By Ashim Gupta Choudhury
After six month’s hard work, one may taste success in school fil examition. And a six year’s rigorous practice of classical music may even appear too less time for one to reach a minimum level. But a lifelong daily riyaz (practice) facilitates one to become a complete artist.
“Sadha (practice) is a kind of meditation that is a must to reach higher levels of musical knowledge,” averred noted playback singer KJ Yesudas at a ceremony held in Kerala to honour him for his 50 years contribution to music.
Beginners learn ragas (similar to melodic mode) from tender age but just a few are able to carry on. And those who persist must have a great love for ragas while fewer prefer to be trained in any of the genres other than classical genre.
Most learners have adoration for folk genre (Lok Geet). As such, they sing folk songs — relatively an easier genre. Traditiol folk genre doesn’t require any formal training. The rhyming lyrics of this genre portray ture, people, the village and its surroundings. Purely homemade customary musical instruments made out of raw materials are used in performing folk songs. And in the diverse Indian culture, songs of this genre are branded in different mes.
Every State in India has its own traditiol folk song culture and folk musical instruments. Customary folk numbers often reverberate in the air during festivals and festivities, family rituals and harvesting time. Its rhyming lyrics, sweet melody and rhythm — Kaharba Taal which is the life and soul of folk music — thrill millions as well.
Assam’s living legend and classical melody Qqueen Begum Parveen Sulta and her artist husband Ustad Dilshad Khan in an interview in Cheni by Liza George said: “Those by Pandit Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin were divine; that is called fusion. One should have an in-depth knowledge of diverse genres of music with use of instruments, lyrical content and cultural perspectives. Nowadays, it is like a fruit salad, a bit of tabla here, a ghatam and a saxophone there. Music is now commercialized with musicians plying to the gallery.”
Remember the song ‘Kasto Mazza He Relaima’ from Parineeta (2005) music directed by Shantanu Moitra? One may also remember ‘De De Pyar De’ from Sharaabi (1984) directed by RD Burman. Then there’s also ‘Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun’ from Zamane Ko Dikha Hai (1981) directed by sir Hussain to me a few.
The interludes of these songs are folk melodies of India’s neighboring countries. And a few Indian music directors often choose to mix folk song tunes of neighboring countries in filmy songs to make Bollywood hits.
Back to the topic.
Indian classical songs are based on ragas and raginis. A few find it tedious. But one who has enough knowledge about syntax of raga and ragini enjoys this genre to their fullest.
There are innumerable ragas and raginis and each raga and ragini has its specific time for performance. By and large, the accompanying instruments required in Indian classical music are tanpura, santoor, harmonium and tabla. But in certain South Indian States pakhwaj and ghatam are used in place of the tabla.
In Indian classical music, Dadra Taal, Ek Taal, Tin Taal, Chou Taal and Jhap Taal (rhythmic beat or strike that measures musical time) are mostly used.
It may sound something like a fairy tale, but performers maintain that a raga or ragini can heal various ailments people are suffering from. Listening to Raga Pooriya Dhansari prevents acidity; Raga Bageshri is used in treatment of diabetes and hypertension; Raga Darbari is considered very effective in easing tension.
Similarly, Raga Todi gives relief to patients from high blood pressure and headache; Raga Ahir-Bhairav helps brings down blood pressure; Raga Malkaus helps to cure low blood pressure; Raga Bhairavi provides relief from sinus and toothache; Ragas Hindol & Marava are useful in blood purification. And if one can sing Raga Megha Mallar correctly, rainfall is sure to begin.
If truly the classical genre has the capability of doing such wonders, it’s high time for all to take the health benefits by listening to this genre. Surely there can be no harm!