#darbarfestival | The young Carnatic singers borrow from Hindustani music, using Raag Chandrakauns’ spacious shape to colour an abhang (‘uninterrupted’ devotional song).

Learn more about the music:
An abhang is a devotional song in praise of Vitthala, an incarnation of Vishnu, who is often depicted as a dark young boy standing on a brick, arms akimbo. The word translates from Marathi as ‘uninterrupted’, referring to the form’s continuous poetic flow, which originates with ancient Varkari poet-saints of the Maharashtra region. They are typically exuberant, and are used to celebrate the communal experience of pilgrimage.

Here the abhang is set to the Hindustani Raag Chandrakauns, a spacious, distinctive, and comparatively modern scale. It cannot be easily classified into any particular thaat – instead it resembles Malkauns with a shudda instead of a komal Ni, to give SgmdNS. The shuddha Ni is played prominently, profoundly recolouring the mood. The raga becomes tenser and less introspective than Malkauns, lending itself to faster tempos. It is often borrowed into film music and Carnatic song.

Ranjani and Gayatri are sisters who sing and play Carnatic music on violin. They were born into a musical family and their talent was recognised very early (it is said that they could identify complex rhythmic patterns and hundreds of different ragas by early childhood). They trained within the family, as well as receiving violin lessons from T.S. Krishnaswami and vocal instruction from P. S. Narayanaswamy. They are notable as prolific song composers, and for fusing ideas from Hindustani and Carnatic music.

Recorded for Darbar on 17 Oct 2015 at London’s Southbank Centre
-Ranjani & Gayatri (vocals)
-HN Bhaskar (violin)
-Sai Giridhar (mridangam)
-Giridhar Udupa (ghatam)

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