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Introduction

Welcome to PROJECT RAAG!

I know that at this point your quite uncertain as to why you’re here and I’m also aware that right about now you might be contemplating whether to read any further or not, but please do.

India has had a rich history with music and other forms of art and here through this Blog I would like for this up coming generation of Indians to know all about it. As a large section of the youth today is unaware of the richness of Indian classical music. Hence the only purpose of this blog is to acquaint as many people as possible with the evergreen Indian classical music.

I hope all who read this will benefit from it and at least know a little bit about their roots and especially the music from their home country.

Happy Independence Day

Recently, during my visit to India I realized that what I used to think about music in India is true to quite a large extent but not fully accurate. Living in Dubai and from the way people described the condition of Indian Classical Music in India it seemed like nobody was interested in Indian classical music. However, this time when I went I was passing by a very popular music school of Lucknow, the city in India I belong to, where I saw lines of people standing one day. Well, I made no efforts to go and find out what was going on.

A few days later, I needed to buy a tanpura, a stringed musical instrument, for my music class. As I went to buy the tanpura while serving the shops I asked the shop keepers how business was going. To which they replied that for a few years in between business was close to dead, but in the past few years things have started up again. I was happy to hear that as even I had stopped learning music cause I thought that I wasn’t “cool” as per say.

Now, I am very proud of what I learn because its out tradition from our country and it has been passed on to us from generations and we must pass it on to our generations to come as after all it is our culture and heritage.

I feel as thought most of the teenagers in India today take to classical music as their foundations learn for a few years and then move onto western music. However, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty Ji, in his last visit to the institute  demonstrated how after learning Indian Classical Music he could sing other forms such as Opera and even pop with ease.

I mean we should as a generation try to cherish our culture and TBH I also thought that all these things are only things to say and weren’t practical, but over the past few months with encouragement from my teacher I’ve been reading and our Indian heritage is so rich in all fields, especially music.

An example, would be our musical instruments. Keeping up with this idea I was thinking that if you guys are interested by this article read up a little on the various musical of Indian Classical Instruments.

Also,  I would like to wish you’ll a very very happy Independence Day! ❤

Let’s appreciate culture this Independence Day

That would be it for this blog.

It is something different so I hope you’ll like it. If it’s like a long lecture please let me know you can contact me either in the comments below or email at raagproject@gmail.com

I would love to hear you’re feedback positive or negative 😉 Would also love to know what all you learnt about the instruments

Also Thank You, for reading this!! 🙂

 

Meeting With The Legends – 2

On last Thursday, 11th May 2017 was my second meeting with a esteemed musician, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty . When I got to know that yet another artist is coming to the institute I was thrilled, as each time and artists visits us I feel as though he/she teaches us so many valuable lessons. Also, that each time we meet such legends they leave us moved and determined to get even better at music.

Pandit Ji, was like every other legend immensely talented along with being a wonderful and down to earth human being. I wont spend much of this blog writing about Pandit Ji’s background and history as we have sufficient information about him on the internet.

Pandit Ji, is from the”PATIALA-KAUSAR GHARANA” primarily representing Ustad Bade GHulam Ali Sahab and ustad Barkat Ali Khan sahibs gayaki. Pandit Ji, can also portray the characteristic features of the major classical gharanas along with being closely influenced by carnatici music as well. He is one artist that is appreciative of all types of music be it Indian, western or any other form. He demonstrated how he can with his strong foundation of Hindustani classical music sing many western forms as well.

One thing that he told us which really touched me was that this Earth gives us so much ans in return we can return its favor with music. He told us we should breathe in oxygen but breathe out with ‘SA’ He also told us that in the music academy he runs “Shrutinandan”all of the good students of music also excel academically and never get below 95’s which is very impressive in my eyes. He later told us about how in her final exams of one of her degrees, she went for various tours with her father and yet managed to get a very score in the articular course.

Pandit ji’s daughter Kaushiki Chakraborty Ji is one the most established and best classical musician of the current age. She has gone for various international shows and made her country extremely proud.

Pandit Ji, told us that he carried out research and found that the children that learn and our serious about music are also recipients of top class grades in school as music makes you use a very special part of your brain which also helps you to study better.

