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Melodies that invoke fragrances of yore

It is the season of roses in the Capital. As acclaimed vocalist Vidushi Sunanda Sharma of the Benares Gharana puts it, “Delhi is one of the few places, where all the seasons are felt, particularly that of spring, as it is fleeting”.

Roses and spring is the theme of the concert, Purab Ang Gayaki, Sharma will be performing at today. The theme “Gulaab Badi”, or the Garden of Roses is based on a very old tradition, that takes place in Chaitra, or April, in Benares.

This was when people held celebrations of the flowering of roses, in their gardens, and invited people to hear performers sing and dance to the genres of ‘Thumri’, ‘Holi’, and ‘Chaiti’.

They would also decorate the venues with roses. The women wore pink, while the men wore white. These traditions will be again evident in the concert at the Ashoka Hotel tonight.

The concert has been organised under the Parangar Prayag Kala Kendra trust. Says Neelakshi Rai, a member of the trust, “This is the second edition of the concert, and it had been initiated to revive old traditions such as that of the Gulaab Badi. The tradition was to hear people sing in gardens wearing roses and rose colours, and have paan, and ittra fragrance handed out to them. The whole idea was to welcome spring.”

Rai, an accomplished, dancer will also be giving a kathak recital at the amphi-theatre, 6.30 pm onwards. The gayaki is meant for this season. As Sharma, who will also sing the old songs of Chaitri, says, “For this season, the raag basant, and the raag bahaar are sung, so I will sing a khayal on raag basant, and a composition on raag bahaar.”

Sharma goes on to add, “This is the period just after Holi, so songs of Holi are heard, and Radha and Krishna playing Holi are sung during this time.”

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