The allure of Agra gayaki
Exponents of the Agra gharana are few compared to other ‘gayakis’. In his 50s, Jainul has never been active in the music circuit, despite his talent. Beginning his concert with raag Megh Malhar, Jainul essayed an impressive 30-minute alap in dhrupad style, he soon reached the rishab in the lower octave, exhibiting his riyaaz. When asked about it, he recounted his guru Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan’s advice: apni awaaz mein gaao, nakal matt karo.
Jainul’s alap was a true delight — an authentic dhrupad style ‘nom tom’ alap. The madhya laya jhaptal bandish ‘Garaj ghataa ghan’ was said to have been composed by Sadarang, (aka) Niamat Khan (the profusion of extant vocal compositions attributed to him makes one wonder if he was primarily a ‘beenkar’ and, not a vocalist). Showing his mastery over raags, Jainul next rendered a Malhar and a Surdasi Malhar. His full and complete singing of the extended ‘antara’ was laudable; many modern exponents forsake this.
The doyen of Agra gharana Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan is believed to have said, har bandish ka ek alag mijaaz hai (every bandish has a character of its own ), and Jainul demonstrated this perfectly. Talking about his association with Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan, Jainul recalled he was seven when he first heard the maestro sing in Kolkata, and wanted to learn from him.
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