Every season inspires music, and the rains bring their own unique inspiration. This week, take a splash into the Megh Malhar Indian classical music festival, with monsoon ragas, which pays a tribute to great masters like Mian Tansen who composed and sang these monsoon ragas to initiate the rains in parched parts of India.
It was believed that singing in specific notes with certain phrases, in plea to the monsoon gods, encouraged the clouds to darken for the much-awaited downpour of rain. Till today, these monsoon ragas are sung in North India.
Since 1991, the Megh Malhar Festival has been the centre of Indian classic music in Mumbai. It seeks to reiterate the importance of this genre of music. For its 21st edition, six artistes will perform ragas, one of the lyrical modes of Indian classical music. Since its initiation, 210 artistes have performed in this annual monsoon festival.
The festival will be held over three days at the Nehru Centre Auditorium and two artistes will perform every day. The artistes performing are Shrinivas Joshi (vocal), Padma Talwalkar (vocal), Meeta Pandit (vocal), Kalapini Komkali (vocal), Shri Rahul Sharma (Santoor) and Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar.
On Tuesday, Joshi, a 44 year-old vocalist from Pune, will perform for the first time at the Megh Malhar Festival. “I will sing Mian Ki Malhar accompanied by a tabla and a harmonium. I am looking forward to opening the festival that promotes Indian classical music,” he says.
Meanwhile, 48 year-old Ankalikar-Tikekar performed in the first edition of the festival back in 1991. “I have also attended this festival as a listener, and the response of the audience was heartening,” says the Pune resident. She will perform Mian Malhar, Ramdas Malhar, Anand Malhar and Des Malhar. She will also sing in the Taal Mala style, which is another form of raga.