Hridaynath Mangeshkar in Concert

I was unbelievably lucky to have landed in a concert by Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar at Pune. The eighty-something young man was full of energy, and laced his singing with anecdotes of great poets in Marathi. Arati Prabhu (Khanolkar's pen-name), Suresh Bhat, Shanta Shelke and Grace (pen name used by Manik Godghate, a Nagpur-based poet) were foremost among those he mentioned, who wrote poetry which he then tried (successfuly) to put a tune to.

Kesariya Balam (Padhro mharo des) and Yara Sili Sili were Rajasthani tunes which he picked up from Udaipur while dining on the Maharaja's lawn and listening to folk singers perform. The standout songs for me were the Marathi songs Majhya saranga, raja saranga, Poortata majhya vyathechi, Kevhatari pahate, and Bhaya ithale sampat nahi,.though almost every song that he sang was worth its weight in gold. He did not sing some of his famous fishermen's songs, except one. He explained how he brought in a chorus to bring in the choir effect in one song, and in another, how he requested the HMV boss Dubey to give him a huge orchestra, rare in his recordings-we are talking gramophone records, of course.

He also narrated how Mahendra Kapoor sang a song he had composed after working hard on his Marathi. He also explained carefully the meaning of almost each song, and particularly those composed by Sant Dyaneshwar, a saint poet. That made the song sweeter when it followed.

Now, some management and leadership lessons. He declared at the beginning that farmaishes (song requests) were welcome orally; he fulfilled many, and was inspired by audience participation. He was also careful to motivate the two young ladies and two men who accompanied him in vocals or on the instruments. He gave each a playing time, but also proved his own mastery by doing some difficult songs. He also took off on the present generation for not remembering lyrics, and for going to concerts to see the songs (the performance) rather than to listen to them.

One other thing that struck me was there were no frills like most other programs, like felicitations, or speeches. Just singing, straight for 3 hours.

Truly great experience, and the audience (of which I was just one) loved it. 

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