On the 12th of May, 2017 I attended Pandit Ji’s show as well at Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, At first I was slightly worried as to what I would do for 3 hours, I mean i do enjoy music but I wasn’t sure how it would be. However, I enjoyed myself beyond limits and didn’t realize how fast time went. I was mesmerized from PAndit Ji,s first note to his last one.

In my opinion the 100 dirham ticket was definitely better than watching any movie for 35 dirhams.

Also, if any of you’ll are interested Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the Bansuri meastro, will be in DUbai for concert on 25 August, 2017 at DUCTAC. This is a golden opportunity for all music lovers as Pandit Hariprasad as he rarely appears for live concerts.

I would also appreciate any feed back with respect to the blogs. As it is amazing to know that someone is reading this.

Thank you for reading this ❤

What Makes Each Raag Different?

When we analyze the notes they basically come back down to the 7 basic notes or swar , which are SA,RE,GA,MA,PA,DHA,NI these are also known as SARGAM. There are also slight variations of notes like the komal notes. The notes RE,GA,DHA,NI and these can be taken in their Shudh or Komal forms depending on the raag. A Tivra form is also taken of the swar MA.

Now each of these is the same note; however, taken in a little different tone. So,each raag has a signature combination of notes be it shudh, komal or tivra notes. This combination is reserved for this particular raag only, hence whenever this combination plays the listeners can identify which raag the musician is going to sing/play.

The instrumentalists playing with the singer also become aware of the raag and can play accordingly. This combination is repeated at various times in the raag. The combintion of swars forms kind of like the foundation for the raag.

The combination for each raag is very interesting because there are just so many possible combinations. You can combine shudh notes with Komal notes with TIvra notes. There are just so many combinations which make each raag so unique and beautiful.

I hope you found this blog post interesting if you did you can go ahead and like it. If you have any feed back please feel free to comment down below or email me( email id in the contact menu)

Also the feedback could be anything, anything at all. It would just feel great to know that some of you are reading this ❤

The Concept Of Gharanas

Since Indian Hindustani classical music is one of the oldest forms of classical music around the world, it follows many ancient methods of teaching. In the olden days in India people who were truly passionate about music would go and learn music in the guru-shishya system of learning. The guru-shishya system of learning was an atmosphere of learning wherein those students truly interested in learning music would go and spend days, months and even years with their gurus perhaps even at their houses learning music and perfecting their sur,taal and gayaki. This form of imparting the musical knowledge it practised even today, for instance I go to learn music from my teacher so he teaches us at his house so we go their once a week and learn. However, now its a little bit modernised so people don’t particularly live with their gurus but they do to learn from them at regular intervals.

From this idea of learning from a guru at his hose came the idea of a group of people learning from the same guru resulted from one group of shishyas having different singing techniques from the other groups. This lead to formation of various “STYLES” or “GHARANAS” within the classical form of music.

Now in Indian there are various Gharanas that have distinct features that make them different and unique , setting them apart from the other group or “GHARANA”

Well there is a lot more to learn and know about these Gharanas; however, I will probably discuss at a later t

ime

This system of Gharanas really does show how Indian classical music has developed over the years and how as more and more people learnt it how it expanded. I think it’s really sad how many Indians these days don’t know much about this music. Therefore I am here to achieve this very purpose of making Indians aware of their ancestral heritage and its greatness.

Personally, I like the Patiala Gharana because the beats mesmerize my ears. I love the use of different laiys and a good amount of bols. Well, if you also enjoy this kind of music by the artist of the Patiala Gharana I have some news that will interest you. On May 12 , 2017 a very famous artist from the Patiala Gharana, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty will be coming to Dubai for a show at DUCTAC.

To buy tickets you can visit ths link:-

https://ductac.etixdubai.com/shows/show.aspx?sh=ENBDCLS17

If you have any feedback for me please feel free to email it to me or leave it in the comments section below.

 

Timing In Indian Classical Music

As mentioned earlier Hindustani classical music is very beautiful and an art of great precision. Another aspect of various ragas in Indian Classical Music is the time of the day in which they are sung.

