For this fourth volume of Sant Kabir’s music we move away from slick pop production to the classical and semi-classical world. This collection is really quite impressive. A double CD of over 2 hours of music performed by a diverse group of India’s (Abida Parveen is the sole Pakistani represented) top rung classical singers.
The CD opens with a bhajan (Bhajo re Man) sung by brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra which from the very opening taal locks into a trance-inducing rhythm powered by their powerful voices and a supportive tabla. The brothers represent the Benaras gharana, Kabir’s purported city of birth so this track is especially meaningful. This is followed by Ustad Rashid Khan, arguably India’s greatest living classical singer, singing Dukh mein Sumiran
Dukh Mein Simran Sab Kare, Sukh Mein Kare Na Koye
Jo Sukh Mein Simran Kare, Tau Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye
In anguish everyone prays to Him,
in joy does none
To One who prays in happiness,
how can sorrow come
And so the music flows. Incredibly high quality singing, wonderful arrangements and diverse styles. The scholar, entrepreneur and artist Shubha Mudgal contributes two tracks as does Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar whose records should always be sought out. He is one of my favourite bhajan masters. Here he contributes a surprising (complete with piano, drums and guitar) interpretation of one of Kabir’s most beloved dohe, Mano Laago Mero Yaar
जो सुख पावो राम भजन में,
सो सुख नाही अमीरी में ॥
The ecstasy I get from chanting God’s name/is greater than the pleasure I find in riches
Abida Parveen‘s stunning Sahib Mera Ek Hai (see earlier post) opens the second CD which in some way is the more interesting of the two if you are looking for a bit of change up in styles. The CD ends up a very almost jaunty rendition of Jhini Jhini Chadariya by Rekha Bhardwaj.
Just dip into this collection at any point and you’ll be sucked in, blown away and elevated to another plane. This is true devotional music. Mystical music that comes from the spirit but resonates with our very human, pumping and aching hearts.
A five star compilation.
01 Bhajo re Man
02 Dukh Mein Sumiran
03 Na Kachu Ram Bina
04 Mero Haar Heraano
05 Beet Gaye Din
06 Mano Laago Mero Yaar
01 Sahib Mera ek Hai
02 Amarpur le Chal ho Sajna
03 Saeen Bina Darad Kareje Hoye
04 Rehna Nahi
05 Bhajo re Bhaiya
06 Jhini Jhini Chadariya