Taking the concept of musical jugalbandi a step further, eminent musicians from Hindustani and Carnatic music were engaged in a dialogue about the two branches of Indian classical music. The event, titled Uttar Dakshin, was in its second year and was the result of a collaboration between the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
Hindustani classical musician Arvind Parikh and Carnatic musician K Ganesh Kumar moderated the interactions and demonstrations. The event included Hindustani musicians such as Ajoy Chakrabarty (vocal), Buddhadev Dasgupta (sarod), and Bickram Ghosh (tabla) as well as Carnatic musicians including TV Gopalkrishnan (vocal and mridangam), N Ravikiran (vocal and chitravina) and GJR Krishnan (violin).
The topics that were covered at the session included the differences in approach to Raga and Tala, distinct traditions and concepts, unique characteristics, styles and forms, poetry and song repertoires, intonation and instrumentation.
Spot the difference
Speaking about the event, Kumar, who moderated and represented Carnatic musicians, says, “It was a unique opportunity to understand diverse perspectives related to Classical music. There are certain differences between the two branches of music with respect to the harmony of notes and rendering of the Ragas. For example, in Hindustani music it takes three hours to unfold three Ragas but in fast-paced Carnatic music, it would take about 15 minutes per Raga. Similarly, Carnatic music has an extensive range of instrumentation such as Khanjira, Ghatam, Mridangam, etc, as compared to Hindustani music.”
Kumar believes this will help Hindustani audiences understand the nuances of the other branch and vice versa, which will help overall appreciation of music. “This was an analytical approach to music and we had audiences of all age groups, including students, who attended the event and participated in the discussions,” adds Kumar, who is also the President of the Fine Arts Society, Chembur.
The session covered vocals, melody and percussion aspects of Hindustani and Carnatic streams of music. As moderators, Kumar and Parikh have been meeting every month to brainstorm about the discussion and exchanging notes.