So, each Raag has a specific prescribed time during wich it as has to be sung for example, The first hour of the night in hindi,”Raatri ka pratham prehar” Now it’s very thoughtful how each of the timings for the raags have been divided as each Raag sets a different for the specific time of the day.

I hadn’t personally felt it before but then a few days back I got up early for the early morning prayer, Now this prayers time ends before sunrise so I got up around 5:40 am that morning. I felt really active and energetic so I decided not to go back to sleep it was like one of those productive morning, during which you get that great feeling that tells you you’re going to achieve all your goals for the day. If you know what I exactly mean 🙂 After prayer I started out with my Yoga sun-salutations. After my sun salutations at about 6:35 I wasnt sure as to what to do so it struck me that I could listen to some relaxing music. I couldn’t think of any relaxing music that I knew of so as I thought I glanced at my harmonium and realized, BINGO 😉 I can listen to a morning raag.

I quickly ran towards my laptop and began to search for morning raags on YouTube, trust me they were super easy to find and I was able to find morning raags by various artist all at the click of a button. Listening to that music was amazing literally like the best thing to do on a morning. It was so soothing and calming but at the same time it made me feel as tough that day was a great day. The music was so calming and soothing but at the same time energized me and prepared me for the day.

I honestly would love to try it on a school morning, I think we all know how much we love getting up for school or do we not? However,I think this could help us all on a gloomy and bitterly early already quite work filled school morning. I feel like a little bit of this kind of music could set your mood in for the right direction an early morning.

I think over the break which by the time this comes out I presume would have already ended , oh well all good things do come to an end! 😦 I think during the time I have remaining during this break I will experiment with this idea of getting up early and listening to a morning raag and by the end of the break I will provide you with a list of links with my favourites

After this experience with the wonderful morning I decided to experiment with the time just before bed. That worked pretty well too I had really sound sleep with no disturbance. That was some of the most peaceful sleep I had ever had. Kind of like the sleep you get at the end of your exams.

I hope all of this helps you guys, and I hope you’ve been enjoying these articles/updates/ blogs. As usual if you enjoyed the blog please do ‘like’ so that I know that you guys are reading and enjoying this, also if you have any comments of feedback of any sort feel free to comment below this post or contact me(email address I in the contact menu) would love to hear from you.                                                                                                                                                  P.S-any kind of feedback is welcome, cause it just feels really nice to know that some of you are reading this ❤

 

Meeting with The Legends – 1

On 2nd March 2017, I had the opportunity to meet and not just meet but also interact with a living classical music legend SHUBHA MUDGAL JI.

Now, Shubha Mudgal ji is very famous in the world of Indian classical music. Shubha Mudgal is not just a brilliant musician but also a humble, sweet, open-minded and forward thinking human being, and this I tell you from experience.

Most of us young Indians don’t know much about us great people such as Shubha Mudgal Ji.Shubha Ji is a well-educated woman who finds herself involved not only in music, but also in fields of social work .She supports radical organizations such as ANHAD, an organization which works towards social progress, secularism and harmony among various religious and regional groups in India, and SAHMAT, which was an earlier organization for similar purposes in memory of SAFDAR HASHMI. Just this shows us how wonderful Shubha Ji’s thinking is and what a wonderful personality I was blessed to meet.

Shubha ma’am was born into an academically inclined family in Allahabad, her mother and father both being professors of English Literature at the Allahabad university. However, they were both deeply interested in Hindustani classical music. Hence, they sent their daughters , Shubha Ji and her sister, to learn KATHAK ; however, KATHAK was not the art form of her interest. It is here that when once Shubha Ji was asked by her guru, “Aap kis gharaane ki Kathak naachti hain? (what is the style/school of Kathak to which you belong?)” and to this Shubha Ji gave her famous reply, “Hum apne gharaane ki Kathak naachte hain (I dance my own style of Kathak)” This shows us how bold Shubha Ji is and how strong she is with her opinion.

Personally, being a young girl of the 21st century, I find that very inspiring that ma’am has such strong opinions and she sticks to them. Most young girls of this new generation dream of establishing a career and being independent and then only do they dream of getting married and starting a life. They aspire to work at a post equal to that of their husbands, and Shubha Ji lives a life-like so with her husband Aneesh Pradhan Ji, a very famous tabla player.

