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Pt. Mukul Shivputra

Review: Pt. Mukul Shivputra Concert, 15 March 2015, Pune

As many other music lovers do, I also keep on waiting for some good concerts. A long time entry in my wish list was a concert by Pt. Mukuls Shivputra.

In the last week of Feb, I was in Ahmedabad for some official purpose. I had been there for a conference. While going to the conference venue from our guest house, I passed by CEPT.  I have a collection of around 6 recordings of Pt. Mukul Shivputra performing at CEPT. All of them are high quality audio recordings and Mukulji has sung many Ragas like Malkauns, Puriya Dhanashree, Jog, Chhayanat etc. and also has given a demonstrative talk.

While passing by, I asked my wife this many times repeated question- “When would he sing again?”

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra after the concert

As clueless as I was, she was unable to answer. Just after reaching the venue, I got an alert from Facebook about Pt. Mukul Shivputra performing in Pune on 15th March 2015.

Though both of us were quite busy with the launch of our book, we marked the date. The occasion was Mukulji completing 60 years. The concert was to be followed by dinner.

Many music lovers and fans of Pt. Mukul Shivputra were already present, waiting for him to arrive on the stage. We could coincidentally meet renowned Tabla Player Shree Anand Badamikar during the concert.

He arrived and after some formalities, the concert began. In spite of having some issues and trouble with the sound system, Mukulji sang. Unfortunately, the concert was arranged in open lawns and another classical concert was going on in the immediately next place. In spite of all these hurdles, Mukulji took audience to a different plane.

As a policy, I avoid writing elaborately on what Ragas were sung in a concert, which Bandishes, which Talas etc. The purpose is go beyond all that and taste the environment which the artist builds in his concert. It is a precaution to ensure that reviews are not intellectual.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra opened the concert with Multani, very stirdy yet delicate. The chain went on ending with Bageshree and then Bhairavee. The music was enriching, sensitive. One of the biggest problem I see with musicians is their insensitivity. They take all the efforts to make their music wide, entertaining, intellectually compelling. All these things can be added with practice, sensitivity cannot. Pt. Mukul Shivputra won the audience and made a mark because of his sensitivity and delicacy.

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra sings Raga Jaijaiwanti

He is whimsical and many people in the world of Indian classical music simply avoid talking about him. Still, many more miss him and miss his divine music. Mukul Shivputra quenched a thirst of music lovers which no other singer can.
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His concerts are now rare. Not many of his recordings are available in the stores. Some clips are uploaded on the internet but they lack the quality.

A few days ago, when we were attending a concert by Rahul Sharma [Barkha Ritu], on a CD stall there, I found a recording of Raga Jaijaiwanti and Kedar by Pt. Mukul Shivputra.

Without a second thought, I bought the CD.

Raga Jaijaiwanti- by different artists

I have listened to this melodious late night Raga Jaijaiwanti by many artists. Many of them are records and a few were the live concerts which I attended. The first rendition of Raga Jaijaiwanti which I came across was that of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. [Kanchan SInghasan and Jhanan Jhanan]. Later, I got more and more curious about this Raga and listened to its renditions by different artists including Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Jasraj etc.

I have attended a concert in which Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra sang this melodious Raga in Pune.

Till the date, I loved Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia  and Pt. Kumar Gandharva’s approach the most. This recording of Pt. Mukul Shivputra has changed the situation a bit.

Mukul Shivputra : Jaijaiwanti live in Mumbai

Jaijaiwanti is a vast Raga, with many possible combinations producing strikingly different emotions and moods. An artist can mend it to justify his feelings. At the same time, Jaijaiwanti has its own flavor also, which is very delicate to keep intact through out the concert.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra has done a really marvelous job while presenting this Raga. His swift movements from Dha to Ga, a trademark pattern in which he takes both the Gandhars together takes the Raga to another level. This also opened up a completely unexplored aspect of personality of the Raga. The quality of the recording is also excellent which adds up to the overall joy of listening.

I would highly recommend music lovers to listen to this live recording to experience the nonperishable beauty of this Raga.

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Kumar Gandharva

Pt. Kumar Gandharva- The purpose behind a Tarana

Note- Tarana is a type of composition which generally does not carry any meaning. As per the trend goes, Taranas are sung in a fast tempo.  

