Raag Charukeshi is a recent Carnatic import into the Hindustani genre. It has primarily been a show-stopper in lengthy, pure Hindustani or Carnatic classical concerts. But this recital might take one by a pleasant surprise with Charukeshi hopping over from the pure classical arena to that of light classical. This video is a presentation from the 2006 Darbar Festival that featured eminent vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty for an entire evening of semi or light classical songs only.
Pandit Chakraborty performs ‘Saiyyan Mora Din Rajni Kaise Beetey’ - a thumri he composed during the beginning of the millennium. Set predominantly to Charukeshi with vignettes of other ragas here and there, this composition is a mastermind of the multi-talented stalwart who comes with a strapping knowledge and experience in both Hindustani and Carnatic classical forms as well as a host of other semi-classical styles of Indian music. Although there are no hard and fast rules about the raga on which a thumri should be based, this one stands out, perhaps because upon jogging one’s memory, very few or no traditional thumri based on a raga of Carnatic origin comes to recall easily.
With a pathos-laden gait, Pandit Chakraborty wanders across a deeply romantic and poignant sea of emotions, embellishing the composition with tonal sentences and phrases in delicate as well as full-throated frills. He broadens the canvas, bringing in vignettes of other ragas, thereby enriching its emotional content.
Pandit Subhankar Banerjee (1966-2021), a phenomenon whom we lost to the after-effects of COVID in 2021, had accompanied him on the tabla. Throughout his remarkable career, the virtuoso’s music has soared on stage defying gravity and creating raptures in the hearts of his listeners. He laps this rendition with nuanced, subtle thekas, prolonging the romantic pathos of the thumri in all earnestness.
Chiranjib Chakraborty supports the recital with confidence, trudging along with Pandit Chakraborty’s meandering melodic explorations and cues.
Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty (khayal)
Chiranjib Chakraborty (harmonium)
Subhankar Banerjee (tabla)
Kaviraj Singh (tanpura)
Thumri in Mishra Charukeshi