Friday, July 17, 2009

No-frills music!

We live in a digital era and it is getting increasingly difficult to make out whether a medium is original or has been 'digitally reorganized'. During a recent trip to Jodhpur, we were staying at a little resort called Nirali Dhani. As is usual in Rajasthan, a cultural paegant showing local talent is on show in the evenings. There was a group of singers led by Sabir (playing the harmonium in the clip) who enthralled us for more than an hour with their superb rendering of Rajasthani folk, Sufi music, and the usual smattering of bollywood numbers. There is no microphone, no amplifier, no digital interference. (Yes, it is ironical that I have to resort to using digital means for getting this clip to readers.) The lead singer must be just about 13-14 years old - his singing left us spellbound. His voice spanned all three octaves with equal ease. But the best part was - he was enjoying his singing immensely. It was amazing how his clear sharp voice could easily carry over a long distance.
We couldn't help but fantasize what it would be like to hear this little gem of a singer out in the desert, his voice matching the beauty of the night sky and the sand dunes. Some day I hope to meet Sabir and his group again. He told me he has already toured Israel once and is off to France and other European countries later this year. All the best - Sabir! And thanks for a wonderful musical treat.
Don't miss the beauty of the initial alaap by the little fellow, his boyish enthusiasm at jumping to the first 'sam' and the climactic rhythm accompaniment on 'Khadtaal' at the end. Two days later we also were lucky enough to listen to another group - and this time in the real desert. More about that later. Sorry for the poor video quality. The clip was recorded by Prasad Bharadwaja on his cell phone. Throughout the trip, we were kicking ourselves at not having carried the handycam. That's a lesson - always carry the camera - you never know what you will get!
I have been trying to upload the video file of this (its an .avi file) for the past four days unsuccessfully. Finally managed to extract the audio track from it and posting it here. Is there any techno geek out there who can help me with this? The avi file is about 800 mB - is that too big to post on a blog? I never thought so. Anyway - listen to this.....



10 comments:

Shas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shas said...

Your writeup transported me to another world and i began to feel and imagine the song, sand dunes and the sunset.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Shas - Thanks for the comment. I am sure it is the music that did the transportation trick, not my writeup surely!

iamzero said...

right now again i am feeling guilty for not taking handy cam with me. whatever...

you what's so great about this music... it's innocence!

in this world where everything is competition, these people are just singing, without any wish to prove themselves great.
now, when we see reality shows on singing, what one can notice easily is they have please a certain group of people. they don't want to sing, they want to win. nobody wants to sing. (exception, Marathi saregamapa lil champs. even in this case it happened because those were kids, away from all competition)
now it's hard to find such kind of people who are doing things just because they want to do that. that's why this music touches everybody's heart, even if recorded so badly.

D D said...

I don't know much about classical music, but I can say one thing, this song is really touching! Listening this song in desert must be a great experience!

Pushkaraj said...

@ Iknowiamzero - Thanks for the comment. All I can say is, get your handycam the next time!
@ DD - Thanks, folk music is music at its simplest best. It comes straight from Earth and no wonder it touches the heart.

Mou said...

You play flute??? (ur profile pic) one of my two most favorite instruments. Now you have something to make me jealous ! ;-)

This song is good. I am not into making music, am just a listener, but i enjoy raw crude music that comes from a sole desire to sing.
In birbhum district every year there is a fair, "Jaidev mela". Bengali fakirs from various places gather there. They stay up all night in tents and sing folk songs, mainly "songs for radha and krishna". That environment makes it so beautiful and melodious. Its beautiful. :) I wish you could be turned into a bengali during that time of the year :P I am sure you would have enjoyed it.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Mou - I don't have to turn into a Bong for that. This annual event that you are talking about - is it the gathering of 'Baul' singers - such as the one that happens at Kenduli? I have read about it, and have always wished I could witness it some day. Maybe I will.....

Mou said...

yes u r rite.. thts wat i m talking about ! u already know bout it ! :)

u r one interesting person u know that !
nice knowing you :)

Pushkaraj said...

@ Mou - Thanks, same to you!