20 July 2014 was a pleasant, cloudy Sunday morning at the beautiful Sailing Club. What better could one do than to listen to the music of Kalapini Komkali, daughter of the great Kumar Gandharva? I have always regretted not having heard Kumar Gandharva, so it was a wish being fulfilled when I heard his accomplished daughter. Her powerful voice enveloped the packed hall and enthralled the audience.
The raagas she sang included Bilaskhani Todi, Bhatiyar and Sur Malhar. She also sang the Kabir Bhajan Naiharwa, and ended with the soulful nirguni bhajan Guruji main toh ek niranjan. She was very happy that it was a morning concert and that she could sing morning raagas that she hadn't sung in a long time because most of the concerts were in the evening.
Malini Rajurkar and her husband Vasantrao Rajurkar had were there too, in the audience, and it was wonderful to see the two great singers together.
The background to this concert is also a touching story. This concert was organised by Hyderabad's Bararia family. They are business people, deeply interested in Hindustani classical music, literature and the arts. Apparently they used to have annual concerts during the seventies and eighties, with stalwarts like Jitendra Abhisheki, Kumar Gandharva, Hariprasad Chaurasia, etc performing, but suddenly within a span of two years around 1985-86, they lost two generations of their family. Shattered, they stopped hosting concerts as it took them time to pick up their lives and move on after the tragedy that struck their family.
They have aptly titled this series, "In continuum", and Kalapini Komkali was their first choice. As they say in their writeup, "She bridges for us a musical and personal abyss left open since the passing away of Kumarji. She had come to Hyderabad as a young girl along with Kumarji and Vasundharaji, when he came to perform at our concert in 1980. Now she is here as a worthy torchbearer of her father's art and a fine vocalist in her own right. This is a wonderful moment for both Kalapini and us, as many strands of time and memory converge here after all these years. We host her with much nostalgia and a lot of pride"
The nostalgia trip took an extra hour, but no one minded. Here's wishing the Bararia family the very best. I eagerly look forward to the next concert.