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The distinctive feature of the India International Centre's annual festival, The IIC Experience, is the range it presents in music, dance, theatre, films, exhibitions of books, art and sculpture, et al.

The musical fare offered a sumptuous variety from a jazz concert and Flamenco on the piano to Hindustani vocal, instrumental and Carnatic music concerts.

Madhup Mudgal is an unusual student of the maverick Kumar Gandharva. You would not expect the student of such a master to be anything other than a classical singer. Or can we actually do given Kumar Gandharva's unconventional genius? Whatever the case, Madhup is a classical singer receptive to music also from very different genres — he has done classical singing for the Brazilian samba dance, plays the bass and guitar, conducts choirs and loves qawwalis. All this when the great Kumar Gandharva was still around.

The morning concert of Hindustani music by Madhup Mudgal this past Saturday was specially conceived for morning ragas, which are normally not rendered in the routine evening programmes of music. The sprawling fountain lawns echoed with the serenity of Madhup's meditative Bilaskhani Todi with which he opened his concert.

The tuneful ambiance was created by the accurately tuned tanpuras played by three of his able students in the background. The introductory alapchari was a pencil sketch of the raga, which got detailed treatment in the following bara khayal, a famous bandish (composition) of Sadarang, "Neeke bol" set to slow Teen tala, like a painter putting various shades of colour by his deft brush strokes.

The subsequent chhota khayal "Neeke neeke shobha dekhat" was chosen thoughtfully to match the lyrics of the slow khayal. The lilting gate of the composition had a playful quality in the hide-and-seek of bols and laya around the sam. The main raga concluded with a captivating tarana set to drut Ek tala that had the unmistakable signature of Kumar Gandharva.