I performed with Nicolas Buff (Saxophone) and Pandurang Torvi (tabla) at the Temple in Melbourne. We played Raga Gorakh Kalyan in Jhaptaal (10 beats) and Teentaal (16 beats)
We had no time to meet and practice, so resorted to sending each other sound clippings recorded on the phone ! The composition below is originally from sarod maestro Pandit Buddhadeb Dasgupta as communicated by his senior disciple sitar virtuoso Pt Sugato Nag…. I’ve played the full composition including the antara, which is usually missing in other recordings of this piece.
Gorakh Kalyan (a raga with a curious name since it has no obvious relationship with the Kalyan group of ragas such as Yaman Kalyan, Shyam Kalyan, Shuddha Kalyan or Puriya Kalyan) is a raga of peace… and is especially suited for the sarod.
Here is a small clip of the performance: (pls excuse the sound quality)
Due to the acoustics of the venue, the sound is raw.
It was Guru Purnima – the auspicious date when students pay respects to their teachers. I gratefully acknowledge my teachers Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Shahid Parvez and Pandit Sugato Nag for their guidance in my musical journey.
At a recent concert by a visiting vocalist (Shri Kuljit Singh Sangar), he sang a fast 16 beat composition in Bageshri. I heard it and then went about my own business, but the composition stayed with me mentally.
A few days later, I was able to take the gist of the composition and translate it to the sarod. I initially thought I’d come up with a new composition based on the above khayal, but later on it turned out that I had actually made a similar composition with a similar structure.
Here is the composition: This is a good example of how compositions can emerge based on mulling a raga over in your head:
I’m back again on my all time favourite raga, the king of the Indian Raga pantheon : The King of Ragas, The raga of Kings : Raga Darbari
Darbari lends itself naturally to the sarod, with its deep introspective tone. There are many good compositions in Darbari, and I thought I’d showcase one particular one which is not heard publicly much nowadays,
I’ve recorded – Raga Darbari, Drut Ektaal (fast 12 beat tempo) by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, which he first played in the 80s – and then very rarely thereafter. In fact, this composition is hardly heard nowadays. I outline the composition without rhythmic metre and then the “implementation” of it at 250 bpm fast 12 beat cycle (Ektaal) -which is a tad faster than the original.
This compositions was originally played to tabla accompaniment with Sabir Khan, in what constitutes one of the definitive Darbari recordings of all time.
I decided to play the composition at length without rhythm to expose the subtleties of this composition. This is a multi layered construct – there are a lot of things going on – the mood of this grave raga, an underlying rhythmic framework, as well as a structure built on that famous masterpiece by Ustad Amir Khan (vocal) – Yaare Man Biyan Biyan. The composition balances the competing pressures of technical activity with keeping the mood of the raga intact (it doesn’t take much to destroy Darbari’s gravity, turning it into a Bollywood song – the poor raga has been much abused in this manner)
Then I play the full composition with the metre at 250bpm.