Many times, it is seen that listeners as well as vocalists are not aware of purpose behind different types of compositions that are being sung. Ideally, everyone should do what Pt. Kumar Gandharva used to do- contemplation. I really like the way this maestro, Kumar Gandharva has put forward his original thoughts on different aspects of Indian Classical Music, Tarana not being an exception

I often used to wonder, why Tarana is sung in any particular Raga. It is made up of syllables which carry no meaning at all. What people generally think is, it is some kind of adventure in Classical Music. For casual listeners, Indian Classical Music is very slow, boring and monotonous. I know many of my friends whose interest levels suddenly boost up when any artist says that he will be performing a Tarana. Generally, Tarana is thought to be the athletic part of classical music, unfortunately, not only by casual listeners but even by the many of the most famous musicians.

Pt. Kumar Gandharva singing a Tarana Courtesy- FiIms Division (Hans Akela)
Pt. Kumar Gandharva singing a Tarana
Courtesy- FiIms Division (Hans Akela)

While listening to Tarana sung by different artists, I used to feel unsatisfied. The constant fight with rhythm and notes used to seem senseless. I remember a concert, where Pt. Mukul Shivputra had sung a Tarana in Bhairav Raga. It was an early morning concert organized on the birth anniversary of Pt. Kumar Gandharva in Pune. It was first time when I listened to a Tarana in Madhya Laya (medium tempo). Otherwise, it is always performed in Ati Drut Laya (Super fast tempo). I enjoyed that Tarana a lot. It had conveyed something- which was beyond words.

Still, I was looking from some statement or document written by some authority which explained why Tarana is sung or what is the purpose behind singing Tarana. They say, when you are searching for something seriously, you get it.  Last week, I had ordered for myself a copy of ‘Hans Akela’ , a documentary made on Pt. Kumar Gandharva. This documentary was directed by Jabbar Patel. Somewhere in this documentary, they have mentioned what thoughts he had about Tarana. As he says,

‘When singer sings everything, and still wants to say something more, something which he could not convey through the compositions sung, he sings Tarana- which has no meaning. ’

– Pt. Kumar Gandharva

 I found this explanation very relevant, authentic and having some experimental value. Pt. Kumar Gandharva has sung his Taranas in same way. They convey something which the words cannot.  

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra and laughing Pt. Kumar Gandharva

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Famous Musicians of India Pt. Mukul Shivputra

Pt. Mukul Shivputra and Pt. Kumar Gandharva

There is an old proverb that no new tree can grow under a giant tree. This proverb is often used to describe the situation of families of musicians. Many times, it happens that sons and daughters of legends find it very difficult to keep themselves up to the expectations of listeners. Most of the times, the son or the daughter tries to imitate the parent artist and their entire life goes being just an imitation.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra

On these lines, it is very difficult for a son or a daughter to come with his/her own style of performing  which is so evolved that listener just forgets to compare it with the parent performer. But there are definitely some genius artists who have achieved this herculean task. All these thoughts came to my mind after a realization that I never compared Pt. Mukul Shivputra with Pt. Kumar Gandharva.

It was really surprising not to compare the son with the father. But, Pt. Mukul Shivputra is in a way incomparable performer. Pt. Kumar gandharva is for sure one of the most innovative and profound artist we had. If you are a son of Pt. Kumar Gandharva, comparison is inevitable. But, Pt. Mukul Shivputra stands above all the comparison.

I have an one and half hour long recording of Raga Malkauns by Pt. Kumar Gandharva. A few days before, I got an chance to listen to Raga Malkauns sung by Pt. Mukul Shivputra. He was playing the same composition which was recorded by Pt. Kumar gandharva. This composition can be said to be the highest peak of Malkauns. Pt. Mukul Shivputra has also sung the same Bandish but in a very unique way. This Bandish also goes to the same peak but it takes a very different way from that of Kumarji. I guess, this is Pt. Mukul Shivputra- reaching same height but in totally different sky.

One more article which talks about Mukul Shivputra can be found here.

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Famous Musicians of India Pt. Mukul Shivputra

Pt. Mukul Shivputra- The grace continues

Listening to Pt. Mukul Shivputra has always been like God’s grace. It comes and it goes. When it is there, you enjoy without bothering about anything else. Then suddenly, it goes. Then you pass on the days in the remembrance of the grace. Then again, you start receiving it and you are submerged in it. The concert by Pt. Mukul Shivputra in Pune gave everyone a feel of this grace. Then for next few months, Pt. Mukul Shivputra was showering this grace through his different concerts.

