The ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ series brings talented youngsters to the fore

The ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ series brings talented youngsters to the fore

We recently lost senior musicians such as Malini Rajurkar of the Gwalior gharana, Prabha Atre of the Kirana gharana, Ustad Rashid Khan of the Rampur Saheswan gharana, and vidwan O.S. Thyagarajan. With the passing of these stalwarts, it’s time to prepare the next generation of performers. The ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ series hosted by Pracheen Kala Kendra (PKK), Chandigarh is working in this direction by platforming young and promising vocalists and and instrumentalists.

The 23rd quarterly baithak of this series was recently held at Triveni Kala Sangam in Delhi. It featured a vocal recital by Nirali Kartik and a santoor-sitar Jugalbandi by Prakriti and Sanskriti Wahane, popularly known as Wahane Sisters. Pt. Jasraj was the foremost representative of the Mewati gharana and it was heartening to see Nirali carrying forward the gharana’s style. Prakriti, following the footsteps of Pt. Shivkumar Sharma and Bhajan Sapori, has taken to the 100-stringed santoor. While Sanskriti has many sitar maestros to draw inspiration from.

Nirali’s parents were instrumental in getting her initiated into classical music. She first trained under P. G. Shinde and later learnt from Vikas Parikh and Sanjeev Abhyankar, disciples of Pt. Jasraj. Nirali was fortunate to have been guided by Pt. Jasraj as well. The Wahane Sisters were fortunate to have music in their home. They were initially trained by their musician-father Lokesh Wahane. Currently, they are being groomed by Ustad Shahid Parvez and Pt. Suresh Talwalkar.

Nirali Kartik

Nirali Kartik

Accompanied by Sumit Mishra on the harmonium and Zaheen Khan on the tabla, Nirali opened the evening with raag Puriya-Kalyan, a melodious combination of the sombre Puriya and pleasing Kalyan. The introductory auchaar was followed by the traditional Bada Khayal ‘Aaj so bana’ set to Vilambit Ektaal. There were engaging bol-alap phrases sung with skill and delicacy.

The Chhota Khayal ‘Din rain kachhu na suhave’, a composition of ‘Manrang’, was studded with fleeting taans. Her enjoyment of singing reflected in the audience too. The main raag was followed by a Kalawati tarana, which came sweeping sargam taans. Nirali concluded her with Braj Ki Holi ‘Mriganayani tero yaar naval-rasiya’. Though Nirali said ‘mriganayani’ refers to the doe-eyed Krishna, it actually describes the nayika, who has eyes like a deer, in the song.  

The sitar-santoor jugalbandi by the Wahane Sisters opened with an expansive alap-jod-jhala in raag Charukeshi, which was anchored on the right precepts of training and understanding. Prakriti and Sanskriti complemented each other. They went on to play compositions of their father in slow and medium tempos of Jhaptaal and Teentaal. There laya and swaras, and their sawal-jawab patterns of taans lent vibrancy to the concert. Zuheb Khan on the tabla added splendour to the jugalbandi, which concluded with a melodious Bhairavi dhun.

Kudos to their guru and father Lokesh Wahane, a music teacher in Ujjain, who himself is a disciple of Ustad Shahid Parvez. He studied Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma’s technique of playing the santoor to help his daughter learn the instrument. Though both the sisters were trained in sitar, Prakriti took to the santoor. “Once Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma invited us to the hotel where he was staying for a concert in Pune and asked Prakriti to play something. He was so pleased listening to her Rageshri that he gifted her a santoor,” said Lokesh Wahane, who plays several instruments.

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