri Jagannatha Dasaru, a composition made famous by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, "Shreeniketana Paalaya Maam". What followed was the evergreen composition of Sant Eknath, "Majha Maher Pandhari".

For the third rendition of the evening, Sri Bhate chose to fulfil Smt Aruna Sairam's wish and sang with heavenly precision, Sant Chokhamela's composition "Johar Mai Baap". The feelings this rendition evoked could only be felt by the audience who were lucky enough to be present there, and no words are enough to describe them. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the folks in the audience had tears in their eyes by the time this rendition ended.

Sri Bhate ended the night of musical extravaganza fittingly with another of his Guru's favorites on the evening of Guru Purnima. In raga Bhairavi (Sindhu Bhairavi), "Jo Bhaje Hari Ko Sada". That Sindhu Bhairavi kept ringing within the auditorium forever, and the audience gave him a standing ovation that went on for eternity. What a great musical evening it was!

Some pictures from the final section, where Sri Anand Bhate captivated the audience: