The first Dheemtana Baithak of this year was a vocal one - the three student performers and the invited guest speaker were all Hindustani classical vocalists.
Sucheta Korwar, a student of Shri Nachiketa Sharma, opened the proceedings, appropriately with morning raga Todi. Sucheta sang the traditional Mero man yaad karo in vilambit ek taal, followed by Pt. Ramashreya Jha Ramrang's composition Tanak Hero Hamari Aur in drut teentaal. In this beautiful composition Ramrang asks Goddess Saraswati to bestow on the seeker the gifts of taal, taan, and swara. Sucheta's rendition brought out the somber beauty of Todi, and she did justice to both compositions with well executed alaaps and layakaari. Accompanying Sucheta on the tabla was Amit Rao, whose lively playing enhanced the proceedings, as did that of Medha Korwar on the harmonium, who drew a dramatic "kya baat hai!" from her sister.
Shri Nachiketa Sharma, the invited lec-dem speaker was next, elaborating on "KaN swar". Nachiketa explained a KaN swar as an inflexion, or a touch of a neighboring note. This neighboring note may be part of that raga, or could be a foreign note. He demonstrated by singing examples from ragas Bhairav (the komal Dhaivat is made alive at various times with a KaN of either the shuddha Dhaivat, or komal Nishaad), Darbari Kanada(the komal Ga is andolita with a KaN of the shuddha Gandhar), Shuddha Kalyan, and Yaman. Nachiketa also talked about how "swara" is not synonymous with "note", since in Indian Classical music the concept of "swara" encompasses more - approach, inflexions, tugs, etc. Nachiketa-ji's easy style of talking, and eloquent vocals went down well with the appreciative Dheemtana audience.
Manasi Aranake was up next, a student of Smt. Archana and Shri Manoj Tamhankar, and a first time performer at Dheemtana. Manasi sang three compositions in raga Shuddha Sarang - in vilambit ektaal: A bana bana aaya, in madhyalay teentaal: Faiyaz Khan Prempiya's Ab mori baat, and drut: Prabho Toomhare re Daras ki Aas Lagee, adding on a Marathi Abhang at the end. Manasi sang like a seasoned performer, with a confident and strong voice, and graceful meends in her alaaps. Giving supportive saath to Manasi were Shri Sudershan Siddhaye on tabla, and Shri Manoj Tamhankar on harmonium.
(The Dheemtana audience then took a short break from the musical feast to do justice to the wonderful snacks and tea.)
Rhucha Joshi closed theevening's musical session with raga Miyan Malhar. Rhucha, a student of Smt. Shubhangi Sakhalhar, sang the canonical vilambit - Adarang's Karim Naam Tero, and in drut ektaal Barasan Laagi re. Rhucha's Miyan Malhar was introspective and beautiful as she sang with complete absorption, exhibiting the tonal purity and delicate touches which are the hallmark of her Guru. Accompanying Rhucha on tabla was Shri Kedar Karmarkar, with Ameya Rao on the harmonium, both giving competent saath.
The next Dheemtana Baithak is on Saturday, March 27th, at 6:15 pm, again in Los Altos Library. See you all there!