Raag Khamaj : An ocean of sweetness

My New Year’s resolution is to keep content on this site updated regularly – aim is to cover off one raga a month at least. I start off with Khamaj.
Khamaj is a huge repository of very melodious and sweet tunes – so sweet sometimes, it’s unbearable !. Key ragas of this camp include Khamaj itself, the beautiful raag Des (or Desh), Tilak Kamod and Jhinjhoti. Variants include Jaijaywanti, Gorakh Kalyan and the like. Even Kalawati is technically in the Khamaj camp.Khamaj dominates semi classical and Bollywood songs as well.

I start off with a tribute to one of the greatest leaders of mankind : Mahatma Gandhi, whose death anniversary was marked this week – and whose favourite song was the Bhajan “Vaishnav Jan To” composed by 15th Century Poet Narsinh Mehta, set to Khamaj.

Vaishnav-ism is a sect of Hinduism, with particular emphasis on kindness, non-violence and empathy towards fellow beings. A Vaishnav is a follower of the God Vishnu. The first line says ” He/She who is a Vaishnav is one who understands the pain of others”

Here’s a rendition of this classic (first stanza only) on my sarod, with a bit of Desh tacked on to the end. As always, this is a one-take affair, no computer skullduggery to hide the rough spots, recorded on the Zoom in my music room.

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