Jayanthi Kumaresh’s enthralling rendition of Raag Basanta is a carrier of joy, hope and positivity. This is the third presentation, a piece filled with youthful spirit from her concert at the Darbar festival 2013. She performs a Saint Thyagaraja composition set to Rupak talam. In the Carnatic discipline, Basanta is an evening raga, also seasonal and has been traditionally associated with the new and positive. It is an ancient raga that has been prevalent for more than 1000 years.
Accompanying her on the mridangam is Patri Satish Kumar and on the ghatam is RN Prakash. Kumaresh begins with an alapana, defining the convoluted movement of the raga and delineating the yearning in its emotions. With beautiful gamaks and curly notes, she plays the progressions, sustaining the notes to create a sublime effect.
The composition creates a serene ambience with Kumaresh’s gentle portrayal of the subtle elements within the song. Through her improvisations, she portrays a powerful image of the fresh, hopeful and colourful canvas of springtime. Kumar’s enhanced lyrical style of playing infuses excitement into the recital. Along with Prakash, he blends in with the syllables of the composition to create a soul-stirring effect.
Kumaresh’s witty sawal-jawab with Kumar and Prakash towards the end brings this piece to a jovial end.
Raag Basanta is a janya raga of the 17th Melakarta, Suryakantam, although, some scholars are of the opinion that Basanta is a janya of the 15th melakarta, Mayamalavagowla. It is an evening raga, an asymmetric scale that does not contain panchama and is also seasonal to spring. It is called a vakra audava-shadava scale and is considered an auspicious raga. The notes used in Basanta are sadja, antara gandhara, suddha madhyama, chatusruti dhaivata and kakali nisadha. In the descent, the suddha risabha joins the string of notes completing the scale.
The arohana and avarohana of Basanta are as follows:
arohaṇa : S G₃ M₁ D₂ N₃ Ṡ
avarohaṇa : Ṡ N₃ D₂ M₁ G₃ R₁ S
Jayanthi Kumaresh (saraswati veena)
Patri Satish Kumar (mridangam)
RN Prakash (ghatam)
Mithila Sarma (tanpura)
Raag Basanta, Kriti set to Rupak talam, Saint Thyagaraja (1767-1847)
Venue: Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London