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Ashwini, Padma show eclecticism in approach

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The Economic Times, September 11, 1988

Eclecticism is the trend that is taking root today. It is specially discernible in the approach of the younger generation of artistes. And, that too, in vocal music, because there has not been such clear-cut differentiation in concept and style in instrumental music.

This was resoundingly brought home by the recitals of Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande and Padma Talwalkar during last week. These were full-fledged concerts sponsored by different institutions.

Ashwini’s programme was featured by the Delhi-based institution, SPIC-MACAY, in observance of decade of its laudable work towards creating and fostering the much-needed awareness and appreciation of Indian music, dance and culture among the country’s youth.

Singing in a sensitive, euphonious, luminous voice that rose to a high level of expressiveness, she began with khayals, vilambit and drut in Bhimpalasi, followed by a soulful Meera devotional. This was cast in a difficult tune based on Jogia and Mand melodies. The seasonal Goud Malhar was sung in khayals in madhya laya and drut tempi. She rounded off with a dadra composition in Bhairavi.

Ashwini is an artiste who has had the benefit of tutelage under many mentors representing gharanas as diverse as the Gwalior and Atrauli-Jaipur. Although her singing revealed a palpable impress of Kishori Amonkar’s vocalism, it also showed the deepening and broadening dimensions of her individual style. Whatever the chosen theme, what struck the listeners most was her acute sense of exploration in its depiction, no less than the intense, ardent mood which inspired her creative endeavour.

Padma Talwalkar, who was featured by Roop-Aart, a socio-cultural institution affiliated to the Rashtra Seva Dal, is slightly older, with a longer concert experience to her credit.

Padma’s respertoire comprised Miya Malhar and Goud Malhar. The former was rendered as a three-tier depiction, and the latter was presented in a medium-tempo composition and a tarana.

Both the portraitures were massive in design and proportion, in which, sustainedalapchari, imaginative bolupaj and vigorous but precise tankari added up to a truly abiding impact on the audience. Spirit seized the artiste as it were in her creative ecstasy from start to finish, with not a dull moment in between.

Call it a blemish or a lapse or an unguarded aberration – but it was therein Padma’s rentition of drut Miyan Malhar. The frequency with which she grafted alien sequences like re-pa-ga-re and ma-ga-re into her melodic fabric could hardly be over-looked and ignored. It is quite intriguing that a mature artiste like her should indulge in such exercises, which only serve to confuse and confound the listeners.

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