Shubha  Ji also deeply inspired me, because despite winning several prestigious prizes such as the Padma Shri in 2000 ; she still values the opinion of all around her be it at any post or a person of any age. At our meeting with Shubha Ji we didn’t only hear her soulful music, but were also given the opportunity to ask ma’am questions that we had in mind. Her responses to those questions were simple and easy to understand.Ma’am also answered directly and to the point.

Shubha Ji is also very well-known because she was one of the first Hindustani classical singers who sang rock and pop, her music also topped the charts. This achievement of ma’am proves the saying , “That the one can sing Indian classical can easily adopt any other form of music.”

I mean to write about such artist there will books and books, but I would like to leave you to do all that reading.

Now, I would like to share more of my experience from this meeting. Shubha ma’am walked in and then being such a well known  artist she still used the traditional ways like sitting on the floor asking for permission from her audience and the other artists who were accompanying her , ma’am even asked permission from our sir before starting. These values that maam has practised from the very beginning of her career are the ones that have brought her this far. Ma’am is definitely gifted with great amounts of talent; however many people are gifted with talent as talent is gifted by God. From these talented people those succeed who put in hard work, practise and have these core values. This is the thought with which I would like to leave you today.

I would also like to share a few links to Shubha ma’am’s work:-

Ab Ke Saawan Aise Barse:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLzDlKSMKY0

Dholna:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edKJih4Wb3I&list=RDedKJih4Wb3I

A little more classical( if you would like to try) :-

Raag Bhimpalasi:-  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh8QfWlSv9Q

I also found a very interesting interview of Shubha Ji

Happy Holi

Heres wishing everyone a very happy holi, may this spring time bring all its vibrant colours into your lives.

Another aspect of Indian classical music is that it is an all rounded kind of music, different raags are sung at different times of the day and different seasons of the year. One raag that we most often hear during Holi is RAAG KAFI. During Holi there is a special type of music that is sung and it is called HORI. 

Hori is mainly found during this time of spring and holi. Hori is a semi classical form  of music wherein the lyrics are mainly based on the festival of Holi. Hori songs are mainly composed in Raag Kafi, Raag Basant, Raag Pillu,Raag Bahar and Raag Allahaya Billawal.

Hori also has a focus on the stories of Lord Krishna and Radha. I think that this form of music really brings out the true spirits of Holi because as we know holi is a time during which people are very carefree, they play pranks on each other, put colours on one another and it’s just a time of the year during which everyone is in a mood of celebration. So this music also portrays a similar kind of setting wherein there is lots of fun and excitement.

So , I would like to suggest that this Holi along with the colours and Gujiya, why not listen to some Hori music to really get the true feeling of Holi and Basant. Thankfully we live in this age of YouTube and the internet so this is available to us at the clicking of a button.

I hope all of you enjoy holi this year with the usual colours, sweets and now even a little bit of classical holi music.

My Interaction with classical music

The first interaction with classical music was when I was about 8 back in 2010 on 10th May. I still vividly remeber the morning I wasn’t really excited as to the 8 year old me it meant getting up early in the morning on a FRIDAY MORNING. I mean I tought to myself how unfair, Friday and Saturday are my weekly off.My only two days when I can get up late.

When I got to class I dont really remember how I felt all I remember was me telling my mum, on the way back ,that  class was nicer than sleep 😉 My mom told me that classical music was magic and thats the only way she could describe it.

I definetly felt this different kind of joy that any movie, food , or for that matter anything I had ever done gave me. I knew that this was something that was going to be quite interesting.

From that day on music has been a vital part of my life whether be it classical or just the songs you hear on the radio but without music my life would be incomplete.

That was my first experience with music , you know mine but now i would love to know yours. You can leave a comment on this post or send me an email. I will be waiting to read and know all about yur first experience.

VISION

So, this my very first post and I am a little nervous, which I think is justified as this is my first ever experience with blogging.

I really wish  it goes well and helps the Indians who live abroad or even in India for that fact, who are unaware for the richness of Indian classical music learn about its beauty and appreciate it.

I hope that this blog brings about awareness and helps me contribute back to my rich heritage or as they call it “VIRASAT”