Eternal Favourite: Raga Darbari

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.

Here is the Youtube video:

2 thoughts on “Eternal Favourite: Raga Darbari

  1. Sir, I have been playing the sarod since I was in the 5th grade (so 8 years now). Unfortunately though, my sarod is really worn out, and wasn’t of too high a quality in the first place. It’s really tough to play the higher notes at times, because there’s a pretty large gap between the string and the fretboard (almost a centimeter at the upper octave Sa). So, what would you suggest I should do? I have already gotten the bridge height reduced.
    My Sarod gives a rather discernible sound when the java strikes, so how should I minimize that? And how can I improve my playing speed, especially in the madhya lay? I mean, I tend to play lots of variations in between the Gat of any taal I play, and am unable to keep pace at times, so how can I improve that?
    Lastly, I was wondering if you could tell me where you bought your Sarod from, and how much it cost you.
    Thank You

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