There’s a very vibrant and long tradition of Vaari (वारी) in Maharashtra dating back for more than 800 years. Every year palanquins carrying ‘paduka’ (sandals) of saints are taken with this pilgrimage to reach Pandharpur on occasion of Ashadhi Ekadashi (Eleventh lunar day of the bright fortnight the month of Ashadh). It’s a great procession which goes on for 15 days on foot from Dehu, Alandi and other places to Pandharpur. Lakhs and lakhs of Vasrkaris take part in this procession singing various abhangs, devotional songs of Lord Viththal written by Saints.
This tradition of singing abhang in procession is taken to a next level and widened its reach to the general public of Maharashtra and other places in the country by various singers and composers. However, one name comes on top of this list. Bharatratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi composed a number of abhangs and created a full length program with them. Pandit Kumar Gandharva’s program on Sant Tukaram, Kishoritai Amonkar, Chota Gandharva, Master Krishnarao and many other musicians also composed many Abhangs and performed regularly on stage. Many marathi movies featured some of them as film songs.
Abhangs which are very close to my heart
Every composition by these legends is phenomenal and worth listening to again and again. Words written by these saints appear to be so simple and easy to understand, however, if you keep listening to them again and again, someday, you may feel some eureka moments. Today, I am listing some of my favorite Abhangs here for you to enjoy the eternal bliss.
Laxmi Vallabha – Pandit Kumar Gandharva
Pandit Kumar Gandharva composed a bunch of abhangs written by Sant Tukaram to the new tunes. Sadly the program flopped as people didn’t accept the new tunes. However, this one particular tune stuck behind and is sung by many of his disciples and musicians influenced by Kumarji’s style and music.
Avgha Rang Ek Zala – Kishoritai Amonkar
Gaanasaraswati Koshori Amonkar is a legendary classical vocalist of Jaipur Gharana. She has composed a few abhangs, some Meerabai’s bhajans and performed them in her concerts. This particular abhang is written by Sant Soyarabai who was a disciple of her husband Sant Chokhamela.
Haribhajanaveen Kaal – Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki
Every Goan music enthusiast is proud of Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki who was accomplished classical vocalist and composer. During his time, he composed many bhajans, abhang, thumari, natyasangeet etc. Haribhajanaveed kaal is abhang written by Sant Sohirobanath of Goa in which he describes importance of self realization
Dnyaniyancha Raja – Pt. Bhimsen Joshi
Bharatratna Pt. Bhimsen Joshi created a flagship musical program and took these wisdom gems written by our saints to every nook and corner around the country. I am choosing this next one form his compositions. Dnyaniyancha Raja is written by Sant Tukaram in honor of Sant Dnyandev.
Carnatic classical vocalists also sing these abhangs with equal devotion and mastery. Padma Shri Aruna Sairam, vocalist duo Ranjani – Gayatrhi are just a couple of names who frequently sing these masterpieces. Hope you will enjoy these renditions full with devotion and dedication.
This post is a part of the Blogchatter Half Marathon. Read my earlier story here.
6 thoughts on “Abhangwani – Vibrant Corner of Every Marathi Heart”
Informative post! I did not know anything about this.
Hope you enjoy the renditions too
I enjoyed witnessing the Wari tradition during my years of residence in Pune. Abhangs are vibrant and soulful. It’s during my stay in Pune that I started listening to renditions of Pt.Bhimsen Joshi but as a South Indian, my introduction to abhangs were from abhang recitals of Carnatic vocalist Smt. Aruna Sairam.
Great write-up. And lovely recommendations. Thank you 🙂
Definitely, Aruna ji has done a great great job introducing South Indian people to these gems.