Dhrupad is one the most ancient musical forms in India, whose roots are traced back to the 2000-year-old tradition of chanting hymns from the Vedas. Dhrupad, literally meaning ‘slow-step’, can be characterized as a musical exploration of sound. Subjects used as a source for dhrupad poetry include hymns in praise oh Hindu and Islamic saints as well as philosophical reflections on music. Today, Dhrupad is a musical style that is outside the mainstream of classical Indian music. Nevertheless, it is a vibrant and living tradition that influences and in turn eclectically absorbs elements from different musical styles.
The Brothers Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha have come to be recognized as two of the leading exponents of the new generation of Dhrupad vocalists. Under the tutelage of Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar in Bhopal, the maestro vocalist who is widely revered as both performer and teacher, the Gundecha Brothers studied for several years. Their performances are now a regular feature in concerts and festivals in India and abroad.
Although, the distinctive characteristics of the Dagar family’s renditions of Dhrupad are present in their singing, the Gundecha Brothers are also successfully experimenting on their own. This is tangible in their gentle interweaving of harmonic elements into the alaap, the gradual, interpretative unfolding of the Raag, which is an innovative feature of Jugalbandi or duet performance. As a duet they also display a keen sensitivity to grasp and relate to each other’s improvisations.
At times one mirrors or expands on the notes that the other moulds, at other times they dialogue in a call and response mode. In this live recording performed at the Saptak Festival 2001, the Gundecha Brothers sing Raag Gaoti. Their rendition emphasizes the tender, gentle, emotionally moving aspects of the Raag, its balanced, swinging movements between the lower and the higher notes.
The Sanskrit verse ‘Sandhya Sanjeevni’ is in praise of Goddess Shakti, detailing the various forms that she takes, and praising her many attributes, Shakti is described as the herb that gives eternal life.
Shivranjani is a popular South Indian Raag, which has been successfully absorbed into North Indian music. The musical intention of this Raag can vary according to the interpretation of the artist. In this context, it assumes a gentle devotional mood.
Accompaniment on the Pakhawaj is provided by Akhilesh Gundecha. This barrel-shaped percussion instrument is historically one of the precursors of the Tabla. With its resounding majestic, open tone and characteristic intensity in the accompaniment, the Pakhawaj is well suited to the Dhrupad style of singing.
Recorded live at Saptak Festival 2001-Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India)
Location Sound engineer – Derek Roberts
Assistant Sound Engineer – Krishna Shirgaonkar
Produced by – Derek Roberts
Executive producer – Alpesh Patel
Mixed and Mastered in the U.K. by Derek Roberts of Sounderaft Productions.
Thanks to – The stage crew at Virtual Studios, Nandan Mehta, Prafulla Shah,
everyone at Saptak, Kanti Dattani, Rushi Shastri and Verity Sharp (BBC Radio 3/ Late Junction) for inspired radio
|1 - 4||Raag Gaoti - Aalaap||44.41|
|5||Raag Gaoti - Dhrupad||14.11|
|6||Raag Shivranjani - Aalaap||4.51|
|7||Raag Shivranjani - Dhrupad||5.50|