Posts Tagged ‘Vichitra Veena’

Veena Heritage Alive

08.12.13

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Music has been as much a discipline for study as it has been an art-form. Natural ease with musical expression had prompted Dr. Lalmani Misra to try out various instruments. It was both, the extra-ordinary quality of the instrument and the diminishing number of its practitioners, that he decided to take up Vichitra Veena.  By the daytime he played and taught various instruments to students, at night, he played Vichitra Veena working out ways to exploit the range of this grand incarnation of Ektantri Veena.

Invited to initiate study of Indian classical music, when he reached America, willing students enrolled to learn melody-based structured system. By now, the continent was familiar with sound of Sitar and Sarod. The deep tonal sound of Vichitra Veena accorded a new experience. He was invited to play at one venue after other and soon invites from other cities started floating in. Dr. Misra was a teacher first and so had to defer several of them.

Back to his duties as Dean, Faculty of Performing Arts and Fine Arts, at B.H.U. he had still less time to give public recitals. He could find time only for the Akashvani recordings at due intervals and for occasional  recitals at Malviya Bhawan in B.H.U.,  and in the city. So, it was in America that he could play Vichitra Veena in public at least once a week. A prodigy, he had started out being an artiste  at an early age and having experienced this life to full, accepted the role of an academic in his thirties.  Never had he stopped playing; but, little benefit would reach public, as his academic responsibilities kept him from public performances.   Almost two decades later, he could perform with some regularity.

4PAN1TIf all his recordings are preserved, Akashvani would have over fifty Raga-s he played on Vichitra Veena. If all these recordings find the light of day the quality of appreciation of Indian music is sure to improve. For the time being, it is his live recordings in America that are surer to reach the listeners. These recordings were preserved with care first  by son Gopal Shankar Misra and after his death on August 13, 1999, by daughter-in-law Padmaja Misra. On this occasion, Dr. Padmaja Misra said, “If Akashvani publishes even a few of  their (Dr. Lalmani Misra and Dr. Gopal Shankar Misra) recordings, it shall greatly benefit as example and encouragement to Veena players.” It would indeed make it easier to understand and practice the Misrabani style, if both father and son’s recordings were made available. Some of these recordings may have been collected on cassettes after broadcast, but Akashvani alone has the original tapes. Till then, it is only recitals recorded in America that might reach the audience. The music world shall be deeply indebted to his American disciples, especially Nancy Nalbandian, for recording Dr. Misra’s Vichitra Veena performances.

In the first volume of Misrabani Vichitra Veena heritage aLive, RagaMalgunji and Raga Bhupali have been presented. The technique of Misrabani makes both presentations unique. Pt. Ishwarlal Mishra accompanied on Tabla. The CD is contained in a digi-pack and album cover displays a close up of Veena being played from one of the photographs taken during recital.  The music is available from several online music stores both for download and as compact disc.

Continuity called heritage

07.21.13

Over two years back, Madhukali invited unpublished analog recordings of Indian classical music in self-raised or inherited collections. Unplucked flowers, in mysterious ways, may turn into gems to be discovered by the fortunate. Heritage, like all things natural, is a presence waiting to be recognized. In a country rich in heritage like India, many scions of musicians families are blessed with letters, photographs and recordings of their ancestors. Yet, the urgent necessities of immediate life keep pushing the care of their inheritance off till they verge on brink of oblivion. Some music was received; not all of it can be restored fully or published at once. Commemorating the tenth anniversary of  UNESCO Convention 2003 for Safeguarding of  Intangible Cultural Heritage, Madhukali has released three compact discs restored from analog originals.

cdWork is also on progress for restoration and digitization of recordings of Dr. Lalmani Misra’s live recitals on Vichitra Veena, Sitar and other instruments as well as  wealth of  knowledge in lectures and lessons on Raga-s and essentials of Indian classical music. Apart from rich listening experience that each Raga recital provides, the collection is significant in another way. It constitutes an elaborate illustration of the Misrabani technique and style. How through  adequate application of Mizrab Bol-s, an artiste may create compositions starting from any beat in any Tal.

