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By Sreyashi Dastidar
  • Published 5.09.09

The blurring of the distinction between the loved one and the worshipped one in some of Tagore’s songs and the consequent problems of their classification under the Puja or Prem sections have engaged Tagorephiles for long. On September 1, at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre auditorium (ICCR), Kamalini Mukherjee, in her debut solo performance, gave a glimpse of her list of such double-edged songs. Mukherjee’s style of singing emphasizes clean diction, steers clear of emoting, and evinces a preference for gamak and sparsha over meend. But the most remarkable element of her gayaki is the precise and powerful scansion — never an inadvertent splitting of a word, or a breather in the wrong place —- that puts her in the tiny club of cerebral Rabindrasangeet singers.

In some songs, one felt that she would have benefited from lowering her scale by half a note. As a result, Mukherjee uniformly excelled in the sancharis. Prabhu amaro, priyo amaro demanded the kind of meends employed in Tumi kon bhangoner pathey ele. In the free rhythm songs, she was able to leave a stamp of individuality. Unlike Aha tomar shonge praner khela, Boro bedonar moto bejechho naturally lends itself to rhythm and thus could have been sung to the accompaniment of the tabla. Anjan Basu’s esraj interlude in the latter proved again that while the keyboard sounds good with songs like Amar nishitho-raatero badaldhara, it is a crime to make the esraj play second fiddle to the keyboard in accompanying Rabindrasangeet.