A Grammy Award winner and the inventor of his own instrument mohan veena (a variant of the slide guitar), Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt’s magnificent rendition of raag Gauti and another composition of his own concludes the second evening of the Darbar festival 2007.
With tender touches, he opens Raag Gauti with an alap. He establishes the raga, exploring its recesses with the choicest phrases, embellishing it with decorated meends and decorated notes. Pandit Bhatt sustains the notes at the end of each phrase with considerable finesse. The warm tone of the mohan veena is enhanced with the resonance of the sympathetic strings and the occasional strumming of the drone strings, one of the special features that he has added to the instrument much later after its initial designing and construction.
He plays an expansive jod with exceptional balance between the right and left hands, energetically building the groove and occasionally suspending notes in between. The gat is set to madhyalay Teental, where Pandit Bhatt makes a powerful display of variations of Gaoti. Pandit Yogesh Samsi gives a brilliant accompaniment, enhancing the music at every level. His solos come in between with charming swag and riveting clarity.
The drut gat is set to Teental and delivered through complex improvisational structures, dramatic pauses and melodious murkis. Pandit Bhatt ends this part of the recital with a jhalla and sawal-jawab with Samsi, blending melody and groove to give a resounding conclusion.
Pandit Bhatt’s concluding piece is a soulful lullaby, ‘Jhoola Jhulawu Lori Sunawu,’ that he composed for his mother, Vatsalya Bhatt, when she was 96 years old. The lullaby is set to Mishra Tilak Kamod in Chachar taal, a folksy variant of Deepchandi taal. Dedicating it to all mothers, he renders the lullaby in his own voice, surprising his listeners as a versatile singer too.
We were overwhelmed with Pandit Bhatt’s warm words of appreciation for the work that Darbar has been doing. What made it all the more special was Ustad Shahid Parvez and Begum Parveen Sultana present in the audience that created an unspoken camaraderie between all the artists.
Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (mohan veena)
Pandit Yogesh Samsi (tabla)
Raag Gauti, Thaat: Khamaj, Samay: Late evening
Lullaby in Raag Mishra Tilak Kamod composed by Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt