Friday, 1 June 2012

Vachana Really Rocks With Ram

Ram, what can I say about Ram. I was in love with S.D.Burman's voice while I was growing up and was always feeling what if we can get a voice like that in Kannada. And so we did but in our Kannada music industry or Kannada music space there is no space for such experiments.......

When Pandit Ramarao once was singing Desi, Ram was playing harmonium. Ram was probably confused or more influenced with Jaunpuri. As was Ramarao, Ram too openly in front of the audience looked puzzled and Ramarao just conducted a lesson.... a training session on Desi. Ram humbly followed Ramarao. I really did not see much difference between Ram and Ramarao for Ramarao was a expert editor of classical music and Ram an editor and a music director.

And so Ram, when he creates music there is not one note is extra. If there is a line that surprises like in the inserted mp3, when he repeats 'Marulu Kama' 2nd time which slides down, it is an experience. I have had the opportunity to often listen to the music that he composes, which I feel is like a learning experience. Ramaraoji would always stress on how many musicians would needlessly keep singing unnecessary phrases which would not make a meaning in the sentence that we are constructing; "his composition in Ahir Bhairva, which most of his disciples would know. For Ramarao Khayaal or Thumri, it was writing, rewriting and constructing of images. I kept searching for such an experience and very few artists achieved this. Ramarao and Dinkarji, I dont know if they ever had a detailed discussion like I could have had with Ramaraoji and Dinakarji. Both would say the same thing but would employ different language of expression. For those who think that lyrics does not matter in Hindustani Khayaal, wish they had the chance or opportunity to meet and speak to both Ramaraoji and Dinkarji.

Well if people have missed them both, they should sit through the experience of music of Ram, for Ram knowingly or unknowingly follows the same. And Ram never fails to surprise me, amaze me with both lyrics and music like Ramaraoji and Dinakarji.

Ram is someone who can fall in love with lyrics to the extent that he can make the lyricist may it be Allama or Shivarudrappa, be as common and as next door. The spirit of Khayal and Thumri is that it is so near to our everyday experience. Ram is exploring Vachanas to be same.... everyday next door experience...... not just in his musical expression but also his saying it in spirit.

I do not know the details of the aesthetics like what MH Krishnaiah would say about a composition like this; to make Allama a next door person saying something important through music. Krishnaiah of course would agree with the layers that is seen and experienced in this composition.

 Since yesterday I am immersed in this composition for two reasons;  one that it is brought in front of us like Khayal and the way it is presented is rocking literally.

For those who look for pristine exposition  of not just ragas but also lyrics, I would say, music is for experience, and Ram creates beyond genders, Ragas, affiliations, constructions,  images and feelings an experience which we all would want to just relax and listen to.

Really Dil Dhoondtha Hein, Phir wohi, Phursat ki khayalaathen..... like Ram, Ramarao and Dinkar.......
Well this is the translation of the song that Ram provided the translation (for he is an expert translator too) of the song he has sung....
Don't throw, don't throw, Kama.
Why waste your arrows?

Aren't desire, cruelty, greed,
infatuation, intoxication, envy
enough for you to burn?

Why try to burn people already burnt
in longing of lord Guheshwara, you crazy Kama!

Enjoy you alllllllllllllllllllllll
much love to you allll

Sunday, 27 May 2012 Kanaka, my mother but more than that an artist and a passionate human being...... its her studio, her work and her kind of music which Ravi shah put on you tube. Kanaka feels stone is as smooth and as abstract as stone..... Kanaka's love for stone is like relationship that I learnt and am living with.... my music....Kanaka had and has always scared me of marriage with mortal men, which is still a nightmare for me. As a child if would not practice she would scare me saying "I will get you married off to brainless men like majga" (a distant cousin who was preoccupied with eating, a bramhin practice) and I would practice 12 hours a day which of course I have reduced to two to three hours a day now. Even today she works 6 hours a day and she has made me to work at least round the clock. Kanaka and stone is like sumathi and swaras.... for me in my life. Last Sunday she was awarded Nadoja R.M.Hadapad Award which she feels is much more bigger than the state award, she made a statement on a video clip which was shot by Vishwanath (a dear friend and a film maker). She stated "If women can lift their children, a woman can as well lift a stone and work on it, what is a the big deal and difference". After getting into politics I had always tried to frame her into a box and she always escaped like Desi Todi that I practiced for time I have known her. Neither can you frame Desi Todi nor Kanka Murthy. Last time when she did the Sapta Rishis she was sick of the same faces so she created a Rishi in mangolian race and today that rishi sculpture seems to be giving special grace in Tapovana. Once my teacher Pandit Ramarao Naik said that if you love your art beyond conditions you will treat it like a love relationship where there is humor and real life expressions.... and so Kanaka can bring out these expressions with her sculptures...... I love kanaka ...... more than mother ..... an artist who is creative mad crazy and most imaginative than a mother!!!!!..... Love you Kanaka

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

When will these women return???

