Bhawalkar belongs to a handful of dhrupad singers who have made this form popular and also inspired young students to take it up.
Each year, we try to give a full circle presentation of all the repertoires of Indian classical music of which, dhrupad plays a pivotal role. In fact, one of the documentaries produced and premiered at the Darbar Digital Festival 2020, ‘Churning the Ocean,’ is our way of capturing the kaleidoscope of this form as a way of life.
Taking up dhrupad as a student or practitioner entails a life that is steeped in spirituality and deep churning of one’s soul. This concert of Bhawalkar is testimony to the spiritual immersion and tenacity that is required to render a full-blown dhrupad recital.
Bhimpalasi is an expansive raga and can be spun into realms of magic when put into the hands of a seasoned artist as Bhawalkar. He begins a meditative alaap throwing light on the stepping stones of this evening melody. He swoops deep down into the very low octave portraying its colours as he expands the raga.
He illuminates Ma or 4th with velocity, bringing in the dimension that is peculiar to Bhimpalasi. The alaap slowly lets in a pulse where Bhawalkar’s mastery begins to unfold with the jod. Sukhvinder Singh joins in with the jori, playing magnificent rhythmic patterns drawing up an elaborate extension of this section ending with a jhala.
Thereafter, Bhawalkar begins the dhrupad composition, ‘Rasa kunjana me racho,’ set to a 12-beat ‘chautal’ with which, he pulls up inspired passages of this highly enticing raga with radiant ornamentations. Bhawalkar’s gamaks (oscillations) and glides are a class apart – they are supple and pregnant with microtones and take the listeners on a deep, reflective voyage of this mystique melody.
Sukhvinder Singh’s accompaniment on the jori shows his ability to handle a dhrupad recital with aesthetics and power. A wonderful teamwork of two of the most accomplished musicians, this presentation is one of the most appealing enunciations of dhrupad.
Uday Bhawalkar (dhrupad)
Sukhwinder Singh ‘Pinky’ (jori)
Ranjana Ghatak & Gunwant Dhadyalla (tanpura)