Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Multi-faceted Family

As dawn progresses into morning, there’s a wide variety of raags in this zone under Indian Classical music system. One of the foremost matrixes in this time-slot is Raag Särang and its variants. Sung in the second quadrant (prahar) of the day, Särang belongs to the Käfi Thät. Apart from the main melody, there are several variants of Särang like Shuddha Särang, Brindäbani Särang, Madhmäd Särang, Miyän-Ki-Särang, Lankä-Dahan Särang, Badhans Särang, etc. The entire family presents a wide menu of soundscapes.

Raag Shuddha Särang uses both sharp and flat Madhyam (fourth note) highlighting tension and is ideally suited to projecting the intense heat and restlessness of summer. Brindäbani Särang, on the other hand, is much more soothing while Madhmäd Särang also follows serene path. Other variants like Lankä-Dahan Särang, Badhans Särang are rarely heard these days.
In classical repertoire, Pt Bheemsen Joshi’s Shuddha Särang, recorded about thirty-five years ago, is still popular while Pt Jasraj-ji’s Shuddha Särang projects a typical Mewati Gharänä treatment. But Ustäd Abdul Karim Khan’s 1905 recording of Brindäbani Särang, lasting just three-and-half minutes, puts a sparkle in your heart even today. Smt Hiräbäi Barodekar’s Särang, on the other hand, projects a very composed and sweet picture. With the technology available today, all these recordings have been preserved for posterity and are highly recommended for listening.

Light music has also used various forms of Särang Family and given us numerous memorable songs. Composer SN Tripathi was probably in love with the Särang matrix when he worked on ‘Rani Roopmati’ way back in early-50s. He composed as much as five songs in this matrix for the movie. The best known amongst them is the Mukesh number ‘Aa lautke aajä mere meet’ based on Madhmäd Särang. ‘Lägi tose nain’ (Talat Mehmood-Asha Bhonsale, Film: Chändi Ki Diwär), ‘Jhanan-jhanjhanä ke apani päyal’ (Lata, Film: Rani Roopmati) are some of the better-known songs in Särang. But the most lilting melody comes from under Late Hemantkumar’s baton. ‘Jädugar saiyyä, chhodo mori baiyyä’ from ‘Nägin’ is as fresh as ever with Lataji’s soft melodious voice. Marathi array also boasts of some evergreen numbers with Sudhir Phadke’s ‘Santh vähate krushnämäi’ topping the charts. But the honour for the most energetic presentation based on Särang matrix undoubtedly goes to Shammi Kapoor – Sharmilä Tägore ‘masti’ number ‘Häy re häy, ye mere häthonmein terä häth’ from the legendary OP Nayyar’s ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’. Wow – what a variety! Truly a multi-faceted ‘Särang Family’!

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