Flowing music, lingering melodies
Late Pandit Vivekananda Bhattacharya is a name that hardly needs an introduction in Assam. A table maestro belonging to the Lucknow gharana, he had earned laurels in his lifetime as a singer, composer and music director of Assam. Late Bhattacharya’s musical genius has been carried forth by his daughter Ragini Chakravarty, a Hindustani classical vocalist of the Kirana Gharana. Based in Mumbai, Ragini has been enthralling music lovers all over the country with her soulful voice for quite some time now.
A disciple of Padmabhshan Dr Prabha Atre, Ragini belongs to the new generation of Hindustani classical vocalist of the Kirana gharana. Gifted with a mellifluous voice and enriched with a refreshingly feminine style of singing, Ragini has adapted perfectly to the Kirana Gayaki which puts emphasis on melody and sweet intonation of words. Her singing takes one slowly and steadily into the beautiful inner world of a particular raga with elaborate meditative alaap and lilting sargams and them climaxing with intricate tans and fast compositions. “For me, music is like an endless stream with numerous twists, turns, turbulences and variations but always flowing and never stopping on its track,” says the artiste.
Trained in the gurukul tradition, Raginin has graduated in music from Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidyapith, Lucknow. Her formal training in music started under the tutelage of late BK Phukan. Performing in stages all over the country, Ragini has also been a regular performer of Doordarshan and All India Radio in different forms of vocal music. Thanks to the adaptability of her voice, she has excelled in the lighter forms of music too, including bhajans, folk songs, modern songs and also ad jingles.
Though based in Mumbai, Ragini has ensured that she keeps her touch with her State intact. She regularly organizes musical workshops and seminars in various nooks and crannies of the State at regular intervals. Through her organization Shrutinaad, she has been focusing on preservation and propagation of the immortal songs of Bauli Kavi Kamalananda Bhattacharyya and the musical contribution of Sangeet Jyoti Bibekananda Bhattacharyya. Since 2009, she has been organizing our classical music show ‘Prashanti’ in fond memory of Sangeet Jyoti Bibekananda Bhattacharyya and an All Assam Kamalananda Songs Competition annually in Guwahati. Very recently last month, the artiste organized three musical workshops in Guwahati and Nagaon.
Another important aspect of Ragini’s work is her attempt towards the fusion of Indian classical ragas with the folk music of the various communities of the Northeast. One of her initiatives in this regard include performances in Mumbai for Kalabharata – the arts circle of the Karnataka sangha. Says Ragini, “Unlike other morning recitals, this programme of mine has a theme. It shows the journey of the melody from folk to the classical form. Folk songs are sungs in various occasions. They are functional in nature. My attempt is to juxtapose them with the classical tradition.”
The artiste displays a great command over the accents of different genres. Though hailing from Assam, she is equally at ease with folk music and other genres and has blended beautifully into the national music circuit. Her voice and presentation whenever she does a seemingly effortless rendition of a raag in slow-tempo khayal always has the requisite degree of maturity and smoothness.
She has released two music albums till date.