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Tabla : Gurudas Borkar
Harmonium : Vasant Gurav
Raag Lalita Gauri, Jait Kalyan, Bhoop Nat and Bageshri Bahar
Tabla : Devdutt Prabhu
Harmonium : Ullal Raghuveer Rao
Raag Jaijaiwanti and Sampurna Malkauns
Tabla : Dattopant Aitawadekar
Harmonium : Rajabhau Patwardhan
Copyrights in sound recordings rest with the performers.
Copyright in this production and publishing 2006 Underscore Records Pvt. Ltd.
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The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were years of tremendous social and political upheaval in India. Artistes and culture activists worked incessantly in response to changing times. Not surprisingly, therefore, performing arts saw a wide-ranging transformation in content and presentation. Indian art music experienced one of its most significant shifts – one that was so essential to what is now considered the norm in terms of performance space and context. This was the transition made from chamber concerts held in the homes of the Indian feudal and urban aristocracy to the modern public concert platform. Musicians showed remarkable resilience and adaptability, despite the several social and musical challenges that marked this changeover.
The city of Bombay or Mumbai had been a trendsetter in this development since the late nineteenth century and by the third decade of the twentieth century the city witnessed the emergence of several music circles that held public concerts at regular intervals by subscription. The opening up of the performance space and context was accompanied by efforts made to propagate music education outside hereditary musician and songstress families, both of which had far-reaching consequences. It went a long way in replacing the circumspection and contempt with which the Indian elite that was influenced by Victorian mores, viewed musicians and the practice of music. The new and more flexible approach also encouraged amateur musicians to perform in public, a prerogative which had until then remained with members of hereditary musician and songstress families.
The deep-seated scornful attitude towards professional women performers among some members of the Indian elite had also prompted the latter to place restrictions on music education and performance for women from their own families. The situation changed after 1919-1920 and this was due as much to the larger social and political reality as to the changes in the musical sphere. The earlier circumscribed public life of elite women was giving way to a more open involvement in action-programmes that formed part of the mass-based national movement for independence in this period. Music schools were also simultaneously encouraging music education among women. Thus, it was not long before women from elite families began taking regular music lessons. In some households, music was considered a worthy qualification for a woman of marriageable age, thus making music education a social grace. And yet, the appearance of amateur women performers on the public concert platform remained a distant reality.
The impact of the Second World War, political independence and the accompanying nation-building activity post-1947 proved the imperativeness of women’s role in public life. The larger picture must surely have influenced music-lovers and soon, some amateur women performers took to the public concert platform. While their performances were few and far between, many of them continued to make sincere and dedicated efforts to learn and absorb musical knowledge from some of the best known professional musicians of the time. It was not the desire to perform but their love for music that propelled them towards a serious pursuit of music. They were predecessors to the present generation of those women performers who do not belong to hereditary musician or songstress families and yet have chosen music as a profession. The successful careers of contemporary non-hereditary professional women performers cannot be seen in isolation as it has its history in the contribution of amateur women performers of yesteryears. The latter imbibed the music, preserved it in their homes and often passed it down to the next generation. Some of them, while not taking to performing professionally, were active as teachers.
Kausalya Manjeshwar, senior disciple of the respected Jaipur-Atrauli gharana vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar, belongs to this section of amateur women performers who learnt music for the sheer love of the art. Despite her initial reticence, Underscore Records Pvt. Ltd. feels privileged to have been able to convince Kausalya Manjeshwar to share her music with listeners through this album. Her contribution to Indian music is doubly significant, as she played a key role in helping change audition regulations for All India Radio in the 1950s and laying down a policy that was more acceptable to musicians. Unfortunately, most musicians do not know the intense struggle that was involved in procuring this change and Underscore Records wishes to acknowledge through this release its respect for the rare qualities of fortitude and leadership displayed by Kausalya Manjeshwar in this struggle.
The information mentioned above forms part of the notes included in this album. Liner notes for the album have been written by Aneesh Pradhan.
Underscore Records Pvt. Ltd. wishes to express its gratitude to:
Kausalya Manjeshwar for having allowed us to release her recordings.
Musicians providing harmonium and tabla accompaniment on these recordings.
Dinkar Manjeshwar for making available recordings in his possession. He was equally helpful in providing photographic material for the booklet.
Audio Track listing:
|Raag Marwa - Vilambit in Jhumra and drut in Teentaal||35:25|
|Raag Lalita Gauri - Vilambit in Teentaal and drut in Addha taal||41:3|
|Raag Jait Kalyan - Vilambit and tarana in Teentaal||30|
|Raag Bhoop-Nat - Vilambit in Teentaal and drut in Addha taal||35|
|Raag Bageshri Bahar - Vilambit in Teentaal||22:35|
|Raag Jaijaiwanti - Vilambit in Jhaptaal and drut in Teentaal||35|
|Raag Sampurna Malkauns - Vilambit in Teentaal and drut in Addha taal||35|