Then one day, he just left Pune. The grace had stopped and we were living on the remembrance of his concerts, listening to the recordings again and again. But the grace again comes back. One morning, I found a great link to high quality recordings of Pt. Mukul Shivputra. Without even thinking on it, I downloaded all the links. The very first note of Pt. Mukul Shivputra gave the unique experience, as if you are taking grace of god. All the Ragas which are sung by Pt. Mukul Shivputra, I have heard them from Pt. Kumar Gandharva. It is very difficult job to sing same Bandishes and Ragas as sung by Kumar Gandharva and create your own image.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra holds this responsibility very successfully and many times, what the listener feels is, Mukul Shivputra has added many unexplored intricacies to the performance by Pt. Kumar Gandharva. I have no idea, when Pt. mukul Shivputra will again perform live and I will be able to attend the concert. But one thing is for sure, when Pt. Mukul Shivputra was singing; I was there, being a part of the divine music.

Update: 

After writing this post, Mukul Shivputra almost stopped giving concerts. Yes, there was one concert of his organized at Tilak Smarak Mandir, but he could not perform there. After that, for almost one year, there was no news about him. In the month of March, 2015, a concert which was followed by dinner was organized on the occasion of Mukul Shivputra completing 60 years. I attended the concert and enjoyed the dinner along with the maestro. Here is the review of this concert.

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra

Pt. Mukul Shivputra : Maestro on the peak

It was third consecutive concert by Pt. Mukul Shivputra. For the third time, Pt. Mukul Shivputra took us all along with him on the highest peaks of musical contemplation.

This concert of Pt. Mukul Shivputra was organized by Vriddha Anand Ashram, a home for old age people in Akurdi, near Pune city. Program was free of cost for all the music lovers. Though Akurdi is far away from my place, I decided to attend the concert because each and every concert of Pt. Mukul Shivputra is an elevating experience.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra performing in concert at Pune

As I was pretty before time, I got a sit very near to the stage. Pt. Mukul Shivputra started his performance at around nine in the night. For next three hours, all of us were in a different world, far beyond the ordinary course of life. Sound system was not up to the mark. But, Pt. Mukul Shivputra was beyond all the technical problems and realities. The journey which started from Raga Savani went away to Bhairav covering Savni Nat, Bihag, Nirguni Bhajan and beautiful composition by saint Tulsidas.

After listening to three concerts by Pt. Mukul Shivputra, one can feel the divinity of this man if one listens with open eyes. Mukul Shivputra has a rare sense of notes, rhythm, dialog between the notes. His compositions are also very well chosen.  He knows exact locations of all the notes. All the above mentioned things can be acquired through  tremendous hard work and dedication; but Pt. Mukul Shivputra goes beyond this. His music has an out of world serenity, out of human reach contemplation and out of mind vision.

All the three concerts which I have attended by Pt. Mukul Shivputra firmly assert that he is most precious pillars of Indian Vocal Music today.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra will be performing tomorrow at Tilak Smarak Mandir in Pune. Going there to feel the maestro on the peak.

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra and Laughing Kumar Gandharva

To welcome the rains, a wonderful concert by Pt. Mukul Shivputra was organised at Bharat Natya Mandir, Pune. It is a rare chance to listen to Pt. Mukul Shivputra. He had given a glimpse of his divine voice and unmatched rendering to the music lovers of Pune in a concert organised at Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha on the occasion of birth anniversary of Pt. Kumar Gandharva.

Without much publicity, the concert was flooded with listeners with no tickets remaining. The typical crowd of devoted listeners reminded me of concerts of Pt. Kumar Gandharva.  The stage was decorated simply with a few flower garlands and a photograph of Pt. Kumar Gandharva, laughing.

Concert started with no formality. Pt. Mukul Shivputra had come with a determination of quenching thirst of his listeners. He was rendering each note of the Raga in unique way. Hall was full of matured crowd. It was a perfect occasion to go inside- divine notes, a genius at his peak, a mind at the bottom of its depth.  Pt. Mukul Shivputra was creating magic. The notes were resonating in the atmosphere. Their aura was getting multiplied and among these tides of notes, I was caught.

A few years ago, i used to feel sad about Pt. Kumar Gandharva and Pt. Mukul Shivputra. That day, I laughed. Pt. Mukul Shivputra is beyond the mundane, because music he creates leaves mundane behind. Let him be anywhere; his music will always keep him above the normal world.

It was a satisfaction to listen to Pt. Mukul Shivputra. A soul of waves was dancing in the waves of music. The music he created waved hundreds of his listeners.

That day, I was laughing, Pt. Kumar Gandharva was laughing looking at his son going deeper and deeper in the ocean of music, and Mukul, he had gone far ahead of us……..

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