More: Ghazals Galore

Nearly 12 months ago I posted a collection of ghazals. At that time the state where I live in Australia, Victoria, was emerging from several months of Covid lockdown. Here I am again, still in Victoria, and looking forward, again, to an easing of Covid lockdown restrictions this weekend. Though it will be several weeks yet till we who are vaccinated will be set free to roam the streets at will.

What a hellish two years these last 24 months have been. Australia, which prides itself on being a practical, decent and level headed country has completely ballsed-up the response to Covid. Where other countries have managed to start coming out the other end with high rates of vaccinations, we are stuck with a government that is ideological by reflex, corrupt by nature and incompetent in the extreme. Not enough vaccines for our population. Our most vulnerable still not vaccinated. And a country tearing itself apart in a nasty political and conspiratorial hothouse similar to the one unleashed by Herr Trumphf in USA.

So what better time, then, to sink deep into world of ghazalein?

This collection features a selection by artists both popular (Anup Jalota; Jagjit Singh) as well as highly sophisticated (Begum Akhtar; Farida Khanum), men as well as women and, Pakistani as well as Indian.

My favourite in this second volume is the title track, Yeh Arzoo Thi (I Wished) by Haidar Ali ‘Atish‘ and sung by the giant Amanat Ali Khan. The ghazal which was one of the most beloved of his repertoire is full of longing and regret and unrequited desire. The object of the singer’s words is ostensibly his beloved. But as in many such rhymes, the laments and pleadings are addressed also to that higher Love who controls everything and everyone in this world. And it is the following couplet which calls out to that higher Love that resonates most with me, at this time of ugliness and discomfort.

Na pooch *aalam-e-barghashta-taala’i ‘Aatish’
Barasti aag jo *baaraan ki arzoo karte

Don’t even ask about the ill fortune of “Aatish”
It rained fire when he wished for rain.

Track Listing:

01 Kisne Meri Qabr Par [Live] (Anup Jalota)

02 Yeh Dil Yeh Pagal Dil (Ghulam Ali)

03 Raat Kya Kya Mujhe (Salamat Ali)

04 Awwal-e-shub Ho (Tahira Syed)

05 Dil ka Muamla Jo (Salamat Ali)

06 Lutf Woh Ishq Mein (Farida Khanum)

07 Loota ke Rah-e-Mohabbat Mein (Anup Jalota)

08 Dil Hi to Hai (Jagjit Singh)

09 Zindagi Kya Hai (Jagjit Singh)

10 Ab ke Tajdeed-e-Wafa. (Mehnaz)

11 Yeh Arzoo Thi. (Amanat Ali Khan)

12 Kaise Kate Din Ratia Balam Bin (Begum Akhtar)

13 Na Kisi ke Aankh ka Noor (Ijaz Hussain Hazarvi)


Masterwork: Amjad Ali Khan and Gangubai Hangal

Finishing off this series (for now; there are still a few more discs I’m trying to locate) with live recordings from Amjad Ali Khan (sarod) and Gangubai Hangal (singing).

I hope you have enjoyed this series.

Track Listing:

01 Composition In Tribute To NCPA (Rupak Taal Live)

02 Raga Shree (Alap, Jor & Jhala Live)

03 Raga Shree (Drut Khyal Live)

04 Raga Bageshri (Gat In Madhyalaya Teental Live)

05 Raga Saraswati Kalyan (Live)

06 Raga Chandradhwani (Gat In Vilambit Teental Live)

07 Raga Kedar (Live)

08 Raga Mishra Piloo (Live)


Track Listing:

01 Raga Kedar – Khyal In Ektal (Ab Kalana Pare Mitawa)

02 Raga Shuddh Sarang – Khyal In Teental (Ab More Baat)

03 Raga Basant – Khyal In Teental (Piya Sang Khelo Hori)

04 Raga Madhuvanti – Khyal In Ektal (Man Sakhi Mora)

05 Raga Mian Ki Todi – Khyal In Ektal & Teental (Danga Patah Dum)

GHangal LIVE

Masterwork: Vilayat Khan

Vilayat Ali Khan

Vilayat Ali Khan was Ravi Shankar‘s great peer and rival. And in the view of his fans, the greater musician. He was also a man of wealth and taste (to lift a phrase from another genre of music).

A stunning recording is shared today. Enjoy.


Masterwork: M.L. Vasanthkumari

M.L. Vasantkumari

Madras Lalitangi Vasanthakumari (popularly referred to as MLV) (3 July 1928 – 31 October 1990) was a Carnatic musician and playback singer for film songs in many Indian languages. [Full biography here]


Track Listing:

01 Raga Bhairavi (Viriboni)

02 Raga Hamsadhwani (Gam Ganapathey)

03 Raga Suddha Saveri (Daarini Telusukonti)

04 Raga Saveri (Ragam Tanam Pallavi)

05 Raga Chenchurati (Sundara Mooruthi Mukhya Praana)

06 Raga Lalit (Stanzas From The Ashtalakshmi Stotra)

07 Raga Shivaranjani (Ugabhoga & Emanelli Kaananendhu Kela Beda)

08 Ragamalika (Paayum Oli Nee Enakku)

09 Ragamalika In Tamil (Oru Tharam Sharavanabhavaa Enru)

MLVasanthakumari NCPA

Masterwork: M.S. Subbalakhsmi

M.S. Subbalakhsmi

There is no more beloved or well regarded Carnatic singer than M.S. Subbalakhsmi.

Born in the temple town of Madurai on the 16th of September in 1916, M.S. Subbulakshmi was introduced to music at a young age by her mother. Her mother Shanmukavadiver Ammal, who belonged to the Devadasi community, used to play Veena and was a regular stage performer. This exposed M.S. Subbulakshmi to a lot of music concerts and artistes – the likes of Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavathar and Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar who deeply inspired her young mind.

Subbulakshmi mastered the nuances of Carnatic music under the tutelage of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. At the same time, she also learned Hindustani music under the famous vocalist Pandit Narayanrao Vyas. 

The young prodigy gave her first public performance, at the age of eleven, in 1927, in the Rockfort Temple, Tiruchirappalli along with legendary accompanying artists Mysore Chowdiah on the violin and Dakshinamurthy Pillai on the mridangam. At the young age of 13, in 1929, she also gave her first performance at the prestigious Madras Music Academy, Chennai. This was a breakthrough performance that won her many accolades and praises. [Full biography]

Another interesting article on how a young Subbalakhsmi broke convention and refused to marry the man her parents had selected for her, in preference to following her muse.

Track Listing:

01 Raga Hamsadhwani – Guruvandanam, Vathapi Ganapathim

02 Raga Hamsanadam – Bantureethi

03 Raga Suddha Saveri – Siraiyaarum Madakkiliye

04 Raga Keeravani – Sri Chandrashekharam Aashraye

05 Raga Varali – Marakathamani Varna

06 Raga Kapi – Pillangoviya Cheluva Krishnana

07 Raga Kurinji – Aliveni [Padam]

08 Raga Mishra Jogiya – Ghadi Ek Nahi – Bhajan

Disc 2

01 Raga Bhairavi – Kamakshi [Swarajathi]

02 Raga Suddha Saveri – Paripaalinchumani

03 Raga Dwijavanthi – Chetah Sri Balakrishnam Bhajan

04 Raga Kalyani – Nidhi Chala Sukhama

05 Raga Manirangu – Jaya Jaya Padmanabha

06 Raga Huseni – Iyal Isai

07 Raga Jaunpuri – Puchhat Shyam Kaun Tu Gori

08 Raga Kanada – Adhirum Kazhal Panindhu