Friday, August 20, 2010

Summary of Baithak 19 - August 14th 2010

The summer baithak of Dheemtana was special - five Hindustani vocalists performed, representing three different gurus, and airing eleven ragas!

Pragathi Guruprasath was up first, performing Kalavati as her main piece. She was accompanied on the tabla by Shashank Patil, and on the harmonium by Shri Manoj Tamhankar. In Kalavati Pragathi sang Piya Ghar Aaye, in Vilambit Ektaal, followed by Saajana Tore Bin in Drut Teental, both by Tanarang (Pt. Viswanath Ringe). Pragathi impressed with her open throated and resonant voice and the phirath she was able to exhibit with it. Pragathi closed with a Marathi Abhang - Vaikuntha Pandhari, by Sant Chokha MeLaa set as a ragamala by Shri Manoj Tamhankar based on ragas Deshkar, Janasammohini, Yaman, and Bhimpalas. Pragathi brought the spirited abhang to life, aided by Shashank's lively tabla saath, and Manoj-ji's encouraging presence.

Ranjita Swamy was up next, singing Lalit, with Vikas Yendluri on tabla and Shishir Neelakant on harmonium. Ranjita sang the traditional vilambit ektaal bandish Raina ka Sapna, and Jogiya more ghar aaye in drut Teentaal. Ranjita's singing was intense and meditative and transported the audience to a different time and place, specially the dream like Raina ka Sapna. Vikas and Shishir's camaraderie was evident as they played creatively and interactively with laya while accompanying Ranjita.

Shouvik Neogi performed Bageshree next, with Amit Rao on tabla, and Ameya Rao on harmonium. Shouvik sang Binati suno mori in madhalaya jhaptaal, followed by Binati karat in drut ektaal. Shouvik's was a solid, no-frills performance, bring out the inherent sweetness of Bageshree, and delivering the two binatis (pleas) well, (one to Lord Rama, and the other to a romantic husband), with likewise solid support from Amit and Ameya.

Priyank Desai sang next, performing two beautiful Ramrang (Pt. Ramashreya Jha) compositions - the first Mukuta Vaarun in Kirwani, drut Ektaal, and the second Chanchal Chapala Chapalaasi in Shahana Kanada, in drut teentaal. Accompanying Priyank on tabla and harmonium were the familiar duo of Vikas Yendluri and Shishir Neelakant. Priyank did justice to both compositions, and both ragas, performing them competently and melodiously, aided by likewise competent saath.

Shishir Neelakant brought up the finale, with Raga Hemant, singing two Ramrang compositions - Hamari sudh leeje in Addha Teental, followed by Bairan Bhayo in Drut Ektaal. Accompanying Shishir on tabla and harmonium were Vikas Yendluri and Medha Korwar. Shishir turned in an outstanding performance, keeping the audience spellbound specially with his sargam layakaari, which was like a conducted tour of swara-space in Hemant, on a roller-coaster! It was filled with surprise changes in speed and direction, and lots of excitement with novel taan patterns, and unexpected ways of catching the sam. Medha and Vikas kept up with Shishir in speed and dexterity, to an appreciative audience. Shishir concluded with a Bhairavi bhajan - Khelat Hai Giridhari, beautifully bringing down the curtain on a wonderful evening of music.

The next Baithak 20 is the much awaited 4th Anniversary Baithak, for which an interesting program is being worked out, as are date/venue. Look for an email announcement shortly about this, as well as for the website ( update with pictures/audio/video for Baithak 19.

Baithak 21 follows on October 30th, and Baithak 22 on Dec 18th, both in Los Altos Library. If you would like to perform at either, please send in email to
And till then, GO DHEEMTANA!