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Sampoorna Geetagovinda

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Sampoorna Geetagovinda presents the complete and unabridged version of Jayadeva’s immortal creation. This is a major musical composition presenting the entire Geetagovinda —all the stanzas of each of its twenty-four songs, typically consisting of eight padas and hence called Ashtapadis, and all the seventy-two slokas—a unique and first ever offering. A group of scholars led by

Dr Subas Pani, well-known scholar of Jayadeva and Geetagovinda, has finalised the authentic text of this musical epic after extensive research referring to several original tika or commentaries. The composition maintains complete fidelity to the authentic text of this lyrical epic and to its true spirit of deep devotion enshrining the supremacy of simple surrender to the divine. The composition is inspired by and steeped in the heritage of Orissa and especially the regional musical traditions prevailing around the great temple of Lord Jagannatha at Puri as well as the style and nuances of Odissi music and dance. It attempts to retain the purity of classical frame with a pan-Indian appeal. Yet at the same time the music is quite contemporary, with a refreshingly new flavour and the composer’s own style evident in its gayaki or approach to rendition. Geetagovinda was originally composed for singing and being rendered in dance. Meeting the twin objectives—simultaneously being suitable for singing and dance—has been the constant backdrop for this major musical project. The style adopted is ideally suited for both singers and dancers for their performances.

The composition places greater emphasis on the mood of the songs rather than virtuosity of rhythmic innovations or ornamentation of vocal rendering. It is thus bhavapradhana and rasa pradhana. The twenty-four songs and seventy-two slokas present many challenges in finding appropriate rhythmic patterns and vocal renderings so as to not compromise the bhava or feelings, Rasa or sentiment and madhurya or nectarine sweetness—these being the hallmarks of Jayadeva’s composition. The music for the songs and slokas, especially the rhythmic cycles, can be easily adapted for dance in all major Indian classical dance forms, particularly Odissi dance. A variety of ragas and the more popular talas of Odissi dance have been utilised in most songs of the new composition within the framework of pan-Indian traditions of light classical music. An essential simplicity characterises the entire composition. The new composition also attempts to faithfully render the text with the right intonation and correct pronunciation of the Sanskrit original and attempts to follow prescribed cannons of chhanda shastra. Most songs of Geetagovinda are in the nature of dialogues—between Sakhi and Radha, Sakhi and Krishna and Radha, or between the Sutradhara and the audience. An attempt have been made to convey the conversational character of the songs and slokas through subtle variations of emphasis, use of pause at appropriate points and other musical innovations. The vocal renderings have also been enriched with simple and elegant interludes and accompanying music. For this, traditional instruments like the Veena, Venu, Mardala and Manjeera accompany the singers in keeping with the rituals of the Puri temple where separate sevas like madali seva and binaakaara seva exist for such musical offerivngs.

Sampoorna Geetagovinda presents the total musical experience of Geetagovinda in a set of five audio CDs comprising all the twenty-four songs in their entirety and all its seventy-two slokas, with connecting and interlude music. It includes a short chanting of Om and mangaladhvani, playing of sankha (conch), and ghanta vadya, playing of gongs in typical style heard during Ratha Yatra, the annual festival of chariots of Lord Jagannatha at Puri.

The first two songs, hymns to Jagannatha–Krishna are presented as duets with the refrains in chorus. A few of the slokas are also presented in this format. All the other songs and slokas are presented as solo items. As indicated earlier, the music has been received rather than contrived —raga names given in the accompanying list of tracks in different volumes are indicative of the dominant mood and movement of the raga reflected in the song as determined by some experts. This is known as chalan or gait among musicians. There may be traces and imprints of other ragas too, though these have not been specifically mentioned.

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