Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sarod Less Travelled

India is a rare country with two equally well developed traditions of Classical Music - Hindustani (from Northern India) and Carnatic (from South India). This post is about Hindustani Classical music.
You have vocalists and instrumentalists to choose from in each category. The classical set of instruments that played solo were traditionally Sitar, Sarod, Bansuri (bamboo flute), Shehnai accompanied by the drone of a Tanpura to keep scale and Sarangi and to the beats of a Tabla. Over the years other instruments have been brought in to add variety. The Sarangi has moved up centrestage from being just a sidekick. Some instruments like Esraj (more popular in the Eastern States of India especially West Bengal) have faded away even though in some traditions (Vishnupur) or gharanas it played a prominent role. "Over the years many western musical instruments like violin, harmonium, mandolin, archtop guitar and electric guitar have come to be accepted in Indian classical music." Brij Bhushan Kabra and later Vishwa Mohan Bhatt popularized the Guitar as an instrument that can play Hindustani Classical. Just as Shiv Kumar Sharma has brought the Santoor (meaning a hundred stringed lute) to the mainstream of classical music.
Indian Classical Music has been developed over several generations with knowledge and skills being passed down from father to son (most of the instrumentalists are males in Hindustani Classical Music - is that the same in Carnatic Classical too?) or from teacher to disciple known as the guru-shishya tradition in India. The guru or the maestro would have the title of Ustaad (in case the teacher was Muslim) or Pandit (for the Hindu).
My parents were both Hindustani Classical music addicts. My mother played Ragas on the Acoustic Hawaiian Lap Guitar (known simply as the Hawaiian Steel Guitar in India). My father never played an instrument or sang but made sure he taught himself ragas by reading, meeting musicians and attending concerts whenever possible. The concerts, the vinyl LP records and the ubiquitious radio with the All India Radio Sangeet Sammelan or the classical music hour at night were a part of my universe. Just as I was beginning to get excited about The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Cliff Richard, Pat Boone and all, thanks to the efforts of SPICMACAY (an acronym for Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Among Youth) my love for Indian Classical music co-existed with my love for every other sound that I got familiar with over the years. SPICMACAY used to organize Lecture Demonstrations (LecDems for short) to bring the best of the best Indian Classical Music maestros to explain the basics elements of the classical musical vocabulary and grammar and made it "cool" to listen to. The very first one I attended had Ustad Amjad Ali Khan xplaining the basics of Raga Yaman by playing raga based popular Bollywood hits on the sarod. Accompanied by the long haired Ustad Zakir Hussain on the tabla (who taught a semester at Princeton University in 2006) , they mesmerized the college crowd. Last fortnight I bumped into Ustad Amjad Ali Khan at Mumbai's swank new airport terminal. Here is a photo capturing that moment.

6 comments:

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Suchitra said...

Abhijit - you should mention that this photo was possible because I had my phone camera handy.

Abhijit Bhaduri said...

Hi Suchitra
This article was a good opportunity for me to show off this photo of mine with the Ustad. That's absolutely right - I need to acknowledge your contribution to this post.It was your camera that was used to capture the moment.

Ankur said...

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Anonymous said...

The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
1. Alcohol
2. Drugs
3. Preditory "earning"
4. Homosexuality
5. Gambling
6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. Revelry will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles will survive the 1000 years. They will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during Planet Earth's history.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new population, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial element in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.

Only children go to heaven. By the time you hit puberty it is too late. This is charecteristic of the gods:::Once you realize what you have lost it is too late.
Now you are faced with a lifetime to work to prepare for your next chance. Too many will waste this time, getting stoned, "Hiking!", working, etc.

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