Wednesday, April 05, 2006

From the concert hall

Padmavati Shaligram, 87-year-young doyenne of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana, performed at the ITC-SRA Sangeet Sammelan last November. I know certain readers have reservations about this institution, but there's no disputing the fact that they have excellent concerts and put some very fine stuff online. So do check out the videos of this still amazing singer -- Nand (the traditional favourite "E bari sainyan sakala bana bana ke"), Jaijayanti ("Kahiye sakhi shyam sundar so"), Pilu and Pahadi. Listen to those pinpoint, soaring aakar taans and remind yourself (possibly with some difficulty) that this lady has spent seventy-five years on the stage.

In my last years of school, our house got an extension and I got the resulting room on the roof. I had scrounged up enough cash from birthday money et al to buy a cheapo double-deck music system, and that sustained me for many many solitary hours. There used to be this radio programme on Monday mornings which played classical songs and popular numbers based on them -- and it had this incredibly irritating host whose voice I couldn't stand. So after recording everything I used to painstakingly clip out just the track announcements and join them with the songs themselves. If you've never done deck-to-deck editing of raw radio recordings (or physically transferred entire reels from one cassette shell to another) you haven't lived :). There were also a couple of boxes of gramophone records and a cranky player with speakers which frequently had to be banged hard to stop a strange humming noise whose provenance I have yet to discover.

After long evenings usefully spent examining the ceiling of that room, Padmavati's Nand was pretty much my standard bedtime music. Switch off the lights, turn it on, wait for oblivion. The voice has lost a little of its mellifluity now, but who's complaining?

19 comments:

MadHat said...

I love all the singers from the Jaipur Atrauli Gharana. Their style is definitely amongst the hardest to learn.

If you ever get the chance, try listening to Rajshekhar Mansur. he is very good.

Thanks for the videos.

MadHat said...

PS. I do remember that cranky record player you had.

expiring_frog said...

@apurva: Technically speaking, I have heard Rajshekharji many times, giving vocal support to his father, as no doubt you have too :)). Never solo, though. Will try to locate recordings.

MadHat said...

do share if you do get some recordings... :)

DD said...

Readers who have reservations about ITC SRA. :D

I have never listened to Padmavati Shaligram but have heard her name a lot. Will listen to this recording soon. I agree with madhat above that all singers of the atrauli jaipur tradition are good. It's unfortunate that Calcutta doesn't have many performers from that ghar.

Will receive some exquisite Dhrupad - Yaman and Bageshree to be precise in a couple of days.

DD said...

btw, our music blog is running dry. you can consider cross-posting the last couple of articles there.

expiring_frog said...

Hmmm... too much trouble, methinks, but very well, shall do.

JJ-ta especially shune dekhish. Will await dhrupad.

Abhishek said...

MY GOD!
I only have the vintage Shaligram recordings (1940-50s I think)...
Listening to her again live seeing her right there in front of me!
I have to admit that I had tears in my eyes listening to the voice again...the Nand...my God! What taans...its like seeing a beautiful extinct bird come back to life. I used to think such music doesnt exist in this world except in records and CDs...
Thanks, thanks, and many many thanks over over again for this very precious gift!

Abhishek said...

My only complaint someone should have told those BBB (besur, betal, bekar!) accompanists to SHUT UP and listen to the great lady instead...

expiring_frog said...

@abhishek: The vocal support was really awful. They should have taped their mouths and told Roshan Ali (on the sarangi) to provide whatever support was necessary.

Abhishek said...

Yeah I meant the vocal support...but the the sarangi was way to loud...
I actually recorded the music, then spliced the stereo tracks and deamplified the sarangi and vocal support as best as I could.
Sounds a little better now...
BTW that ftp server is on the way...

Shreyansh said...

Hey I found this, you might like it.

Btw, if you were "wasteland" here , then I still have 1 GB of ur music collection of Jugalbandi and various vocals. Dunno much about the classical music scene, but my inclination towards good music makes me enjoy them.

expiring_frog said...

@abhishek: Impressive. But surely listening to too many godawful prewar recordings has installed permanent noise filters in our ears :P?

@shreyansh: Thanks, will take a look. It seems interesting.

Abhishek said...

Noise yes...but not a full-frontal assault on the senses!

DD said...

boss, ki kore thank you boli.

the video is unbelievable. just the female counterpart of mallikarjun mansur. wish i had been there at SRA during the concert.

Rita said...

I was about tp leave after having read your first post. But 'Pilu' and 'Pahadi' caught my attention.
Thanks for sharing the videos! :)

expiring_frog said...

@rita: Glad you enjoyed them, and thanks for stopping by.

yippeeHippie said...

i was at the SRA concert last year and it was amazing...could you tell me where i might find her earlier recordings..?

expiring_frog said...

@yippiehippie: Google or visit some decent store for commercial recordings, or else network with private collectors -- the latter is usually more fruitful, but less accessible. Rajan Parrikar has some clips online, I think -- again Google would help.