Kasur (also spelt Qasur), a small town near Lahore, Pakistan, is in a region which was famous for the ‘melody in its air and soil’. A large number of Sufi saints spread their message of love in the area. Their lives were imbued with music and they often presided over baithaks of rich classical fare. The great poet Bulleh Shah was from these parts and gave to the world his priceless sufiana kalam. The region saw the advent and growth of a great cultural era in which the dhrupad and khayal styles flourished along with the beautiful kafi, tappa and the rich folk music of the region.
It was from this ambience that Ustad Ali Baksh Khan and Ustad Kale Khan, with their abundant talent, brought to Patiala the fragrance, beauty and elegance of their own well established gharana of Kasur. From this fusion, emerged a powerful and melodious gayaki which was emphasized, clear and with meaningful bols, sparkling tans, intricate layakari and gamak. Genres of thumri and ghazal have a special place in this gharana. At the turn of the 20th century, Ali Baksh Khan was blessed with a son who was later to become the legendary Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Other sons followed – Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan and Ustad Aman Ali Khan. All these brothers, greatly inspired by the beauty of their inherited style, made their own invaluable Patiala-Kasurgayaki.
Bade Ghulam Ali Khan – Thumri – Ab Tohe Jane Nahi Dun :
Ajoy Chakrabarty – Thumri – Kaisee Bajayee Re Shyam :
Jagdish Prasad – Thumri – Chanchal Naar Dodhari Kataria :
Parween Sultana – Khayal – Det Badhai Sain Ko :
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (1901-1968) was a giant in the world of music who brought the Patiala-Kasurgayaki to the international stage. His singing was chiseled by years of devoted riyaz and infused with his phenomenal creativity in an endless striving towards perfection. His was a full throated, highly cultivated and melodious voice in which he rendered intricate layakari with ease and dignified finesse. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s contribution to the khayal thumri form was phenomenal and full of creativity. He also created the magnificent Surmandal, an instrument that has today become popular with most leading vocalists of the country.
Continuing with my Random Songs series, presented here in this post are a few songs that I picked up from here and there while surfing the web, and also while hanging out on various music forums. These are excellent songs, a couple of them from the great maestros and the rest from our younger vocalists.
Mallikarjun Mansur – Sughrai – Piya Banjara :
Ajoy Chakrabarty – Deshkar – Ayi Ri Badariya Sawan Ki :
Manjiri Asanare – Adana – Rang Rang Mukh Pe Mat Phenko :
Meeta Pandit – Bilaskhani Todi – Baje Boondariya :
The beauty and speciality of Indian classical music is its unplanned improvisation. This aspect of our music comes out at its best in a live concert. Because, the instant reaction of the audience is very inspiring for the musician. It is not unusual if two performing musicians have a brief tete-a-tete with each other and even with the audience during the concert. Wah! Kya Baat Hai (Wow! Great), is a phrase, used very commonly by almost every vocalist and instrumentalist for the accompanying Tabla player and vice versa. It is an expression of admiration and appreciation exclaimed by one musician to the other. Some anecdotes, moments of nostalgia, a bit of humour, brief explanation of the Raga that is being rendered, a few words in praise of the Guru, all these are ingredients that make an informal Indian classical music concert unforgettable and unique in the world.
Ajoy Chakrabarty – Pilu – Kate Na Biraha Ki Raat (56:39) :
Padma Talwalkar – Thumri – Kaise Kate Din Ratiyan (12:53) :
Most connoisseurs of art feel this strong urge to display their own preferences and taste in that particular art form. Almost everytime, deep inside them, they wish to see nods of approval from others, that their taste is indeed perfect and deserving of a true evaluator. Here are some more gems from my favourite playlist of Hindustani classical music, subject to your nods ..and nudges, of course.
No festival of India is such an important constituent of our traditional classical and folk music as Holi. This festival of colors, is one that adorns our lives with the synergy of celebrative air and music. This joyous festival is in tune with the gaiety of the spring season when this festival is held. The windswept, withering, winter scene is truly dabbed away with the vibrant colors of blossoming flowers heralding spring, a time for the earth to rejuvenate. The refreshing southern breeze successfully chases out the chilly northern wind, in the Hindu month of ‘Phalgun‘. The fervor, fun and frolic of the festival reflect the essence of harvest and hope.
Ajoy Chakrabarty – Aaj Phagua Mein Hori Machi Hai :
Girija Devi & Shobha Gurtu – Bhijoyi Mori Chunari :
Ghulam Mustafa Khan – Piya Sang Khelun Hori :
Channulal Mishra – Barjori Karo Na Mose Hori Mein :