Khamaj (cont’d): Raag Desh

Raag Desh is easily the most well recognised melody in the Khamaj camp. While omnipresent in every form of music, it received widespread recognition due to the well known TV clip on India: Baje Sargam Har Taraf Se, in which a who’s who of Indian classical musicians performed this Raag.

Desh has countless compositions – I’ll start off with a sarod composition based on a very famous drut khayal in Ektaal ” Beeti Jaat Barkha Ritu Piya Na Aaye Aeri” (translation: this monsoon season is passing me by, but my beloved hasn’t arrived).

This composition was “ported” to the sitar by the Imdadkhani musicians (I’ve heard Ud Imrat Khan play this) as well as the sarod (Ustad Amjad Ali Khan). Here is the sarod version (with my tweaks) and the notation for it:

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The notation is here:

Notation of Raga Desh Ektaal Drut Bandish

A few points about this bandish:

1. The Manjha is played by Imdadkhani musicians – but not by all. I also have modified it slightly from the original manjha.

2. The “killer” meend (portamento) is the one from the Pa to the upper Ma. You have to use your second finger on the sarod to do this, and be careful not to under or overshoot the mark.

Lastly, as always, this being a one take recording on my Zoom, all errors and omissions are entirely my fault.

I’ll put up more compositions in different taalas next.