I grew up learning Carnatic Vocal music. Learnt the Veena for a while as well. But, today most of my music listening tends to be Hindustani Classical Music. Especially Vocal music. I find the form – which is non regimented – a delight to hear. Here a typical raga – let’s say Bhairavi – sung by two different exponents from two different gharanas – and the experience will be completely different.
Generally the full form of Hindustani Classical music is often forbidding for a new comer. It seems to be a lot of “aa aa aa aa” (as my brother once told me). That is the singer exploring and expounding on the Raga. Its a pleasure and a revelation. For example, one of my favorite ragas is Miyan ki Todi and my favorite singer is Bhimsen Joshi. I have 9 long forms of this Raga sung at various concerts, at different points of times in his life. Each is a different experience for the listener, but also in the way the singer explores and weaves his magic.
A good starting point for the newbie to Hindustani classical Music is the myriad Hindi film songs composed in a number of ragas and sung by popular singers and for a variety of moods and seasons. Atleast that is the way I began. there used be this morning show on All India Radio – its still on – called sur sangam. It explores a raga. It tells you the unique aspects of the Raga. It discusses the raga with a classical singer. It plays a classical piece and it plays a film song. A great primer and a great introduction to the genre. Semi classical music – such as Thumris, classical Qawalis and classical Bhajans can also be a great way of picking up various ragas. Thumris are love songs. They look at various aspects of love – from the anticipation of meeting the lover, to the joys of being with the lover, to the throes of despair on separation. Depedning on the Gharana – the thumri can be sung as a yearning for the lover or yearning for God (the bhakti ras).
One of the most famous Thumri’s in Hindustani Classical music is Babul Mora. It was composed by Wajid Ali Shah (played by Amjad Khan in the film Shatranj Ke Khiladi) the deposed ruler of Oudh during his exile in Calcutta. It is supposed to be the longing of a woman for her maternal home. Having said that the best renditions of the song have been by men.
This is Bhimsen Joshi – live in concert at Baroda – singing Babul Mora
Part 2 is here
And, of course, the version that made it popular amongst the masses. Kundan Lal Saigal singing Babul Mora in Devdas
I actually didn’t manage to get the camera out today. Completely busy. Started the morning by signing a contract with Film Orbit for running Jhing Chik Jhing on their site. Also interesting conversations on content. interesting possibilities.
this is one i shot yesterday
Pakistan has sent their young and extremely photogenic foreign minister, Mrs.Hina Rabbani Khar,to India. the Indian news media – which has the collective IQ and sense of a retarted hedgehog seems to be fida on her. Completely forgetting the Bombay Blasts, 26/11 and all the other dead from all the other blasts and other terrorist strikes that have originated across the border. She arrived on the day of the Kargil victory and promplty met Kashmiri separatists in Delhi. Maybe we should let her host a dinner party for Dawood Ibrahim in Parliament grounds … after all it is important to achieve peace for our time.