Hailing from the Senia-Maihar gharana, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar fuses gayaki (lyrical vocal imitation) with tantrakari (intricate instrumental playing) in a complex and refined style. A versatile musician who has studied under various gurus including his grandfather, Bibhuti Ranjan (mandolin) and Amaresh Chowdhury (vocal and tabla), his most prolonged and profound training has been under the legendary sarod player, Ustad Bahadur Khan (1931-1989) for 18 years. Later, he came under Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009), (hailed the greatest instrumentalist of the 20th century by Yehudi Menuhin) and polished his music, thus, becoming one of the most prominent sarod players of his time.
In this Director’s Cut concert from 2009, he has been paired with one of the most exciting tabla players representing the Benares gharana, Pandit Kumar Bose. They perform Raag Darbari Kanada and Raag Tilak Kamod. The concluding miniature set to Mishra Sindhu Bhairavi still remains fresh in the minds of rasikas (music lovers) from the immortal duets of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar.
With a patient alap, Pandit Majumdar etches out a worthy persona of the sombre Darbari Kanada. His swooning glides and striking tonal combinations flow in broody, lusty crests, entwining each other to create arrestingly haunting moments. The subtly constructed contours of this glide-centric raga emerge in gorgeous textures in the jod (melodic expansion with a slight pulse and no rhythmic accompaniment) and jhalla (crescendo).
Combining synergy and passion, Pandit Bose doles out velvety, indulgent tabla bols (syllables) in a mottled palette of muted and sparkling sounds, underpinning the complex and compelling movements of the sarod masterfully. The composition in medium tempo (madhyalay) is set to a cycle of 14 beats in Dhamar taal, an unusual but refreshing choice for a full recital.
Limbering up with a short alap in Tilak Kamod, Pandit Majumdar plays a slow (vilambit) composition in Teental. The second composition in madhyalay was written and composed by his guru, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. In it, he demonstrates Ustad Khan’s atypical application of both the madhyams (pure and sharp 4th) - a feature that the latter introduced into Tilak Kamod that magically fits into the melodic scheme of the raga although it deviates slightly from its set rules. The faster tempo (drut) composition in Teental ends with a rousing, glorious and lyrical teamwork between the sarod and the tabla.
The grand finale in Mishra Sindhu Bhairavi is short and comprises a motley of beautiful ragas stitched together in a lilting rhythm of Dadra to which, Pandit Bose aptly lends his balmy, tender beats, elevating and enriching its soul and sway.
Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar
Pandit Kumar Bose (tabla)
Debipriya Das (tanpura)