Devotion: Ritual in Earnest
By Dr. Ragini Trivedi
DEVOTION – TRADITIONAL INDIAN SITAR
ARTISTE: DR. CHANDRA KANT SARDESHMUKH
PUBLISHER: DARSHANAM 
Raga Kalavati 32:45
Tal Addha; Teentaal
Raga Yaman 27:45
A child prodigy, who began his musical career at an early age of four, Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh was blessed to grow up in company of stalwarts. Though his father, a revered sage of Datta (Dattatreya) tradition, did not practice music overtly, his natural piety and wisdom attracted musicians amongst others who sought his blessings. Young Chandrakant’s talent spotted early by his father and seconded by such maestros as Bal Gandharva, Vidushi Mogubai Kurdikar, Heerabai Badodekar, Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Kishori Amonkar amongst others, was destined to unfurl to its full potential. Pandit Ravishankar took him under his tutelage when Chandrakant was just eight. A wandering minstrel by heart this Sitarist has travelled the world over to find a home wherever he happens to be. Between concerts and continents he can not only find time to provide solace through his music, he can also collaborate with musicians from different genres and nations. His music has often topped the charts on mp3.com. After dedication to his Guru Pt. Ravishankar on his 80th birthday and to Ma Annapurna and Mama Ali Akbar Khan, Devotion is dedicated to celebrated vocalist Pt. Bhimsen Joshi on his 80th birthday.
That the artiste truly salutes the mentor, is indicated by the Raga-s he selects. Kalavati held special appeal for Pt. Joshi who blended this Raga with Rageshri to create Kalashri, a Raga quite similar to Sameshwari. This light Raga has instant appeal which Dr. Chandrakant exploits to full.
This rendition once again establishes that while fundamentals of Ragdari are firmly entrenched, the artiste still has the ability to innovate. This Sitarist, unlike the younger breed, is wary of excessive use of Tihai-s and depends more on gradual flowering of the Raga. He plays with methodical Alap which brings out the beauty of Kalavati. The Meend-s are soft and balanced. One discovers a slight tilt in favour of the Da bol even though it is more out of the artiste's persona rather than any conscious decision on his part. The Gamak-s thus effected give a gentle drive to improvisation. Gamak-s, as well use of certain Chhhand-s, are representative of tradition established by his Guru Pt. Ravishankar. The fast Gat in Addha Taal brings about playfulness, a characteristic of this child prodigy. The teasing tussle with Tabla known as ladant, emphasises his strong mastery of rhythm. His imaginative use of Kaharwa Taal at the end of fast composition in Addha and then smooth blend into Teen Taal enhances the aesthetic worth of this recital. Throughout this rendition of Kalavati one can feel the delight the artiste finds in playing.
Yaman, the heptatonic Raga allows the artiste full liberty for improvisation. Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh employs Rupak taal to produce a charismatic effect. He uses the seven beats to portray possibilities of arriving at Sam. The discipline he espoused in Kalavati no longer restrains him from expressing his mood in Yaman. This rendering is aimed at young and the uninitiated while providing ample proof of his grand lineage to keep the aesthete involved.
The two Raga-s performed in different manner yet spell devotion, in larger sense of the word – each devotee of music offers his best to his Muse. It matters little if his offering is like those of others or absolutely unique; he has full faith in its acceptance. One may look forward to several such offerings from one so eager to acknowledge talent in others.
Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh's website: darshanam
Bharatiya Sangeet Vadya on wikipedia
Indian Classic Music & Gharana Tradition
Bhāratīya Shāstrīya Sangīt: Shāstra, Shikshan Va Prayōg
List of books on music.
Review of Pure Joy Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh, Sitar. Darshanam: 1998
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