Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov 22, 2010 - Log 4 - The ninety minutes of ecstasy

What would be the finest way to forget the world around you? 

Music would be one of the preferences. Then too it depends on the person's liking. Everyone need not like the same kind of music. Music for some could also turn out to be noise for someone else. Hence today’s blog does not say this is the only way to ecstatic moments but relates to the ninety minutes where I forgot where I was and was in seventh heaven - a world of music. It all started with a buzz in my wife's phone which revealed a message from UAE Exchange with an invite to see "The Sarod Duo" perform live. I was so excited, more like having got a free ticket to the seventh heaven.

(Photo courtesy: K Murali Kumar for The Hindu )

I want to share my feelings through the soul stirring concert I enjoyed - the Sarod duo of Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan of the Bangash family. I happened to listen to Sarod for the first time when I was in college - The Government Arts College, Trivandrum. SPIC MACAY (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) had organized a Shehnai recital by Ustad Bismillah Khan Saheb when I was attending to my first year in the pre degree course and the next year was Sarod Recital by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saheb. Those short programs had an impact on me for sure. Now after so many years I get a chance to enjoy the performance by the latter's blessed children and disciples Amaan & Ayaan Ali Khan.

The celebrated Sarod players Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, along with Ustad Rashid Mohammed on Tabla gave a chance to the audience to comprehend a fact that music is beyond languages and cultures. The concert started with an alaap in Desh Raag. What a way to start a concert by taking you back to your Desh (country) with the raag itself. The raga is to be sung during the first quarter of the night and so it was done. The traditions kept and to the fullest. There are many melodious tunes in Desh like Vande Mataram and baje sargam, done by Bharathbala Productions for doordarshan. The alaap moved to a faster pace in the vilambit bandish (a slow melodious start which moves to a faster pace) when it created a mood as if it was raining music notes inside the auditorium.

The show then moved to a performance in Raag Charukeshi, a fairly fresh introduce into Hindustani music from the South Indian - Carnatic parampara. The concert as it usually would have been would require 16 to 32 artistes on stage, but the trio encompassed the spectators with an aura of music which is unmatched. Sadly all good things have to come to an end and so did the concert too. 

Concluded with Bhatiali. These are folk songs in Bangla usually composed and sung by boatmen of East Bengal, reminding that Bengal is the land of rivers. The influence of rabindra sangeeth in Bangla folk music was also heard when you could hear the nature singing “ekla chalo re” along with the duo on sitar.

While reading about the origin of the instrument which also resembles the Oud in Arabia I stumbled on a few interesting facts which I would like to share with you.

The sarod is believed by some to have descended from the Afghan rubab, 
a similar instrument originating in Central Asia and Afghanistan. 
The name Sarod roughly translates to "beautiful sound" or "melody" in Persian. 
Sarod could be considered an amalgamation of the ancient chitra veena, 
the medieval rebab and modern sursingar. 
There is also a speculation that the oud may be the origin of the sarod.

One of the stories about Sarod's origin is as follows:

Amjad Ali Khan’s ancestor Mohammad Hashmi Khan Bangash, a musician and horse trader, came to India with the Afghan rabab in the mid-18th century and became a court musician to the Maharajah of Rewa (now in Madhya Pradesh). It was his descendants—notably his grandson Ghulam Ali Khan Bangash who became a court musician in Gwalior -- who gradually adapted the rabab into the sarod we know today.

Ayaan, who has won an MTV Lycra award in 2006 for the most stylish musician, was so humble when I stole a few moments for myself with the trio. As the name suggest Ayaan is truly a gift of god and Amaan, the protected one for future. My wife was clicking pictures when I got a chance to be with them for a short but sweet time – truly a memorable one. I was thinking how I could limit myself with words to explain the event to you so that I share the joy with you. Then as you know – what has to be done has to be done. I take pride in saying that I am from the land which gave birth to maestros like them.  

Last but not the least should also thank Soorya Krishnamoorthy, founder of SOORYA Stage and Film Society the biggest cultural society of the World and also the Best run society in India, who conceived this event for us. Also a word of thanks to Shri BR Shetty and Shri Sudhir Shetty of UAE Exchange who thought of being with Sorrya to bring this event to Dubai.

Have a glimpse of what you missed
- vaazhkabharatham -

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