Monday, September 7, 2009

Of The Setting Sun And Orange Skies!

As Sun starts its daily journey towards western sky, we not only see the sky changing its colours, but we also experience the brilliant soundscapes afternoon raags create for your senses!

Raag Multäni, one of the ancient and expansive melodies in the Indian classical format, belongs to the Todi Thaat and is primarily sung in the late afternoon. The scale employs all seven notes but komal (minor) rishabh, gandhar and dhaivat and teevra (sharp) madhyam. The ascent and descent in the raag are typical in the sense that they provide symmetry of progression at ‘’ and ‘Pa’. This is commonly known as ‘Shadaj-Pancham Bhäv’ where the progression of notes shows similarity of movement. Multäni is more popular amongst vocalists and, more so, with exponents of Kiränä and Gwalior gharänäs. However, Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan’s (sarod) recording dating back to mid-sixties also showcases a brilliant soundscape of Multäni’s mood.

What I have for you in this post is an expansive Multäni sung once again by Vijay Koparkar. He sings ‘Kavan des kavan nagariya mein', one of the electrifying bandishes popularized by late Pt. Vasantrao Deshpande. He even sang it on-stage in the landmark play ‘Katyär Käljät Ghusali’.

The popular repertoire from Hindi films, regrettably, has not seen many forays into the vast canvas offered by this raag. However, the credit again goes to legendary composer Naushad for getting Ustäd Amirkhan to sing ‘Dayä karo he giridhari’, a devotional song for the film ‘Shabäb’ in the golden era of Hindi film-music. SD Burman also composed ‘Lag gayee akhiyän’, a superb melancholy for the film ‘Jeevan-Jyoti’ sung by Mohd Rafi and Geeta Dutt.

But Marathi nätya-sangeet has come up with some remarkable numbers in Multäni. The most memorable and remarkable composition that comes to mind is ‘Prem sewä sharan’ as sung by Late Dinanath Mangeshkar. The nätyageet was originally composed in Raag Bhimpaläs but the Maestro of Mangeshi gave it a different twist and people loved it immensely. Late Pt Vasantrao Deshpande, who idolized Dinanath Mangeshkar, also rendered this composition brilliantly but in his own way. He also sang ‘Kavan des kavan nagariya mein’, an electrifying bandish in Multäni composed by Ustad Fateh Ali Khan in ‘Katyär Käljät Ghusali’, a popular musical play.

Another nätyageet in the 1970s that bore the un-mistakable stamp of Multäni came from Pt Jitendra Abhisheki, a genius who was equally proficient at hard-core classical and other lighter forms. ‘Nako visaru sanket meelanächä’ from ‘Sangeet Matsyagandhä’ is one of the most remarkable compositions from Pt Abhisheki and has been immensely popular even with the younger generation of singers. Raag Multäni, it has been felt, offers immense potential to a composer, but has been used very sparingly as far as popular music goes. But who knows, we might even get a composer who gives it a go and we experience the ambience of brilliant skies of the late afternoon, the orange ball that is the setting sun, a few wisps of cloud and the trademark pull at your heartstrings – typically Multäni!

1 comment:

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