The art of listening

For music enthusiasts, Sunday became more than perfect with a session on thumri, chaiti, jhoola and similar styles of classical singing.

There are many ways to spend a Sunday morning from a lazy breakfast to a cup of coffee with the weekend papers. But this bunch of music enthusiasts came together at 10 am at Open Space, off Law College road to learn how to appreciate Hindustani classical music.

The third session of the guided-listening programme organised by Open Space was focused on thumris. After an uphill climb inside the Kanchan Galli to Open Space, we were pleasantly surprised to see the crowd already poised for the upcoming musical joys. "The thumri is romantic in nature, and revolves around a girl's love. It is characterised by its sensuality and greater flexibility with the raga," explained 34-year-old Lele, sitting perched on a swiveling chair with a laptop propped up on his lap. He played a sample on his laptop which was connected to a set of speakers and the audience listened to the music, fascinated.

Lele played a 18-minute solo dadra by Padmavati Shaligram, the veteran master's voice came crisp clear, even through the ancient recording. After the song ended, Lele waited for the applause to die down. "You see what happened here? She used only two lines in the entire song repeated over and over again. This is the specialty of this music form," he explained.

As the session progressed, Lele also talked about other forms of classical compositions. Chaiti, sawan, jhoola, kajari and hori Lele followed the same pattern of describing the music, sharing information about the artiste, the specialty of the form and the apt traditional way in which it was sung. Over the course of two hours, the small area was crowded with more than 35 music enthusiasts lost in the masters' magic.

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