Friday, December 31, 2010

The Bitter-Sweet Melancholy - Räg Madhuwanti

I don’t know why, but I was (kind of) putting off writing on this räg matrix for some time now. One reason, probably, is that the true nature of this räg still eludes me and I am unable to put my finger on the pulse of this matrix. But then I go back to the basic premise which says that a composition that is able to project a picture in the minds of listeners will be celebrated as a ‘räg’ and it solves my conundrum!

Räg Madhuwanti actually derives from Räg Multäni but differs from it where it uses Shuddha Rishabh & Shuddha Dhaivat (flat second & sixth notes, respectively). This brings Madhuwanti in a time-slot that’s a little later than its parent matrix – Madhuwanti is generally sung in the early hours of the fourth (last) quadrant of the day. All phraseology and chalan are similar to that of Multäni but use of Shuddha Rishabh & Dhaivat brings some degree of calm and, at times, melancholy feelings in the matrix. Listen to this very popular ghazal from ‘Dil ki Rähen’ (1973) composed by Late Madan Mohan-ji in the melancholy vibes of Madhuwanti.

But then there are other moods of Madhuwanti that are more subtle and better expressed in the expansive format of classical music. What I have for you is an elaborate and well laid-out Madhuwanti by Vijay Koparkar. This recording is part of a workshop on classical vocal music held in Nashik a few years back and Vijay presents four compositions one after another presenting different shades and moods of the matrix.

But we close this episode with yet another melancholy number composed by Sudheer Phadke, the maestro of Marathi Bhäv-sangeet. All his compositions from ‘Geet-Rämäyan’ are based solidly on various räg-matrices but carry the mood of ‘GaDiMä’ lyrics so well that the listener is completely immersed in the ethos of the totality, not just the composition! So lose yourself in Seetä’s quiet grieving question to Lord Räm as he prepares to leave for vanaväs

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