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Posts by Rahul:

    Added page for Raga Jaijaiwanti

    January 12th, 2020

    Happy New Year everyone…

    We start off this year by looking at the beautiful raag Jaijaiwanti



    Some clips from recent performances

    October 27th, 2018

    I have been very slack in updating this site… here are some clips from recent performances in Singapore and India

    First, Raga Durga with Shri Durjay Bhaumik in New Delhi India, at my friend Subir’s place

    I had published information about Raga Durga and their notations in 2012, in one of my earliest posts:

    Raga Durga

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    Rare Ragas: Chhaya, Chhayanat and Nat

    May 4th, 2018

    Just created a page to discuss these rarely ragas on the sarod these days:

    Rare Ragas: Chhaya, Chhyanat and Nat

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    New Raga: Raga Shahana

    April 2nd, 2018

    Created a page with some videos to discuss the beautiful and stately raga Shahana :

    The majesty of Shahana

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    New Raga: Nayaki Kanada

    January 27th, 2018

    As part of my slow progress in capturing material on ragas not available elsewhere, I’ve just added a section on the somewhat rare raga Nayaki Kanada

    This post is dedicated to the memory of sarod maestro Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta who passed away recently.

    Gopal Nayak’s Kanada – Raga Nayaki Kanada

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    Patdeep- an afternoon poem

    October 8th, 2017

    I recently performed the sweet melodiic raga Patdeep (Patdip) at a concert in Brisbane. A beautiful afternoon raga, it reminded me of many poems and musical compositions in this lesser heard raga

    Often considered a “smaller” or “limited” raga, Patdeep is never the less a beautiful haunting melody worthy of detailed exploration. So here is a page on this raga

    Patdeep- an afternoon poem

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    New Morning Raga: Bilaskhani Todi

    September 10th, 2017

    I’ve created a page for the exquisite and lesser heard morning raga: Bilaskhani Todi, including the legend behind it’s creation:

    Morning Serenity: Raga Bilaskhani Todi

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    New morning ragas – Jaunpuri

    May 6th, 2017

    Added a page for the calm and serene morning raga Jaunpuri…

    Raga Jaunpuri- A morning prayer




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    Raga Pilu- Some old compositions

    February 11th, 2017

    After an extended break, here is a video of various compositions in Raga Pilu (Piloo) that I recently had the opportunity to play:

    Pilu, like Bhairavi, is an evergreen raga, and brings together the joy and sadness of love in its mood…

    Pilu is used in a variety of “thumris” – semi classical compositions which sing about the waiting for one’s true love… with hope (natural notes) alternating with sadness (minor notes)… for example, one famous composition in Pilu (called a Dadra) is:

    “Barsan Lage Saawan Bundiya Raja” [Many monsoons go by my love]

    Tore Bina Lage Na Mora Jiya [My heart pines without you]

    Rendered by countless semi classical and Bollywood singers, this is exactly the kind of composition which brings out the character of Pilu.

    Another classic dadra is :

    Nath Besar Balamwa Mangwa De

    [O my  love,(who’s not paying attention to me)- get me an ornament – (nose ring))  – the word Besar loosely translates into “Be-Asar” – someone not paying attention or beyond influence (Asar)…]

    Barna Me Tose Nahi Bolu [Otherwise I will not speak to you anymore]

    The structure of Pilu alternates between phrases which stress hope and joy and phrases where the same hopes are dashed and recede into sadness. This mesmerising mix of emotions makes Pilu an eternal source of joy and sadness – the definition of human emotion. Skilled musicians in Pilu often draw this out, inventing a myriad ways of portraying this struggle.

    I was once told by an audience member that Pilu feels like a conversation where someone is telling the story of their love.

    While the vast body of work in Pilu is of the romantic variety, it has been successfully adapted to other forms e.g

    Mere Angane Me Tumhara Kya Kaam Hai” – a popular song from the Bollywood film

    Laawaris (1981) sung by and filmed on popular actor Amitabh Bachchan.

    and also:

    Saare Jahan Se Accha Hindostan Hamara” – [Our country – Hindustan – is the best in the world] -a very popular patriotic song composed in Urdu by Poet Mohammed Iqbal and set to Pilu by Pandit Ravishankar, which is a fixture at National events in India and also used as a march by the Indian Army.

    Mishra Pilu

    The world Mishra (which means -Mixed) is used to denote variants to the raga which are acceptable but not formalised. In many ways, affixing Mishra to a raga means that the raga will be extended in directions  which are not part of the core raga. It must be kept in mind that Mishra usually is used for light ragas (e.g. you cannot have Mishra Marwa or Mishra Darbari).

    Mishra Pilu allows musicians to add tasteful, subtle and aesthetically pleasing phrases to core Pilu. In doing so, they may use notes that Pilu doesn’t usually use. In the performance above, I have played a composition which uses the Tivra Ma which is not used in Pilu. These notes have to be sparingly used to embellish tastefully. Calling a raga Mishra is not an open invitation to wreck the core emotion of the raga by adding whatever you feel like !

    In this Mishra Pilu, I end up using all 12 notes in various compositions.

    The first one is Pilu Jungla, which used to be played by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan last century

    The second one again is vintage Ustad Amjad Ali Khan – a terrific composition using the komal dha which is no longer heard commonly.

    Barwa, is a raga similar to Pilu. There are two schools of Barwa : one which uses the shuddha gandhar (ga) and one which doesn’t. I’ve opted for the former.

    Some Shahajahanpur compositions – I did not play a popular composition from Shahjahanpur players composed by Pt Buddhadev Dasgupta who interpreted a song composed by Tagore in Pilu called “Shedin dujone” as I wanted to focus on compositions not usually heard in the public domain….

    Then onto some more serious compositions from sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan who composed a technically challenging piece where the first section (sthayi) has no gaps, the second one (manjha) has a gap of 1 beat between key phrases and the last one (antara) has a gap of 2 beats between phrases all perfectly landing correctly in the end…

    It is a challenge for tabla players to hang on to the beat as the instrumentalist goes off in a completely different cycle.

    And finally a fast composition by Ustad Shahid Parvez.

    As always, my gratitude to gurus: Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt Sugato Nag and Ustad Shahid Parvez.






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    November 2nd, 2016

    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.

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