Dr. Misra had initiated a course in Indian music at University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia in 1969. He taught there off and on throughout the seventies. Many of the recitals he presented in Philadelphia, New York and other cities were recorded by disciples . Almost all recitals were in different Raga-s. The students benefitted from such rich resource by making copies from the original tapes. It is possible that such copies may still be available with them while a few originals have been misplaced or deteriorated beyond restoration.  It would benefit the music world if  copies of such recordings are added to the main collection available with Dr. Misra’s family.  Madhukali in collaboration with Misrabani, would soon release the first volume to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. Lalmani Misra on 11th August.

Darshanam Sitar Workshop

04.01.12

Dedicated to legendary Sitar Wizard, Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh, Darshanam has announced extension of Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh Music Academy to benefit pupils desirous of learning Sitar from experts in India.

The first workshop being held at Pune offers intense courses to basic and advanced learners. The four-day Basic workshop beginning 1st April 2012 shall be conducted by Misrabani practitioner Dr. Santosh Pathak. For Advanced workshop on 6th, 7th and 8th April, Dr. Ragini Trivedi has been invited. She is known for expertise in performance, preservation, critique as well as her innovations in Indian Classical Music.

Registrations from eager students from Japan, U.K. and India have been received for these courses. The workshop shall be conducted using Ome Swarlipi – the symbol-based, digital notation system created by Dr. Ragini Trivedi. Exponent of Misrabani, a style created to enhance range of string instrument by father Dr. Lalmani Misra, she has been hailed both as teacher and performer of Jal Tarang, Sitar and Vichitra Veena. Working for Safeguarding of ICH practices in the area of ICM, she is nonpareil when it comes to knowledge of form and content. She plays rare Raga-s on a rare instrument, Vichitra Veena.

Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh had studied Sama Veda and other Vedic literature apart from Ayurveda and directed his knowledge in innovating ways to use music for providing succor to patients suffering from life-style diseases. A number of students who studied with him in Japan & Australia have contributed to popularity of Sitar in their countries. Dr. Pooja Sardeshmukh invited experts in Misrabani tradition to conduct workshop, as child-prodigy and sole student of both Vidushi Annapurna Devi and Pandit Ravishankar ji, Dr. Chandrakant was inspired by Dr. Lalmani Misra’s work on Vedic music and elucidation of Bharat Chatuh Sarana.

Durlabh Raga Prasang: Conserving Complex Content

01.28.12

Idea, practice, appreciation – this is the cycle involved in creation and enjoyment of art. Expression itself holds a great value in the artistic process. Change in external circumstances, in living conditions, have honed human skills and instincts. The aesthetic element manifesting itself through numerous practices had been taken for granted. It was only as we bid adieu to second millennium that need to protect and nurture this spirit was recognized. “Art as Vehicle of Intangible” was therefore chosen as topic worthy of artistic deliberations. Pt. Rajshekhar MansurMadhukali organized annual Omenad Conference on 31st December, 1st January and 2nd January 2011 with performances by various scholar-artistes leaving lasting impression on aficionados of Bhopal. Music lovers, scholars and enthusiasts had travelled from across country to attend conference and concerts during three-day event organized by Madhukali in collaboration with Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya. Several well-wishers and music-lovers had expressed their desire for organization of another such event and at cities other than Bhopal. In discussing the essence of Indian aesthetics in “Art as Vehicle of Intangible”, it had come out that more opportunities must be created for expression of art in keeping with sensibilities innate in Art, to effect course-correction.

In the domain of Indian Classical Music the urgency for safeguarding of traditional practices needs to be recognized. For it to be vehicle of intangible, Art needs to be regularly displayed. It was recognized that the there are two main areas where safeguarding efforts have to be directed.

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