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  • Writer's pictureAkhil Jobanputra

Program Guide | May Long Weekend @ Burnaby Village Museum

What's Hindustani music?

Hindustani music is one of two major forms of classical or art music found in India today, typically finding its representation across the North of India as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh, with the other major form Carnatic music being represented across the South and Sri Lanka. Khayal is one of the primary subgenres of Hindustani vocal music. It represents a confluence of older musical traditions such as Prabandha, Dhrupada, and Qawwali. It developed an identity of its own in the royal courts of India, beginning with the Delhi Sultanate, and culminating at the courts of the Gaekwad kings of Baroda. It is primarily an improvised form, with the song-text providing a basis for spontaneous musical creation within the grammar of the raga (melodic form) and tala (rhythmic cycle). In modern times, Khayal has continued to evolve as one of the many living Indian performing art traditions practiced today.

What will be presented today?

Khayal | Raga Jaunpuri

Raga Jaunpuri is said to have been created by the last sultan of the Jaunpur Sultanate, Husain Shah Sharqi. It is a popular late morning raga which has the notes 'Ga', 'Dha', and 'Ni' as komal (flattened).

Song-Text #1: Baje Jhanana | Vilambit Tintala (slow-paced 16-beat rhythmic cycle) | Traditional

Meaning: The princess' ankle bells ring "jhanana" as she sways in the courtyard.

My eyes are filled with this image, causing my mind to sway around like a drunken elephant.

Song-Text #2: Phulavana Ki Genda Na Maika Maro | Madhyalaya Tintala (medium-paced 16-beat rhythmic cycle) | Traditional

Meaning: Don't hit me with this ball of marigold flowers, my beloved.

I don't know your name, nor where you come from. With whom will I speak?

Song-Text #3: Aja Kahe Manavana Aye | Drut Ektala (fast-paced 12-beat rhythmic cycle) | Pandit Arun Kashalkar 'Rasadasa'

Meaning: Why have you come to placate me? Which rival of mine have you been with?

You tell me lies. You never ask of my news. Go, go, 'Rasadasa' (servant of desire). I will not listen to you.

Bengali Thumri | Raga Mishra Pilu

Thumri is another subgenre of Hindustani vocal music. It conveys the message and scene of the poetry through melodic variations by going subtly in-and-out of the core landscape of the raga. Therefore, the raga name is prefixed with 'Mishra' connoting a flexible approach to its structure. Content-wise the poetry is often evocative, romantic, and meant to tug at ones heartstrings.

Song-Text #1: Jochona Koreche Ari | Madhyalaya Dadra (medium-paced 6-beat rhythmic cycle) | Robi Guha Mazumder

Meaning: The moon is crossed, so she does not come to my residence. She passes through the lanes around my home leaving behind her white sari (moonlight).

My heart becomes heavy as this enchanting beauty doesn't tell me how to let go of her.

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