Ustad Karamatullah Khan

Ustad Karamatullah was one of the greatest players of the Farukhabad gharana in recorded history.  I searched for a biography of his online, but came up with none except for a small snipet of his father, Ustad Masit Khan, who was known as an early popularizer of the Faroukhabad gharana in West Bengal:

“The late Ustad Masit Khan, was the unparallel tabla maestro of his time and practically performed with all the top musicians, such as Ustad Fayyaz Khan Sahab, Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, Ustad Enayat Hussain Khan, and Ustad Wazir Khan, to name a few.

Ustad Masit Khan was primarily responsible for popularizing the style of “Farukkabad Gharana” in West Bengal through his disciples, like the late Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, the late Rai Chand Boral, the late Montu Bannerjee, the late Kanai Dutta, and  his son, the late Ustad Karamatullah Khan, who himself has given a new dimension of accompaniment, with Vocal, Instrument and Dance, and of course in Solo style of playing for which the musicians and the music lovers of the country will remember him for ever and ever. He was also given an award by the Sangeet Natak Academy.” (http://worldmusiccentral.org/artists/artist_page.php?id=1885)

This recording on youtube is in teental (16 beats).  After Khan Saheb’s opening composition, he plays a chellan with a folk-like lilt to it that I have heard my guruji, Abhiman Kaushal, render before.  It has a swing to it that is almost in between chatusra (4’s) and tisra (3’s).  It is a treat to hear it here!  Ustadiji follows it with a rela in tisra jati (3’s).  Another unique rela follows, using dhera dhera.  And Khan Saheb concludes here with yet another rare composition!

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Peshkar

A beautiful rendering of the Farukhabad peshkar by Amod Dandage. I absolutely love the the aesthetic of Amod Ji’s peshkar, and this peshkar embodies some if Faroukhbad’s essential character.  The word peshkar comes from the Hindi/Urdu verb, peshkar karna, which means ‘to present.’

Amod Dandage (Farukhabad Gharana) playing here Peshkar in Teentaal. Amod Dandage is a disciple of Us. Mamhulal Sangaokar, Pt. Omkar Gulwadi & he has been training under the able guidance of Pt. Arvind Mulgaonkar for the last 15 years.

“Peshkar has a number of interesting characteristics. It often uses interesting counter-rhythms (layakari) and has a fully developed process of theme and variation. If the process of theme and variation follows the rules of kaida then it is called kaida-peshkar. Often substitution processes are used which, although logical, violate basic rules of kaida. In such cases it is simply referred to as peshkar.” -David Courtney (from http://chandrakantha.com/tablasite/articles/cyclic2.htm)

To add to Courtney’s description, there are a number of different approaches to peshkar stemming from one’s gharana.  For example, Faroukhabad’s peshkar always expands from a set pattern of bols (tabla sounds) that is distinct from say, the Panjab gharana.  All gharanas too, have their own aesthetic approach to expansions and variation.  Furthermore, within this aesthetic there are individual nuances and additions that give peshkar its amazing depth and scope.

Within the Benares gharana however, the popular composition known as ‘Benares peshkar’ is treated more like a kaida.