A memorable Ahir Bhairav

Listening to classical music on a margazhi early morning (7:15 am) and that too very close to the beach is an experience that doesn’t come often and I enjoyed it totally.  

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Anil Srinivasan on Piano collaborated with Gaurav Mazumdar on the Sitar to serve an exquisite ‘Ahir Bhairav’ on 24th Dec 2013 at the Spaces just opposite Eliots beach.  The setting was very austere and refreshing compared to the usual sabhas and pandals.  In fact, a cat was moving leisurely on the stage and that added to the ambiance of the event.  There was no percussion for this hour-long concert (wish it were longer) but that made no difference to the serene atmosphere.

Gaurav Mazumdar, a Grammy nominee in 2004, learnt sitar from Pandit Ravi Shankar for 8 years by staying with him in Gurukul style and then for an extended period as well.  

The duo started the concert with an elaboration of the Raag Ahir Bhairav which is a combination of Ahir and Bhairav from the Hindustani music format.  The closest Carnatic ragam is Chakravakham although it is the opinion of some that it is Sarasangi.  

I have heard that Shri MS Viswanathan, the legendary music director likes this raag very much and had used this raag in the evergreen melody “ULLathil nalla uLLam‘ from the movie Karnan and  “Deivathin Ther Eduthu’ from another Sivaji Ganesan film “Paatum Bharathamum’. 

For the first 20 minutes, Anil and Gaurav played alternatively as well as together to bring out the various dimensions of the raagam and it was a pleasant surprise to listen to a very brief snatch of Lalitha from Anil.  (I asked Anil after the concert whether he played Lalitha and he confirmed). Anil then played the famous ‘Bipare Rama Rasam” by Sadashiva Brahmendrar.

Gaurav then shared a small snippet about Pandit Ravi Shankar playing this raag on the birthday of his illustrious brother and dancer Uday Shankar because it was Uday’s most favourite raag.

Then they played Ahir and Bhairav (sounded like the carnatic Sindhu Bhairavi).  Anil then played a part of Lalgudi Jayaraman’s Thillana in Sindhu Bhairavi and then a phrase from ‘Call of the Cuckoo’ of Russian Composer Cui who was also a military strategist.

The concert ended with a rendering of Narsinh Mehta’s ‘Vaishnava Janato’ in the raag Khamaj.

Delicious breakfast consisting of coffee, pongal and vada with sambar and chatini were served to all present after the concert. Former W B Governor Gopalakrishna Gandhi was part of the audience.  We were also given a sapling while leaving.

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2 Comments

  1. N Ramesh said,

    December 26, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I wish the blogger in Badri could have given some credit to the largese showered on the audience by the hostess of the show, Shrimathi Akila Krishnamurthy of Alaap and also the Official Carter of Anil’s Grand Piano in Adroit, an elite Apartment Promoter, who also gave the sapling of Jasmine !

    Thus Spake the New Age Sage !

  2. RK said,

    July 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    I realize there are as many raga interpretations as there are people. However, two small corrections – Chakravakam-Ahir Bhairav parallel is almost universally accepted. What is parallel to Sarasangi is Nat Bhairav. Also you mention Bhairav is parallel to Sindhu Bhairavi. Perhaps you meant Bhairavi, because Bhairav is parallel to Mayamalavagowla. Again, I am not an expert and carefully chose the word “parallel” because I am not knowledgeable to get into the discussion of equals and equivalents.


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