Dadar Concert, August 13, 2013

Ragas Purvi, Nayaki Kanada, Khamaj (Tappa-ang thumri), and a Sindhi lok-geet — all performed in what appeared to be the world’s largest shower stall. With Mukta Raste – tabla, and Ravindra Lomate – harmonium. Thanks to Nandu Dhaneshwar and Neela Bhagwat for arranging this program at Shivaji Park Nagarik Sangh.

Music videos are below the fold:

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Toronto Concert, July 20, 2013

Toronto, June 20, 2013. Ragas Kamod, Nayaki Kanada, Pahadi, Bhairavi. With Ravi Naimpally on tabla and Raya Bidaye on harmonium, performing under the auspices of Toronto’s Raga Mala society.

Music videos below the fold:

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Pune Concert, August 11, 2013

A mehfil at a private residence in Pune, with Chaitanya Kunte on harmonium and Milind Pote on tabla. A dream team of accompanists, and made more special by the presence in the audience of Rajeev, Medha, and Eeshan Devasthali. A lovely evening.

Here are ragas Chhayanat, Bihagada, Jayant Kanada, Khamaj, Gorakh Kalyan and Bhairavi. There are some other short items which I haven’t posted yet.

Music videos below the fold:

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78 rpm Records of Indian Music: Abdul Aziz Khan

I’m gradually getting more of my collection of Hindustani 78 rpm records digitized and uploaded.

Here are two performances by the vichitra veena player Abdul Aziz Khan, of the ragas Darbari Kanada and Bageshri.

On both recordings the Ustad can be heard giving himself daad when he plays something nice. It’s a fascinating look at the artist’s mind in its relation to the listeners; he needed to have rasikas enjoying his music for it to have any meaning — and since it was just him and the tabla player in the room, he provided his own feedback as needed.

More to come. I have hundreds of these recordings and I plan on getting them all uploaded in the next year or so.

Singing For The Planet: Warren Senders’ Set

Here is my complete set from the “Singing For The Planet” concert. Priti Chakravarty – harmonium, Akshay Navaladi – tabla, Harriotte Hurie – tamboura.

Raga Puriya – three-part khyal performance.

Vilambit Ektaal: Eri malaniyaa begi gunde laawori phulan ke harawa / Bela chameli gulab daru bane ke garawa (traditional composition)
Madhya Tintaal: Main to kaari aayi piya sanga rangaraliyaa / main vaari jaat pan ghat ke ghaat // Ek to dar mohe saas nananda ko / duje duraniyaa jaitaniyaa sataave / nisa din Prem Piya ki baat hai (composition by Ut. Faiyaaz Khan)
Drut Ektaal: tarana (composition by Pt. S.G. Devasthali)

Jyuda Kinjo Dolna (“How My Heart Sways”) – Pahadi folksong
Jyuda kinjo dolna ho manda kinjo bolna / karle mane diyo mauja jinde // Harapur, Nurapur thandiyana chhavaa / maaya balocheda yaar balocheda, hai thaan thaan ho // Chhand mhara chadaiyaa pipari ne ohale / chhand mhara dole, chhand mhara bole, nai aan aan ho

Thinking About Palta Exercises

More of the material from my long-ago interview with my student Brian O’Neill. Here, I discuss the permutational practice routines known as Palta Exercises.

Hindustani musicians already know what I’m talking about. Western musicians will describe them as short phrases transposed up and down a scale: 123, 234, 345, 456, etc.

Paltas can be practiced within ragas, of course, but they are also useful for practicing ear-training and pattern manipulation inside scales.

To clarify the distinction: a palta in Raga Bhimpalasi would accommodate the omission of the second and sixth degrees in ascent, and the inclusion of these notes on the way down. Violating the raga’s rules of motion is off the table. On the other hand, a palta in Kafi Thaat (the Dorian mode, if you will) would not have any such restrictions.

Here’s a useful way to do paltas:

Pick a scale — any scale, preferably one that has 7 notes. Take a single short pattern (let’s call it a “cell”), and transpose it up and down in the scale.

For example:

S N S / R S R / G R G / M G M / P M P / D P D / N D N / S N S
N D N / D P D / P M P / M G M / G R G / R S R / S N S

And once you’ve memorized it, then do another pattern.

S N D / R S N / G R S / M G R / P M G / D P M / N D P / S N D
S R G / N S R / D N S / P D N / M P D / G M P / R G M / S R G…

Again, do that for 10 minutes.

And then alternate the two patterns, one after the other. Do it all from memory.

Then combine the two patterns:

S N S / S N D
R S R / R S N
G R G / G R S
M G M /M G R
P M P / P M G
etc., over as much of a range as you feel comfortable singing or playing.

Then try combining the two in the other order:

S N D / S N S
R S N / R S R
G R S / G R G
M G R / M G M
P M G / P M P
etc.

Try doing two iterations of the first “cell” and one of the second:

S N S / S N S / S N D
R S R / R S R / R S N
G R G / G R G / G R S
etc.

Begin making up your own combinations of cell sequences, always using your memory to keep the material fresh in your mind’s ear.

Try, instead of alternating cells, alternating successive notes of the two different cells. S N S / S N D thus becomes S S N N S D; S N D / S N S becomes S S N N D S.

Instrumentalists should be singing these patterns as well as playing them. It is also a very good exercise to sing while fingering them on your instrument (without activating it in any other way). This builds a powerful cognitive link between instrument and voice that pays off in future fluency and expressiveness.

Playing for the Planet: Warren Senders’ set

When I first got the idea for the “Playing for the Planet” concert, I knew instantly that I wanted to sing these three compositions in Raga Gorakh Kalyan. I will update later on with the complete text and meaning; tonight I just want to get this posted before I go to sleep.

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