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A brilliant innovation

I had heard this Kabir das Bhajan in praise of Shriram sung by Anup Jalota, one of his most popular renditions that he is repeatedly requested to perform at various concerts. He has composed it in the wonderful raag Des. As it became popular and famous it spawned innumerable cover versions by all and sundry including on the unreal reality music shows.

Everyone pretty much stuck to the script and faithfully tried to -the best of their abilities- come close to Anup ji in the same manner as he presented it with typical flair and showmanship and embellishments. https://youtu.be/93zw9h53zmk

To me he has treated it as a song. Purely meant to entertain.

I came across this version today from one of my favourite vocalists of the current generation, Vidushi Kaushiki Chakraborty. She recorded this at home and from the very beginning, it was auditory pleasure, nay ecstasy and pleasant surprise to see her compose it in the very melodious raag Bageshri. On top she has made her tabalchi Sandeep Ghosh use the infrequently used Deepchandi taal (14  matra) & that coupled with her unique, impressive, unmatched vocal range means pure, unmatched bliss.

Nirvana.

She is truly impressive, and has rarely disappointed me whenever I have heard her singing in a variety of genres. Even her forays into singing Marathi bhajans which are iconic are very sweet.
https://youtu.be/LYEMklWzeOs

Only a vocalist who is top of her craft can pull this off so beautifully.

कबीरा जब हम पैदा हुए,
जग हँसे,हम रोये ।
ऐसी करनी कर चलो,
हम हँसे,जग रोये ॥

चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी
राम नाम रस भीनी
चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी

अष्ट-कमल का चरखा बनाया,
पांच तत्व की पूनी ।
नौ-दस मास बुनन को लागे,
मूरख मैली किन्ही ॥
चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी…

जब मोरी चादर बन घर आई,
रंगरेज को दीन्हि ।
ऐसा रंग रंगा रंगरेज ने,
के लालो लाल कर दीन्हि ॥
चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी…

चादर ओढ़ शंका मत करियो,
ये दो दिन तुमको दीन्हि ।
मूरख लोग भेद नहीं जाने,
दिन-दिन मैली कीन्हि ॥
चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी…

ध्रुव-प्रह्लाद सुदामा ने ओढ़ी चदरिया,
शुकदेव में निर्मल कीन्हि ।
दास कबीर ने ऐसी ओढ़ी,
ज्योँ की त्यों धर दीन्हि ॥
के राम नाम रस भीनी,
चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी ।

The sublime heights of devotion (Bhaktiras) that she scales so effortlessly are breathtaking. The purity of the sur with the clarity of diction are to me reminiscent of Swarmartand Pandit Jasraj ji‘s devotional pieces. Over six decades of having my senses develop on Panditji’s unparalleled vocal worship of the Supreme Being has got the senses addicted to his voice. But stumbling across this amazing Kaushiki bhajan was such a happy accident. Jalota ji’s renditions are always accompanied by a full complement of instrumentalists. In concerts, these somehow overshadow the vocal part. The joy of listening to purity of the voice is denied unfortunately and I personally thought his treatment of the bhajan was really very superficial. Undoubtedly Kaushiki manages to reach much higher levels making the audience one with her bhaav. The experience is nothing but exhilarating.

And Kaushiki manages to captivate with just a taanpura and tabla. No frills, pure vocals with an amazing God given voice that makes me teary eyed and feel one with her emotion… The central idea of sticking to the form and purpose (worshipping the Supreme Being) is never sacrificed or lost focus of.

Have a wonderful Deepawali, the festival that celebrates the return of Prabhu Shriram to Ayodhya having vanquished the evil embodied by Ravan. For us Maharashtrians Diwali celebrations start todat

Stay safe, folks, enjoy the festivities as they should be… Stay healthy and happy.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

4 replies on “A brilliant innovation”

New generation singers like Kaushikiji and Mahesh Kale among some other few are, if I am not exaggerating a boon to the Indian classical lineage… Nevertheless a detailed and thoughtful compilation of your views about this Bhakti redention is worth a salute Sir…

Liked by 1 person

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