In a recent programme organized by Sangeet Ashram at G.D. Birla Sabhagar, the city got an opportunity to listen to Ajay Pohankar’s vocal recital (picture). Being a sincere follower of the Kirana gharana, the artist is greatly influenced by two pioneers of Indian classical music, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Ustad Amir Khan.
Pohankar started his performance with Raga Bihag, an aaochar followed by the vilambit kheyal in ektaal. Initially it took time to set the mood of the raga, and his rendition in the lower octave was monotonous at times. But soon, the variation of vistaars became pleasant. The presentation of the small but critical taans were interesting. The audience enjoyed madhyala kheyal in teentaal in the same raga, “Lagan tose lagi balma”. It was an arresting performance, with well-composed taans, vistaars and boltaans, though it would had been even better if Pohankar had continued the performance for some more time.
His next presentation was Raga Desh. The audience took in the beauty of this popular raga through the artist’s long and elaborate alaap, followed by a rhythmic composition by his mother — “Cholo re sakhi” — in teentaal. This drut kheyal with vistaars in three octaves and complicated taans enchanted the listeners. Pohankar’s Darbari Kanada was also appreciated.
In the madhyalay kheyal, “Kin bairan”, and the drut kheyal, “Tum mohe chit se bisari”, he emphasized on the vistaars of both the sthayi and the antara . He sang a thumri, “Nayna mose taras gayi”, in Raga Mishra Kirwani; his sweet and melodious voice was capable enough to make the spontaneous magic of the composition flourish. He also demonstrated the Carnatic rendition of this particular raga, which was the most interesting part of this presentation.
Ajay Pohankar concluded his performance with a famous as well as popular song in Raga Bhairavi — “Bajubandh khul khul jaye” — and created an ambience of nostalgia for the audience.
Sangeet Ashram is making a unique endeavour to spread awareness and make the young generation interested in Indian classical music, an important part of our heritage. A Hindustani classical music awareness programme, Sangeetika, has been started with lecture demonstrations in leading schools. This culminated in an inter-school quiz at the Calcutta School of Music. The quiz was compered by Arpita Chatterjee. Seven schools participated in the contest — La Martiniere for Girls, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School, St James’ School, Delhi Public School, Ruby Park, Patha Bhavan, Mahadevi Birla World Academy and Chowringhee High School. The subjects covered were music theory, history and trivia. There were audio and video rounds. La Martinere for Girls was the winner and Gokhale Memorial a close second, followed by St James’ in the third place.