Thursday, 29 September 2016

Allah Tero Naam….a soulful rendition.

Hum Dono” is one of the most iconic Indian films.
No one can ever forget the double-role enacted by Dev Anand and the songs composed by Jaidevji are mesmerizingly phenomenal. The song Allah tero Naam Eeshwar tero Naam written by Sahir Ludhianvi and immortalised by the legendary Lata Mangeshkarji is phenomenal.
A sound classical music training and passion was the basis of music composer Jaidevji’s   melodic creations, and this song is its perfect example.
A prayer is a solemn request for help addressed to God. The person praying is in complete surrender. There is a soul connect between the deity and the devotee. This emotion is sincerely conveyed through simple words. Though there is a fear of the unknown there is also the strength of faith. Undoubtedly therefore this song is regarded as one of the best prayer song to have emerged from Indian films.
For a singer, the tune is very challenging. Generally a song is crafted in such a way that the singer gets a breather between lines. But in this song if you keenly observe, there are almost no resting points. The tune demands a sustained tuneful long breath conveying the words with the complete emotion and none other than Lataji has all these qualities. The supporting chorus is truly supportive and Latajis aalaaps overlapping the chorus add to the melody making it very soothing. Due to this flowing nature of the tune it appeals to the souls of the listeners.
Music composer Jaidevji has chosen the Raga Gaudsarang for this prayer because this raga can bring out a serious mood when performed in a slow tempo. In the background we can hear violin sections adding grandeur to the song. The entire orchestration of the song without any complexities maintains the seriousness of the prayer making it a soulful rendition.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

RIYAAZ....Polishing the Soul.


All these are principles taught and followed by Hindustani Classical Musicians in their "RIYAAZ ".

What exactly is this RIYAAZ ?

Is it merely an exercise? Is it only voice training for a vocalist /technique training for an instrumentalist ? Is it just to learn by heart the musical grammar? Does it mean to sing a song 25 times or 100 times?

Actually these are some of the facets of the activity known as "RIYAAZ ".

RIYAAZ is an inseparable element in an artist's life. 

The synonyms of this word are Practice or Hard work or Penance.

I would rather say it is an ever-enriching experience.

It helps an artist achieve  mastery in the art.

RIYAAZ is the base of the artist's imagination.

RIYAAZ is the foundation of the artist's happiness.

The artist can shed inhibitions, conquer fears 

only due to a consistent habit of rigorous  RIYAAZ.

In a way the artist polishes the soul to express ideas with fluency.

Pursuing any art is a soulful activity.

Dedication, Passion, Love, Surrender are the qualities that make a soulful artist.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Omkar... the melodic mantra for the soul.

Omkar is one of the names of Lord Ganesh. It means one who has the form of Om. 
Therefore we musicians believe that singing Om invokes Ganesh, the God of Learning and Knowledge.

Om is a sacred incantation made before the recitation of spiritual texts, before rituals and prayers, and meditative and spiritual activities such asYoga. Similarly Om is sung daily by many musicians when they begin their voice practice sessions. 

Some scholars consider Om as the 'cosmic sound', or an 'affirmation to something divine'. The  three phonetic components of Om ; Aa, U and Ma, correspond to the three stages of cosmic creation, and when it is sung, it celebrates the creative powers of the universe.  When a singer along with the accompaniment of Tanpura, practices Om, the resonant and sonorous quality of the voice improves. This practice is named as Omkar Sadhana. 
Om is the primeval melodic pronunciation which increases concentration and in turn gives momentum and energy to a song.
Due to the repeated singing of Om  the musician's scope of musical ideas also widens.
The Om also refers to the sound of the soul and its relation with the entirety of the universe. When the singer's voice emits from the soul and reaches the souls of the listeners, music is created.
Om is a musical truth in its numerous variations and  musical meters developed from it.
Om is a tool for meditation. 
I share a few lines from the verses of ''Samaowi Dnyaneshwari" penned by the renowned poetess,
Late Smt. Anjali Thakaar.

             Aadi Omkara tuja naman I                            आदि ओमकारा तुज नमन । 
             Vedat tujhe pratipadan    I                             वेदात तुझे  प्रतिपादन ।                        
             Swanubhave jayache dnyaan I                     स्वानुभव ज्याचे ज्ञान । 
             Jaya Aatmarupa  II 1 II                                   जय आत्मरूपा  ॥ १ ॥ 

             Devaa toochi Ganesh I                                   देवा तूचि  गणेश  । 
             Sakal buddhiicha prakash I                           सकळ बुद्धीचा प्रकाश ।
             Mhane Nivruttidas I                                         म्हणे निवृत्तिदास   । 
             Aikawe Ji   II 2  II                                              ऐकावे जी    ॥ २ ॥ 
                        ।। ॐ।। 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Nature’s soul in Music.

Art is an expression of an imaginative and creative mind. From where does an artist gain this imagination? Is it from the Nature around? Nature is full of sounds and images, textures and fragrances. All these natural elements appeal to the emotions of human beings. There is a soul connection between Nature and humans.
The cave man cried with grief due to natural calamities, squealed with joy due to natural phenomenons, screamed with fear and gradually learned to communicate with the help of sounds. Gradually these sounds were entwined in patterns and as language developed these sound patterns became meaningful expressions.
Whatever touched the heart of the aboriginal or the adivasi human began to be expressed through melodies. These soul-stirring melodies passed down from generation to generation initially in oral form and later in written forms.
These folk songs are of varied nature. If we talk about rain there will be songs requesting the rain god to bless the earth, there will be songs about the happiness of a good harvest due to rains and also songs about pining lovers eager to enjoy the rain together.
In Indian classical music there are special ragas for every season of the year. During the rainy season, the Raga Malhar and its various types are sung and played by classical musicians with joy and fervour. An accomplished musician can create the atmosphere of rains with elaborate musical phrases technically known as aalaap in the rendition of the malhars.
The semi-classical singers sing Saavan, Jhoola and other such special compositions attributed to rain.
Even the film music has a treasure trove of rain songs.
Rain, a natural phenomenon recurring every year is celebrated by all musical souls alike.
Please feel free to post links of your favourite rain songs in the comments below.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Soulful music.

What kind of Music appealed to you first?  
It could have been a lullaby, which is a simplest form of soulful music. Some graduated from the lullaby to being casual singers, while others chose to be listeners. Some hone the skills by singing film songs while some others take training in classical music. A singer or a listener, there definitely is a musician in each one of us.

I met Music in the form of my mother playing the Sitar. Also in the serene suburb of VileParle, I attended many musical concerts regularly. At the age of 8, I began taking regular training in vocal music. The poetry in the classical compositions was in the "Braj" language. As I was expected to learn by heart these compositions,the sweetness of this language gradually captured my soul. This love of poetry increased my passion and shaped the soulfulness in my vocalising.

What comes to your mind as "Soulful Music"?
Please feel free to post your favourite links in the comments.