What lives have they lived. The struggle is not just the passion of music, but also the dirty morality, which they have surpassed like hard stones. Life is not about singing concerts for ever and ever but to look at how the struggle of life has sculpted our music. As a child when I saw Umrao Jaan, my aim in life was to become Tawaif, not knowing the struggle of that life. Zohara, Gauhar, Akthari Bai, Rasoolan, I felt i knew from times immemorial, like as though they were all my best friends. I realised that life is not about fantasy of Viraha, as each voice opened up a new story of Viraha. Mine too, went haywire and then the voice developed. Not the globalised development, but search that started layering my voice of pain, of struggles, of custodial torture, of being in lock ups, of standing in the middle of the street and being able to sing in an open voice for anyone who calls and says "Sumathi sing this". Layers build and I am going back, back to all my friends..... Gauhra,Zohra,Rasoolan, Roshanara, Kesar, Mogubia,and many others.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Trans ragas and my lover Famila

When I was learning Bhairav Bahar, initially I always felt that Bhairav is very masculine and Bahar is very feminine. Thus it led to an understanding of hetro relationship between the two ragas. More and more I practiced I started realising Bahirav Bahar as one body and not a love making between Bhairav and Bahar. It was in 2001 that I met Famila, a male to female transsexual. She was my Bhairav Bahar, the only raga which made me realise the expanse of feminism and queer politics.

The oscillation of Re in Bhairav - I saw how Famila would express her body, her gender accepting certain limits and respecting other bodies equally. The oscillation of Dha being her struggle to understand a woman's body and menstruation and saying that I want to understand what it means to buy a sanitary napkin and experience the pain before making a statement of glorifying menstruation. Yes the pain of menstruation is what I could see in the oscillation of Re and Dha in Bhirav which was very masculine.

Bodily realities, woman and her struggles, in the masculine Bhairav - Just sing Bhairav you see it as a trans raga. Why that oscillation in Re and Dha - Is it a statement of gender? Why these abstract notes create such images - it is not that I want to emotionally melodramatically respond to these musical tones and micro tones. They are my life. It is for I want to be what I am a gender queer for whom the thinking is through these notes of music. I dont breathe music but Famila would breathe gender. Once in Trissur Manohar conducted a workshop where Famila and I were present. He gave an exercise asking people to perform something that their opposite gender would do. Famila while performing broke into sobs saying "no I cannot even imagine myself in the opposite gender. It was a truama and even now it is a trauma like women experiencing periods". How true - Bahar's Komal Nee the masculine expression of being with body and the struggle for getting validated - that is what Bahar does in Bhairav Bahar.

Beyond compositions, Bhairavbahar the trans raga today is questioning me about how different genders stand in front of me and demand spaces - spaces for many genders - with other notes other than this Komal Nee, Re and Dha.

Hey wait am not saying this in a state of hallucination - I am still searching the expressions of genders beyond masculinity and feminity...... that today could be Famila, Sunil, Gee, Kaveri, Charu, ---------------------------

Friday, 22 April 2011

Madhyam Temptations

While I was being taught Bihag, Ramaraoji would always make fun of me that I was in love with Shudhdha Madhyam of Bihag. I would always highlight it unnecessarily and very unlike bihag. It was a temptation to reach the fullness of the Madhyam with shudhdha ga. I then heard Mogubai Kurdikar's Sawni and was instantly in love with it. Yet that fullness of the Madhyam of my dream ..... remained as it is, because even in Sawni it was not that Madhyam I was looking for. growing up i heard many film songs which did give a little hue of that but not like hugging a tree.
I continued my romance with that Madhyam in my dreams ...... and ...... one day Aditi Upadhya sang that Madhyam. I just cannot forget that experience !!!!
She then told me that Dinkar ji composed the Raga Gagan Vihang and it was that Madhyam that I was in love with. Oh!!!! that fullness, that soft cotton saree feeling and the fragrance of ancientness!!!!
Dinkarji and his sense of swaras and words is something that we can keep being amazed at for centuries. The way the word Chakor lands on the Madhyam is the most beautiful experience of this compositions and the Raga.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Madhav Gudi Passed Away

In Keralan now. Amma called me in the morning and said Madhav Gudi passed away at 6 in the morning today. Memories flashed all over my face.
Why and how do many live such lives........ years of mad practise, living on the earnings of music which could be nothing at all, yet tremendous faith in the Swaras!!!!
I remember, in Bangalore Madhav Gudi performed and for that concert that day years ago, Pandith Dinkar Kaikini had come. I was sitting on the floor next to His chair. Madhav Gudi started his concert. Dinkarji just patted my back and said "look at his practise ..... sadhana..... when he ends the breath there is such a majesty in giving completeness to the swara without making it feeble. It ends so full and at the right sharp point of the swara like a sharp pencil tip point. He also said that this to Madhav Gudi nobody would have even told him.
I was 14 when i first met Madhav Gudi at Ramarao Ji's house. And we all went to perform in Bidar. Now all i can think of is how we as audience we only have ears and scores of criticisms and not a heart to understand the struggle of a life of a musician in the mad rat race of concerts and success. And yet many musicians just live the love relationship of music and themselves for love of swaras without recognition, money, concerts.
It is not even four months that Bhimsen ji passed away and Madhav ji has followed him ........ for love for revange for passion for what????

Mano Jara

Just started this blog to share my thoughts about music, politics, women and many things which i would like to call Jaunpuri Renditions..........
Gindeji and Jaunpuri, Mano Jara..... yesterday i again heard his Mano Jara in my dream. Just saw this vision - tireless endless waves of sea appeasing the coulds to rain and make love - a genderless love making oof clouds and waves..... wish my dreams are always filled like this.