Rajyasree Ghosh’s Mesmerizing Vocal Recital

By Seema Chaubey, North Huntingdon, PA

e-mail: seemachaubey@hotmail.com

The last of the Chhandayan house concerts of 2015 held on Saturday, October 31, at the Sahas’ home in Irwin, PA, presented Smt. Rajyasree Ghosh from Kolkata, accompanied on the tabla by Pt. Samir Chatterjee, the founder of Chhandayan. Pt. Chatterjee has been teaching tabla in universities for over thirty-five years and is well known in his field. Ayon Rivu Sinha of Pittsburgh was on the harmonium. The recital provided a wonderful blend of pure Hindustani classical music and Thumri, Dadra, Kajree, bhajans and Tappa.

Rajyasree is on the faculty of music at the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, in India. She trained under four legendary gurus — Pt. Amiya Ranjan Bandopadhyaya of the Vishnupur Ghrana, Padma Bhushan Girija Devi of Varanasi, Pt. Arun Bhaduri of Sangeet Research, and Pt. K.G. Ginde of Belgaum. The unique signatures of the different gharanas were reflected in Rajyashri’s recital.

Rajyasree started most aptly with an early evening raga Shyam Kalyan. Her melodious and sonorous voice instantaneously captured the mood of the raga with its haunting interplay of both the suddha and tivra Madhyam and its emphasis on Re in the vilambit segment of the raga. The words of the song balama rasiya bhara lingered, resonating in our ears even when she transitioned into drut teen taal. Perfection is the way to describe the rendition of this raga in her strong and melodious voice with her control of bols, taal and sur. Next Rajyasree presented a drut segment of the raga Narayani, a bandesh in teen taal composed by S. N. Ratanjankar of Agra Gharana.

After a brief intermission, she transitioned into semi-classical music and presented three Thumris, which were illustrative of varied gharanas, taals, tempo and ragas. Kajri, a genre of semi-classical music popular in northeast India, often expressing romantic love, is sung during monsoon; Barse karire baderia mor chunariya bhije jai was lively and simple in its style and yet exquisitely spiced with subtle sargams in between.

There were more Thumris of the popular Benaras gharana such as nanadiya kahe mare mon based in Desh and Na jayo piya pardesh in Shivaranjani.

Tappa, a form of semi-classical vocal music coming from the rural Punjab, became popular in Bengal and in the royal courts. It consists of a rolling pace based on fast and subtle constructions, and the mood is laden with the emotions of a lover. Rajyasree presented both slow and fast paced Tappa compositions in Hindi and Bengali. Emotions of devotion and romance were subtly expressed in Radha and Krishna’s divine play in the song Rai anga sajabo diye ki bhushan. Her knowledge and skill in the genre was reflected in the various forms of the genre presented, such as Nidhu Babu’s Bengali tappa, Rabindranath Tagore’s Tappa, and a Hindi version of Miya me janewale.

Rajyasree ended her debut with a Dadra style devotional song and a shyama sangeet in praise of Mother Kali. Tabla support by the maestro Pt. Samir Chatterjee, as always, was outstanding. The duo created an atmosphere of lingering harmony as the notes and rhythm blended into unison.

As is usual, there was a delectable potluck dinner at the end of the recital in an informal setting during which those present interacted with the artistes of the evening.

  1. No comments yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.