Monday, November 17, 2003

tarang: the spectacular end to the ICMS proceedings of 2003

Abhijit Banerjee on tabalaa and pakhwaaj; Snehashish Majumdar on mandolin, banjo, double-necked mandolin; Somnath flexing around myriad gems of percussion like the ghatam (mostly), the kanjira, a bamboo tarang, maadals, shaker, tambourine, cymbals, TunaTunaa, ghungruu, and taashaa; B Rajasekhar on morsing. This percussion ensemble (taal-vaadya kacherii) was presented by the ICMS under the umbrella of an event called Tarang. A delight in every sense. A very useful introduction to the efforts toward adopting instruments more common in carnatic music in hindustani classical.

vedaa: an invocation of the gaayatrii mantra preceded a splash of fervent mandolin playing accompanied by tabalaa/pakhwaaj, cymbals and vocal chanting

swaas: Exploiting the des raag and the diip cha.ndii taal, this one featured the tabalaa, banjo (with a capo)/mandolin, tambourine, ghatam, claps and open-mouth pops

dusk: Based on raag shrii and set in the matta taal (9 beats), this one had the banjo, ghatam, tabalaa and the morsing duelling it out

return to home: A taanya vartanam featuring claps, the morsing, ghatam, tabalaa/pakhwaaj

There was a post-intermission slot where Snehashish explored the range of his mandolin in isolation, without any accompanying percussion.

Pancham: This one will remain special for me. Abhijit Banerjee announced the name of the piece and then proceeded the explain the name. The piece used a pentatonic raag (ha.nsadhwanii) and a 5-beat cycle. I was so sure he was going to mention R D Burman at this point, and was smiling like a jackass when he actually did. This piece was also a tribute to the late great Pancham. The fervent improvisations and jugal ba.ndii that followed featured the mandolin, tabalaa, morsing, and taashaa.

dancing daffodils: A play on Wordsworth's poem, this one featured a laggi (the percussion improvisation that accompanies the end of a thumrii) with melody. The mandolin, ghatam, shaker, tabla, and morsing featured along with the maadals who made their first appearance on this track

naughty laalaa: A playful piece that switched occasionally to diip cha.ndii dedicated to Abhijit Banerjee's son that employed the dholak, cymbals, tambourine, TunaTunaa, morsing, bamboo tarang, maadals, the mandolin, and two tabalaas.

varshaa: The final piece of the evening in raag megh started off in ek taal and moved later to tiin taal in the drut. The 2-necked mandolin (the upper neck of this work-in-progress experimental mandolin currently had only 4 strings) made its appearance finally, along with ghungruu, pakhwaj, tabalaa and tambourine.

Was also lucky to join the artistes for dinner at Maharaja restaurant in Tucker.

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