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Kishori Amonkar concert at Gateway of India : Review

When you are into world of music, attending concerts makes a big portion of your life. It is the time when you can see the maestros performing. As elders say, you should never miss an concert irrespective of the artist who will be performing. But, some artists rarely perform. In case of such artists, the listeners strive for every single concert. Whenever they hear even a slight discussion that there is some concert by such an artist, they try their best to be there,to experience the magic of divine notes.WP_20140105_001

also, if a concert is written on your fate, you will never miss it. Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar is one such artist who performs rarely compared to other artists.  During my first four years in Pune, I attended concerts by all the famous musicians including Pt. Mukul Shivputra, who is considered to be most infrequently performing artist in the world of Indian Classical Music. But somehow, a concert by Kishori Amonkar was something which I had not experienced. Then I got an opportunity to listen her live for couple of times.

This particular concert on 5th Jan 2014 was quite special because it was arranged in Mumbai. This was my first experience with Mumbai audience. The venue and time were both spiritual. It was an early morning concert scheduled at 6.30 in morning in front of gateway of India, facing the endless sea. Kishori Amonkar, though I had listened to two of her concerts before,was quite an unfamiliar artist for me. I was sincerely looking for more of her concerts so that I could understand her music better. Existence created the opportunity. And yes,I did not miss it!

The audience of more than 2000 stood up to salute Kishori Amonkar
The audience of more than 2000 stood up to salute Kishori Amonkar

the performance started at 7 O Clock.Without wasting much time, the organizers  requested her to start the performance.  Kishori Amonkar started with Raga Bhairav,a morning raga. The composition was spiritual. The skies were spiritual and so was the artist. The tall and robust structure of Taj at back, pigeons flying in their internal rhythm were adding to the already spiritual atmosphere.

It took some time for her voice to open up. When it opened up, she was beyond all the limits. What strikes me most about performance of Kishori Amonkar is her devotion and her level of involvement in the music. Her voice carries a deep resonance. Another thing worth noting is the patience in her performance. Kishori Amonkar is never in hurry. She is always giving full attention to each and every note and nuances of the raga which she is playing. While listening to her rendition of Raga Bhairav, I met many phrases in Raga Bhairav which I had never realized while practising. It was as if you are meeting completely unexplored side of a person whom you know for years. The second Raga chosen for the concert was Lalat Pancham. Her voice was moving steadily and gracefully in all the three octaves.

Kishori Amonkar carries a vision behind her every performance. One can find her constantly trying to materialize this vision through her performance. This striving, this struggle is so beautiful, so valuable! Her performance has nothing to show. It does not tell you how great the performer is. There is no effort done to show the greatness of the performance. It is like a waterfall, which flows for no reason. Perhaps this is what makes Kishori Amonkar one of the greatest artists ever….

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Swararthramani- Autobiography of Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar

Kishori Amonkar concert in Pune: Review

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Kishori Amonkar

Kishori Amonkar – Swararthramani

Kishori Amonkar is surely an unmatched person in the field of Indian Classical Music. Among all the famous musicians of India, she has created a very distinct position for herself. Kishori Amonkar, as she herself says, is in a true sense an artist who cares for notes and takes every care that a note is approached carefully, with love.  This love for notes, for music can be felt through all the performances of Kishori Amonkar.

Kishori Amonkar

Swararthramani – Book written by Kishori Amonkar

Kishori Amonkar, who is also referred as Ganasaraswati (Goddess of music) has written a book named Swararthramni which encompasses her impressions about music. The book comments  in depth about the musical interpretations of Kishori Amonkar. In one paragraph, Kishori Amonkar explains about feelings expressed in any Indian Classical Composition. Her explanation is really very authentic and genuine. She says that any composition in Indian Classical Music talks about a particular feeling of a person, eg. some one waiting eagerly for her lover. As Kishori tai says, later the reason of missing lover is just an excuse to pull up and express the other sorrows of the person. As she says in the book, the ultimate stage is the expression of all the human sorrows, which are quite eternal.

My observation is, what Kishori Amonkar is saying is absolutely true. Unless a song speaks of eternal, it has no appeal. If the sorrow or any feeling for instance, in the given composition is not taken to its eternal form, the music sounds shallow. There are very few musicians which can give us this the feel of eternal feeling. The beauty of such eternal music is, it gives us the sense of universal unity.  To name a few, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, Ustaad Shujaat Khan are some artists who can give their listeners this feel of eternal oneness.

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Kishori Amonkar Concert- Pune

A few days before, Arya Sangeet Prasarak mandal, Pune had organized a concert to collect relief fund for the drought victims. The concert featured many artists like Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra, L. Subramanyam, Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar, Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar and Pt. Ronu Majumdar. I, as usual attended the entire concert from early morning and also attended the evening session.

Among all these performers, I was very much curious about the performance of Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar. The reason is, she is the artist which I have listened to live very less. Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar is running her 81st year. It is so difficult to put the notes at right place at such a high age. But, I think it will be difficult for those who are not totally submerged in music. If your life is devoted to music, you can practice it till your last breath.

Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar

L. Subramanyam gave his performance before that of Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar. It was really wonderful performance and it was quite difficult to wipe away the spell cast by him. All the atmosphere was filled with the notes of the violin. But, within a few seconds, Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar had made her own environment. She started the concert with Raga Kedar. Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar was given a vocal support by her disciples, who were very young. But still, it was clearly visible that they were finding it to difficult to sing with the energy level of Kishori Tai. What she sings, the Taan of Jaypur- Atrauli is very pleasant for your ears to listen to, but its a wonder to make them out of your throat. Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar was effortless. Her voice was spanning high…higher than ever. It was clearly visible that she is made to sing. She was roaming in the world of notes when I was wondering about how she can do so at this age…

Her performance taught me one thing- If you are dedicated, you become effortless. Then you do not have to worry about the notes, but the notes worry for you. Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar truly demonstrated this phenomenon. generally it is said that it is difficult to master even one note. I would not say Kishori  Tai has mastered the notes but yes, all the notes are very friendly with her. That’s why she sings effortless……

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