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Young vocalist proves métier

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The Economic Times, December 17, 1989

As one witnesses the gradually growing representation being given to talented youngsters, who have for long kept waiting in the wings, on prestigious concert platforms, it cannot but hearten serious and sincere listeners to realize that happier days are in store for the up-and-coming generation of artistes.

This was what I felt while, listening to the vocal recital of Kumudini Katdare, who was featured by the NCPA at the Little Theatre last week. This was possibly the first time that the shy, modest artiste, who presently lives at Tarapur, some 45 miles away from Bombay, was making her appearance on the public stage and, that too, under the aegis of an august organisation.

That the choice of the artiste amply justified the hopes and expectations of the sponsors as well as the listeners was borne out by her excellent performance for 90 minutes. It would not be an overstatement to say that she proved her métier as a concert performer who has both the confidence and competence to forge ahead, given certain conditions.

Behind her musicianship is certainly her long training from gurus of the caliber of the scholar-musicians like Pandits N.R. Marulkar and Ratnakant Ramnathkar. After strengthening her foundation laid by these mentors, she pursued her riyza and sought studentship with another veteran, Kamal Tambe, a senior disciple, of the celebrated octogenarian, Mogubai Kurdikar, and a top performer and ideal teacher in her own right. That possibly explains why Kumidini’s style and approach bore the unmistakable impress of Tambe’s gharana – the difficult vocalism of Atrauli-Jaipur.

Kumudini began with Marwa, followed by Nat Kedara, Des and Nayaki-Kanada. She rounded off her concert with the conventional Bhairavi. But it was not a Hindi number, but a popular Marathi stage song.

The recital had many striking features, not the least of which is her sense of melodic visualisation as much as the duration of exploration of the individual ragas in keeping with their mood or character. While doing so, she was also acutely aware of the rigid time-limit set by the sponsors to her recital. All these qualities combined to make the performance a cherishable experience.

Marwa, the time-honoured evening melody, known for its profound, yet reposeful content and structure was the opening item. She rightly portrayed the raga in slow, fast and tarana phases, projecting its character effectively. Nat Kedara, next heard, is an intricate and complex fusion of two ragas and, for that reason, does not permit extensive exploration, except at the risk of repetition.

It was, therefore, just as well that the artiste devoted just 18 minutes to its unfolding in Vilambit and drut without sacrificing any of its distinctive motives. The succeeding Des is a raga whose character is slightly light classical. It therefore shines best in medium or fast tempo. The presentation lasted barely eight minutes. Sung in medium tempo, it depicted its pensive, persuasive mood.

On the other hand, her Nayaki Kanada, which is also a difficult melody and lends itself more effectively to slow and medium movements, was given 20 minutes for delineation. She could sing it for slightly longer duration to make it still more effective. But the time at her disposal was running out, with the final Bhairavi still awaiting presentation. Yet it did not emerge as a lopsided effort. Thus, in point of selection, sequence and duration of the individual pieces, Kumudini provided us a fulfilling fare.

Omkar Gulvady on the tabla and Baban Manjrekar on the harmonium lent superb instrumental support to the young artiste with great insight and understanding, as is always the case with their accompaniment.


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