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  • Writer's pictureAkhil Jobanputra

Program Guide | Summer Sounds @ Queensborough Community Centre

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, which is what will be presented today. 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 Desi Todi

Raga Desi Todi, also known just as Desi, has a non-linear melodic form that is friendly to jumps and glides. 'Desi' means "of the land", "local/regional", and "indigenous". It consists of komal (flattened) ga, both shuddha (unaltered) and komal dha, and komal ni. The rest of its notes are shuddha. It has shades of playfulness and solemness, therefore providing contrasting emotive experiences.

Song-Text #1: Mhare Dere Avo | Vilambit Tintala (slow-paced 16-beat rhythmic cycle) | Traditional

Meaning: Come towards me, O Great King! Play the lute mirroring my emotions! Play it, O Great King!

Just convey these few words to 'Sadaranga'. Tell him to play the lute very sweetly! Please play, O Great King!

Song-Text #2: Madho Mukunda Murari Banavari | Drut Tintala (fast-paced 16-beat rhythmic cycle) | Akhil Jobanputra

Meaning: O Honey-like Liberator, Foe of the Demon Mura, One who Lives in the Forests of Vrindavana, who lifted the Goverdhan hill with your finger! You are dark as rainclouds and are very beautiful. As you play your flute everyone's minds rejoice while drinking the aesthetic nectar of the ragas.

You dance with your companion Radha in the forests of Vrindavana. You both make a cute couple - like the moon and the chukar partridge. You conjure the mystical dance of union together, while drinking the aesthetic nectar of the ragas.

Khayal | Raga Shuddha Nat

A speciality raga of the Jaipur-Atrauli lineage, this raga can be found in many different variations. The version I will present has all shuddha notes with the note "ni" entirely absent in both ascending and descending movements. It reminds me of a gentle breeze.

Song-Text #1: Akhana Mori Lage | Vilambit Tintala (slow-paced 16-beat rhythmic cycle) | Traditional

Meaning: Our eyes have not met, my beloved. Without our eyes meeting I'm unable to be at peace. And the rain starts to pour.

He doesn't listen to anyone's words. He doesn't hurry to me. It seems like he is afraid of me, his lover.

Song-Text #2: Aba Kaise Kara Aun Ri | Drut Ektala (fast-paced 12-beat rhythmic cycle) | Mogubai Kurdikar

Meaning: How will I come to you? I'm not at peace without being with you.

My heart thirsts to witness you. 'Ahmadpiya' please let me see you.

Shabad | Raga Mishra Madhmad Sarang

A shabad or gurbani is a hymn from sacred Sikh scripture typically from the central holy scripture of the faith, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Song-Text #1: Jogi Andar Jogiya | Madhyalaya Keherwa (medium-paced 8-beat rhythmic cycle) | Baiju Bawra

Meaning: Among Yogis, You are the Yogi; Among pleasure seekers, You are the Pleasure Seeker. Your limits are not known to any of the beings in the heavens, in this world, or in the nether regions of the underworld. I am devoted, dedicated, a sacrifice to Your Name.

You created the world, and assigned tasks to one and all. You watch over Your Creation, and through Your All-powerful Creative Potency, You cast the dice.

You are manifest in the Expanse of Your Workshop. Everyone longs for Your Name, but without the Guru, no one finds You. All are enticed and trapped by Illusion.

I am a sacrifice to the Truth. Realizing this, the supreme status is obtained. The angelic beings and the silent sages long for this realization; the True Guru has given me this understanding.

How is the Fellowship of the Saints to be known? There, the Name of the One Lord is chanted. The One Name is the Lord's Command; O Nanak, the True Guru has given me this understanding.

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