Ragamala Vol. 7: Yaman/Kalyani

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This volume of variations on raga Yaman opens with a modern jazz-influenced rendition by the Neel Murgai Ensemble.  A New York based ‘chamber’ quartet led by sitarist Murgai, NME creates intricate, finely spiced musical atmospheres that draw on Indian classical, jazz, and gypsy music.

Also included is bansuri master Pannalal Ghosh‘s beloved Yaman, a couple of film songs from Umrao Jan Ada (1981) and Junglee (1961), Farida Khanum’s spectacular romantic ghazal Woh Mujh Se Hoay Humkalam Allah Allah as well as interpretations in a Western classical and contemporary jazz setting.

Yaman, also known as Kalyani, is by Indian classical music standards a relatively un-ancient raga. It first emerged in the 16th century with some claiming it was a composition of Mian Tansen and that he based it upon a Persian structure known as ‘Ei Man’. In Pakistan and Afghanistan the raga is often referred to as Eeman (in many varied spellings) and I have concluded this collection with a wonderful Afghan take on the raga  by Ustad Mohammad Omar, the famous rubab player.

Yaman emerged from the parent musical style of Kalyan, itself a style of classical Carnatic musical tradition called thaat. Considered to be one of the most fundamental ragas in the Hindustani Classical tradition, it is thus often one of the first ragas taught to students. In the context of traditional standards of performance, Yaman ragas are considered suitable to play at any time of the day, but they are traditionally performed in the evening. (Wikipedia).

Given its close relationship to Carnatic music the centerpiece of this collection is a stunning live recital by South Indian/Sri Lankan violinist L. Subramaniam and shenai nawaz Ustad Bismillah Khan. Listen carefully to this piece and to the playfulness, mastery and virtuosity of both musicians as they play off each other. It delights and enshivers!

Rudresh Mahantappa‘s group Dakshina Ensemble which features South Indian saxophone innovator Kadri Gopalnath and Pakistani American guitar whiz Rez Abbasi also explores the Carnatic original in their massive track Kalyani.

I hope you enjoy this collection as much I do!

Yaman

Track Listing:

01 Evening In A_ Raga Yaman [Neel Murgai Ensemble]

02 Raga Yaman [Pannalal Ghosh]

03 Zindagi Jab Bhi [Talat Aziz]

04 Raga Yaman [L Subramaniam and Bismillah Khan]

05 Yaman Kalyan (Largo moderato)[ Zubin Mehta and Ravi Shankar]

06 Ehsan Tera Hoga Mujhpar [Mohmmad Rafi]

07 Raga Emen Kalyan [Pt. Pratap Narayan and Kankana Banerjee]

08 Kalyani [Rudresh Mahantappa and Dakshina Ensemble]

09 Woh Mujh Se Hoay Humkalam Allah Allah [Farida Khanum]

10 Shakal and naghma in the melodic mode of Emen (Yaman) [Ustad Mohammad Omar]

YAMAN

Son of Rampur: Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan

Nawab Kalb-e-Ali Khan of Rampur

Nawab Kalb-e-Ali Khan of Rampur

The Rampur Sahaswan gharana find its origins in Mehboob Khan, the chief khyal singer the royal court of Rampur State (in present Uttar Pradesh), his tradition was followed by his son Inayat Hussain Khan (1849–1919) and in turn by Inayat’s brother-in-laws, Haider Khan (1857-1927), and Mushtaq Hussain Khan (d. 1964) , thus all the singers were connected with each other, and gharana was named after their ancestral place, Sahaswan, in present Badaun district.

The style has influences of the Dhrupad singing typical of the Gwalior gharana, and the Rampur-Shahaswan style is sometimes regarded as an off-shoot of the Gwalior gharana.

The Rampur-Sahaswan gayaki (style of singing) is closely related to the Gwalior Gharana, which features medium-slow tempos, a full-throated voice and intricate rhythmic play. The gharana style is also known for the diversity and intricacy of the taans (rapidfire elaborations), as well as tarana singing.

Ghulam Sadiq Khan is a prominent exponent of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana. He was initiated into music at the age of nine by his father Ustad Ghulam Jafar Khan who was an Indian sarangi player. Later, he continued his training under the guidance of Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana and the first recipient of the Padma Bhushan award in India.

Ghulam sadiqUstad Ghulam Sadiq Khab specializes in the khayal vocal style and also sings thumri, dadra, and bhajans. He has performed in India and abroad in the U.K., Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Afghanistan. He is a top graded artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan (TV).

During the course of his career he has educated many disciples, including Jaspinder Narula (a Bollywood playback singer) and his son, Ghulam Abbas Khan who is a khayal and ghazal vocalist. He worked as Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Music at the University of Delhi.

In 2005, he received the Padma Shri (India’s fourth highest award) for his contribution to Indian classical music. (Wikipedia)

Though not as well known and regarded as other classical singers of the current generation, I find there is lots of love about the voice and singing style of Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan. He has a wonderful range and is especially exciting at the lower end of his register. There is also a gentleness, even a softness, to his tone which suits the material of this collection, much of it built around thumri, perfectly.

The more I listen to this record the more I love it.  I hope you do too.

Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan_0001

Track Listing:

01 Raga Abhogi

02 Raga Gaud Malhar

03 Raga Basant

04 Raga Durga

05 Raga Desh

06 Raga Lalit

07 Raga Shahana

08 Raga Madhukaus

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