Geet Varsha, by Kumar Gandharva, is a presentation of monsoon songs selected from both the folk and the classical repertoires. A theme concert, one of its kind, the presentation is so artistically seamless that the lay listener may fail to realise where the stylistic lines are drawn. Recorded in Delhi in 1978, this twin album of two hour duration has Kumar Gandharva’s wife Vasundhara Komkali accompanying him. Kumar Gandharva may have stood many a traditional norm on its head but none in his time could match his aural aesthetic. And his orchestration of voices here is absolutely enchanting. These recordings are very rare and not easily available.
The album opens with a song, Ghaam Pare Re, lamenting the heat of the summer in the afternoon Raga Marwa. Marwa is a raga which employs an imperfect consonance and Kumar Gandharva has used it to convey the oppressive heat and restlessness of the time just before the monsoons break. Then slowly he draws the listener into a layered landscape of gathering clouds, the first torrent of rain, the flashes of lightening, the yearning of the Nayika (heroine), the birth of Krishna on a dark rainy night. Apart from traditional rainy-season Ragas like the Miyan ki Mallar, Gaur Malhar, Sawani and Des, he also makes effective use of folk melodies from Malwa. The concluding piece, Heera Moti Neebaje in Raga Jaladhar Basant, evokes the silent moment after days of heavy rain, when one contemplates the fields around and realizes that they have turned green with vegetation, the earth giving forth its bounty after its thirst has been satisfied.