Friday, December 17, 2010

From ‘Along the Path of Music’ by Prabha Atrre

Text from the book interspersed with videos from youtube. See

It is common to being a new disciple’s training with raag Yaman. Yaman is like a vast ocean whose limits are beyond sight.…………… Yaman – one of the main raags having all the seven notes – straight, simple, ascending and descending

[Raag Yaman is traditionally sung during the first quarter of the night (Pratham Prahar). From See
For Kishori Amonkar’s rendition ]

Hirabai Badodekar………. Blessed are those who have heard it. Hirabai’s khyal presentation was marked by a peaceful elaboration of the raag developed through aalaap note-by-note, a fluent and clear rendering of taans and an appropriate amount of stress on rhythm with neatly sung sthaai and antaraa.

Hirabai’s singing was ascetic, not romantic. Her music did not sing of romantic love, but rather that of divine love…….

Amir Khan ………. The gaayaki of Kirana gharaanaa is, no doubt, comparatively confined to the middle (madhya) and the higher (taar) octaves, whereas Khansaheb’s gaayaki dwells mostly on the lower (kharj) octave. The terrain of the lower octave notes is, on the whole, somewhat dry and rough. But Khansaheb had made the kharj so smooth like velvety green grass …………… That is why his gaayaki has acquired a three-dimensional form ……….. Deep, soul-searching, introspective, impressive, aristocratic, superlative – these are the many epithets that can be applied to his music …….. had a mystic touch, a resonance (jawaari) ……… Sitting on the stage, Khansaheb’s figure looked like that of a seer of music in deep meditation – calm, seemingly detached from the audience with no body-movement and hardly any flourishes of the hand

Khansaheb’s singing was not what dazzled suddenly. It's hypnotic effect would spread very slowly. One reason why it was so is that his singing was not aggressive and flashy. There was a total surrender, a meditative trance. Khansaheb is one artist who indulged in deep thought, had an artistic vision, carefully preserved the eternal value of music and never ran after popularity or fame.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan ………… “Kaa karun sajani …….. ”……… That was my first introduction to Khansaheb and his music.

His music had cast a spell on me

Khansaheb’s voice is actually quite masculine, full of weight and expansive; at the same time soft like butter, tender, delicate, fluid, wide ranged; on the whole commanding.

Khansaheb had an extraordinary creativity. One could never predict how he would suddenly slide from one note to another………. Even after half an hour of elaboration he would come up with something ‘new’. To experience that one has to listen to his Pahadi or Sindhubhairavi.

One was always amazed how such delicate notes could emerge from such a massive physique.

Kirana artists have voices that are thin, sharp and high-pitched. But Bhimsenji’s [Bhimsen Joshi] voice is quite the opposite – broad, dense, wide ranging, capable of prolonged spans. And yet it can lay claim to sweetness and melodiousness – the benchmark of the Kirana gharaanaa. Variation in tone is an asset of Bhimsenji’s voice that adds to the enjoyment of this music. When he elongates the taar shadj or weaves a taan in taar saptak in a low tone, it is a source of unique pleasure and invariably elicits spontaneous applause.

Everybody cannot sing thumri because it demands certain versatility in voice modulation, a sensuous emotional expression, suitable temperament and imagination.

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I am very happy that my very first composition in raag Maaru Bihaag ‘Jaagoo main saari raina …….’ Has been immensely popular and when one talks about Maaru Bihaag they refer to my recording.

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