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Music without mike

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The Economic Times, June 5, 1988

The microphone has, for several decades now, become indispensable to music concerts and other varieties of stage entertainment.

The listeners’ ears are now so inured to the ubiquitous gadget that music without mike is simply unthinkable.

It was therefore to my great delight that I had an opportunity to savour two hours of mikeless music at a compact baithak at the Dadar-Matunga Cultural Centre on May 21.

The audience comprised of only 50 odd listeners. But almost all of them were hard-boiled highbrow rasikas, representing the older generation, who had experienced the pleasure of real “live” music of the forties.

The delight was, indeed, all the greater, because the recital offered the very epitome of spirited, joyful music. And it came from an artiste from far-off Goad. It can be said, without exaggeration, that Nisha Nigalye, who is only 24, came as a revelation. Her contribution looked too good for her age, and she left us in no doubt that given certain conditions, she is going to make it to the top, sooner than later.

Nisha comes of a art-loving middle class family from Panaji, and she had her initiation into music from the age of nine. After learning the basics of Hindustani music from Karandikar Buva, a local erudite teacher, she had the benefit of advanced guidance from Pandit V. R. Athavale and Pandit S. S. Haldankar, both directors of music at the Goa Kala Academy.

Side by side, she has prosecuted her scholastic education in music and has bagged a diploma and post-graduate degree in that subject. She has also bagged several first prizes at many prestigious music contests.

Nisha began her recital with the profound Marwa in vilambit and drut. She followed it up with a briefer rendition of Bihagda (the variety which uses only shudha nishad), also in slow and fast tempi. After a brief interval, she treated us to a composition in Sindhura, a rare and difficult melody. The number, heard next was a three-tier offering in Hamir, rendered in vilambit, drut and tarana. To lend variety, she next took up a thumri in Mishra Khamaj and rounded off with a Hindi devotional.

Two aspects of Nisha’s singing were most striking. The first was had utterly tuneful voice. Second, her correct insight into the beauties of form and structure in each of her chosen numbers.

Even so, I would give the palm to her explorations of Marwa and Hamir. Her Bihagda and Sindhura somehow could not attain the same degree of achievement. Specially, the drut in Bihagada had avoidable theatrical elements. On the contrary, her thumri was surprisingly sensitive. Her Sindhura was more likeable for its tricky, involved tonal substance. The final devotional had the flavor reminiscent of Kumar Gandharva’s famous Nirguni bhajans.

The artiste received competent support from the veteran Nene on the harmonium and younger Jaiphalkar on the tabla.

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