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Maestros of Jugalbandi
 

The tradition of Jugalbandi in the Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music is an age old one, where two skilled musicians, perform together. This duet could be instrumental or vocal.

Partnership in vocal or instrumental music has been in vogue since the day of Dhrupad. Khayal is usually sung as a solo, but there have also been numerous cases of male duo singers, usually family members who learned music together. Even when two soloists perform together, they divide the improvisation between them so that there is still only one vocal part. Their music making is co-operative, not competitive and it takes considerable skill and intimacy to create a performance to which each contributes equally. What defines Jugalbandi is that the two soloists be on an equal footing. While any Indian music performance may feature two musicians, whether vocalists or instrumentalists, a performance can only be deemed a Jugalbandi if neither is clearly the soloist and neither clearly an accompanist. In Jugalbandi, both musicians act as lead players, and a playful competition often ensues between the two performers.

It is common knowledge that the popularity of Jugalbandi concerts owes much to virtuosos Pandit Ravi Shankar and the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Indian concert stages, which had been dominated by only soloists, assumed a new dimension around the sixties when the great musical pairs started playing Jugalbandi. However, this form was very much in existence in the decades preceding the sixties, though perhaps not as popular, thanks to Dhrupad maestros like the Senior Dagar Brothers.

 

Latafat Hussain Khan and Vijay Kumar Kichlu

Latafat Hussain Khan and Vijay Kumar KichluUstad Latafat Hussain Khan belonged to the tradition of Khandani musicians, who held aloft and carried forward the torch of musical learning and excellence. Both as a performer and as teacher he had the unmistakable mark of a gharanadar musician. Deeply religious, self effacing and unassuming by nature, he was always willing to give – qualities that were very clearly reflected in his music and in his approach to the performance and teaching of music

Born on December 12, 1920, Latafat Hussain Khan was the youngest son of Altaf Hussain Khan of the Agra gharana.He was initiated into the rigours of music by Tasadduq Hussain Khan. Then followed an extended training period under his eldest brother Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan in Bombay. Sometime in the early forties, he went to Baroda to stay with his uncle, Ustad Faiyyaz Khan and receive rigorous taleem. He also took advanced taleem from his gharana elder, Vilayet Hussain Khan.

Latafat was musically a successor to Ustad Faiyyaz Khan. He was particularly known for his powerful voice, his crisp nom-tom alaps, and his effervescent delivery. With his masculine voice, dhrupad based alap, he was in the mainstream of the Agra gharana. In voice production, he was close to Ustad Faiyyaz Khan – a deep penetrating voice with tremendous control on swar and shrutis, a voice that deliberately created broken nuances while singing the "rangila” phrases made famous by his Ustad. His alap was rich and his raga portrayal was sublime. Latafat Khan composed hundreds of bandishes under the pen name of "Premdas". Like most exponents of the Agra style, Latafat Khan was a scholar musician, ever true to the ancient tenets of classicism and very concerned with what was "correct" and "pure" and very disdainful of compromises made all too often by younger musicians who sometimes sacrificed authenticity for easy popularity. At the same time, like many others of his famed gharana, he gave great importance to the entertainment value of classical music. This was achieved by the judicious use of "layakari", the choice of colourful bandishes and the clever utilization of taans.

Latafat Hussain died in Kolkata on December 11, 1986.

Pandit Vijay Kumar Kichlu, a Master of Arts from the University of Allahabad, is a unique combination of executive ability and artistry. After an impressive career as a mercantile executive, Vijay Kichlu joined ITC Sangeet Research Academy at its very inception in 1977 as its Executive Director. Totally committed to classical music, its propagation and preservation, he remained at the helm of this unique Academy till March 2001.

His initial training in the music commenced at the tender age of seven with Pandit Nathuram Sharma. Later he was greatly influenced by the ‘gayakee’ of Ustad Faiyyaz Khan, the colossus of the Agra gharana. While in college at Varanasi, he had the good fortune of becoming the disciple of Ustad Moinuddin Dagar and Ustad Aminuddin Dagar, popularly known as “Dagar Brothers”. Later he took guidance from the late Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan of the Agra gharana. He follows the Agra gayakee, his forte lying in ‘alaapchari’ in the traditional Dhrupad style compositions in the ‘madhya laya’ and ‘boltans’ true to the character of the gharana gayakee.


Raga Name Duration (Min.) Audio Clip Add to myMusic
Puriya 23.52
Suha-Sughrai 4.07

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