An ode to the many ‘roop’ of the goddess

Ambika Shaligram
Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Lalit Kala Kendra Gurukul presents ‘Shakti’, a concert celebrating the facets of goddess Durga in Indian musical tradition. Guru Ruchira Kedar shares the details

Many elements of music and dance can be comprehended and experienced better with performance. With this as her driving thought, Hindustani classical vocalist and a Guru at Lalit Kala Kendra, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Ruchira Kedar conceptualised ‘Shakti’ concert with her BA and MA students. 

It brings together 25 artists from different schools of Indian music and dance and would feature various genres of Indian music like khayal, saadra, chaturang, tarana, devi paran, kavit etc dedicated to the many avatars of goddess Durga. Thirteen musicians (vocal, percussions, harmonium, flute and violin), 12 dancers (Kathak, Bharatnatyam) will be participating in the programme. 

Earlier this year, Kedar had conceptualised the production ‘Udat Abir’, a concert showcasing Holi through Indian classical, semi-classical and folk music genres. Says she, “I know that there is no alternative to performance for a performing artist as the stage becomes a laboratory to test, analyse and realise the knowledge gained from one’s Guru. Hence ample opportunities to perform, provide an apt platform for an artist to refine and enhance his/her skills as a performer. So both ‘Shakti’ concert and ‘Udat Abir’ have been designed with this purpose. As someone who has been fortunate to learn music in the Gurukul tradition and believes in the same tradition of teaching, I think holding such concerts would be the amalgamation of formal education via degree courses and embracing the Indian gurukul tradition for learning music and dance. This could go on to become the USP of the Kendra.”

Talking about ‘Shakti’, Kedar says goddess Durga is the deity of music and dance in her avatar as Saraswati. The goddess is also a strong influence in bringing out the many rasas of music like Raudra, Veer, Shanta, Vatsalya etc which gives an artist a big canvas to work on.

“We have tried to include compositions with varied text which illustrates the many avatars like Jagdamba, Durga, Kalika, Saraswati etc. Secondly, the presentation of these compositions has been conceived in a way that it will bring out the roop of that particular avatar. For example the Jagdamba composition would have purely vocals and Jagdamba Paran on Pakhawaj as it is a stuti-composition. The Saraswati roop will be brought out by female vocals and Bharatnatyam dancers where the elaboration will be more gentle, shringar yukta etc. All the compositions have been designed absolutely different from each other, keeping in mind the roop of devi in that particular composition. At the end of the concert, we have a tarana in Bhairavi in which the text of the antara pleads to the goddess to give us, the travellers on the path of music, the inspiration, so that we can always serve music to the best of our abilities. Incidentally, the number of items in the entire concert is nine, in reference to Navaratri,” explains Kedar.

Kedar also discussed about the various roops of devi and their significance during the rehearsals. This helped the students understand the ‘bhava’ behind the compositions and interpret and present that accordingly. 

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‘Shakti’ concert would be presented on Saturday, September 23, from 5.30 to 8 pm at Sant Namdev Auditorium, Savitribai Phule Pune University. It is open to all.

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