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

What Could He Not Do? Ravi Shankar

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What is it that Ravi Shankar, India’s most famous ambassador of culture and good will, did not do? He played all over the world, including in the Kremlin and Woodstock! He made pioneering records with Western classical musicians and composed and recorded his own jazz album (a rare find on the internet).   He fathered two famous beautiful women (Anoushka and Norah) who have millions of fans worldwide

In tonight’s share, a double disc I picked up for a song a few years ago, we learn that he was also involved in films. Both mainstream Indian films of the sort that are today referred to as Bollywood, as well as India’s once upon a time thriving, ‘parallel’ cinema.

Disc 2 is an interesting set of music composed by Shankar for the globally acclaimed Bengali Apu Trilogy, which shot Satyajit Ray to fame in the 1950s. The music is not the main focus here rather the dialogue of some particularly important scenes. There is also a set of songs from the 1960 film Anuradha for which he worked with the lyricist Shailendra. Traditional commercial film music of that era. The film won a number of awards and though Shankar was not awarded for his music the songs all suggest he could have made an entire parallel career as musical director.

Enjoy!

 

 

Disc 11-01 Raga Jog

1-01 Raga Jog

1-02 Raga Ahir Bhairav

1-03 Raga Simhendra Madhyaman

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Disc 2:

2-01 Jaana Kaise Sapanon Main

2-02 Sanwarey, Sanwarey

2-03 Kaise Din Beete, Laise Beeti Ratiya

2-04 Bahut Din Huye

2-05 Haye Re Woh Din Kyun Na Aaye

2-06 The World Of Apu Pt 1

2-07 The World Of Apu, Pt. 2

2-08 The World Of Apu, Pt.3

2-09 The World Of Apu, Part 4

2-10 The World Of Apu, Pt.5

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The Twain Meet: Ravi Shankar and Zubin Mehta

Pandit Ravi Shankar

Pandit Ravi Shankar

I’m off again on an overseas jaunt and not sure what I’ll find in terms of time and internet connectivity, so before I board those silver wings, I’ll share a thirty year old record.

 

Ravi Shankar, who passed less than a year ago, was not just an Ambassador of Indian music to the rest of the world, he was an artist of never-ending creative curiosity.  He collaborated with jazz and rock musicians as well as a number of western classical icons.

 

Zubin Mehta, the Indian born conductor extraordinaire, grew up in a musical environment that included his father Mehli, sitting in with many Indian and international jazz musicians in Bombay, when that sit on the Arabian Sea was a global haven for hot jazz. His father also doubled as the conductor of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra and it was in that atmosphere that Zubin fell in love with western classical music.  Currently, he heads the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as well as serving as musical director of a number of Music Festivals in Europe.

 

This 1981 collaboration saw Shankar compose a Concerto in four parts, each of which was based upon the structure of a particular raga.  The result is quite different from his other famous collaboration with violinist Yehudi Menuhin which in essence had the two classical traditions playing side by side, but not as one.  Here, Shankar’s guitar is the soloing instrument within the context of the New York Philharmonic and as such it is a much more integrated piece of music.

 

Thoroughly enjoyable!

Ravi Zubin front Ravi Zubin back

Track Listing:

  1. Lalit (Presto)
  2. Bairaji (Moderato)
  3. Yaman Kalyan (Largo Moderato)
  4. Mian ka Malhar (Allegro)

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