The musical session was a learning experience for the audience. Organized by Sangeet Ashram, the programme featuring Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar was held on August 3 at G.D. Birla Sabhagar. With his two sons, Aneesuddin Dagar and Nafeesuddin Dagar, the exponent of the famous Dagar gharana presented dhrupad and dhamar in different ragas. They started with Raga Adbhut Kalyan, for which the Dagars are famous.
After presenting a Ganesh stotra, he started his alaap. It continued for more than 40 minutes and through this elaborate alaap session, he tried to give a feel of the original alaap structure. His vistaar of the sthayi and the antara was stretched into three octaves, sometimes with sargams, sometimes with bol. He was able to make the listeners understand how the alaap should proceed phase by phase. After listening to this, one could easily make out the fact that the form of alaap presented nowadays by classical singers is basically a shadow of the original structure.
The presentation of Raga Adbhut Kalyan is a little difficult because notes like madhyam and pancham are not used in this raga. Because of this, even a slight deviation is painful. After overcoming the initial slugishness, he was able to create the proper ambience for the raga. Like a sincere teacher, he tried to teach how to perform the movement of notes like ga and ni and how to use nishad in both the lower and middle octaves to make this raga beautiful. After the alaap, the artist presented the dhrupad in Chowtaal. The structure was perfectly presented, with a nice application of gamak and baat.
His next offering was Raga Behag, which he presented in his own style, with his own embellishments. He presented both the dhrupad and the dhamar in this raga. The presentation started beautifully but was brief — perhaps some more time was needed for the raga to bloom fully.
His final presentation was based on Raga Surdasi Malhar. He started with “Gange saral baho” and through the movements of the notes, the artist tried to explain the flow of a river. In his last performance, Shiva Shiva Shiva, he was able to recreate the charm of the raga and portray the moods of the arrogant Lord Shiva. The two sons of Ustadji gave him able vocal support. Listeners will remember this musical soirée as a classical music class, where they got to know how an ancient form of Indian classical music should be presented.