Kishoritai hates fusion, but loves Goa

| 12 February 2002 23:29 IST

Gansaraswati Padmavibhushan Kishori Amonkar has criticised the concept of fusion, calling it an unscientific experiment and injustice to any musical shastra.

In one of her rarest open public interview, which was held this time at the First All India Konkani Sammelan, she opened her mind in a free and frank mood, clarifying several misconceptions surrounding the ‘moody’ singer.

The historic sammelan, held in her motherland, was inaugurated at the hands of Amonkar last weekend in the city of Margao, considered to be the cultural capital of the tourist state. The organisers – Konkani Bhasha Mandal – had named the whole area of the sammelan after her mother and guru, Gantapasvini Mogubai Kurdikar.

Expressing concern over increasing influence of ‘foreign’ music over Indian music, the Indian classical vocalist played tunes against the very basic concept of fusion, calling it unnatural.

"What is it? Neither this nor that?", she asked Adv Uday Bhembre, a Konkani philanthropist interviewing her. "I will not tolerate if somebody tries to Indianise the sweet Christmas Carols. In a similar manner, even Indian music should not be tried and westernised", opined the strong proponent of Indian music.

In fact, Kishoritai (as she is known popularly in her motherland) was literally in a fighting mood at the interview held on the second day of the sammelan, opening up her mind before her fellow Goans, without any malice towards anybody in particular.

She also argued fiercely over calling her ‘rebel genius’, because she has rebelled against what is today considered to be the Indian classical music. "May be I am called the rebel because I don’t follow what the 99 per cents believe in", she admitted.

Her simple argument is that she believes in Vaidic tradition of Indian music and tries to eliminate Moghul as well as British influence over it. "Does it become rebellious if I try to preserve the original Indian music", she asked the audience, amidst applause.

While strongly believing that Indian music is created on the strong footings of rich tradition of versatile folk music, she was equally critical of vulgarising the folk today, like in Maharashtra, by monopolising only the rhythm.

"Folk is the root of Indian music. Imagine what will happen to the trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits of the tree if only the root is allowed to grow", asked Amonkar. She was feeling sorry that the inherent taal of the folk is completely forgotten, killing the basic emotional cord of the rhythm.

The singer, known for touching hearts of the people with her sharp voice, also sounded worried about the increasing trend of projecting their gurus rather than working hard tirelessly towards near perfection.

"Introspection is a must to express your emotions through sur (note in music). In fact when nikhal swar (innocent musical note) is mixed with words, the swar loses its emotional impact", she quipped, while stressing upon consistency in riyaz.

When people do not realise this effort of a sincere singer, she feels that vocalist like Kishori Amonkar are misunderstood for taking very long to start and being moody while singing. She dubs the attitude of starting the programme in time as also part of western influence roped in Indian society.

"I cannot start unless the tanpura gets attuned to the tune of my heart. I sing to eliminate sorrows of people sitting in the audience and give them parmanand (ultimate joy). I am thus not bothered about the time outside but the time within me", she argued, stating that people should excuse the artists for such impatient delays.

Though living in Mumbai, the Goan artist seems to be still under the hypnotised influence of her motherland. "Goa simply does not have the natural visible beauty but beauty of a sentimental and loving minds. My guru developed her music in this land and any Goan could find him/her more competent to develop Indian music further due to this inherent beauty of this land", said the proud Goan.

Just not as a gesture, but due to this born beauty of the land, the musical maestro plans to come back to her motherland and set up a musical institute on the lines of Gurukul, building a temple of Rawalnath – her kuldaivat – in the campus.

The trust she has formed in her mother and guru Mogubai’s name, is expected to finalise it in the first week of March in Mumbai. Responding to her request to donate a piece of land here, chief minister Manohar Parrikar is also planning to attend the meet, paying tributes to Mogubai, who moulded a musical diamond like Kishoritai…

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