Four excavated gems

Presented here are a few precious songs painstakingly dug out from my collection of old vinyl records, specially on requests from readers of this blog. Believe me, it took me a couple of days to find these nuggets.

Barkat Ali Khan – Pilu – Kaisa Jadu Daala :  Download

Faiyaz Khan – Bhairavi – Bajuband Khul Khul Jaye :  Download

Siddheshwari Devi – Dadra – Kaun Albele Kinare Jhamajham :  Download

Vilayat Hussain Khan – Patdeep – Rasiya Re :  Download



Gharana tradition : Agra

This may surprise many, but it is true. More than a century ago, a certain Raga or Bandish (composition) was considered the ‘property’ of a particular Gharana. That is, the Raga in question would be known only to the musicians of that Gharana and to no one else. This would be especially true if the Raga was created in the Gharana. It was the custom to occasionally ‘gift’ a Raga or Bandish as dowry to a son-in-law. In this way, many Ragas found their way into Gharanas where the Raga had not been in existence before. If the recipient or new ‘owner’ of the Raga was a musician of another Gharana, he would naturally be guided by his own background conditioning in presenting this ‘received’ Raga. This would quite conceivably cause some variation in the Raga, that might remain mild or even become heightened with the passage of time.

Agra Gharana, one of the more popular Gharanas, places great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant. Many vocalists of this Gharana have adopted a certain falsetto tone in their singing that oozes of masculinity. Once considered a domain of male singers, Agra Gharana is now followed by many eminent and newer female vocalists.

Faiyaz Khan – Dadra – Pardesa Na Jaiyo :  Download

Vilayat Hussain Khan – Kafi Hori – Kaun Tarahse Tum Khelat Hori :  Download

Latafat Hussain Khan – Bageshri Bahar – Ja Re Ja Kagwa :  Download

Sharafat Hussain Khan – Raga Ramkali – Un Sang Laagi :  Download

Apart from the above doyens of the Gharana, the more famous names of Agra Gharana include Khadim Hussain Khan, Dinkar Kaikini, Lalith Rao, Jitendra Abhisheki, Ravi Kichlu and many more. As with other Gharanas, the list is long.

.. more songs of other Gharanas »


Ja Kaga Ja : Go Crow Go

In India, the common house crow (kaga or kagwa in hindi) is a widespread resident, except in high altitudes and dense forests. It is wholly dependent on human habitation for it’s survival. This highly vocal bird is seemingly unafraid of humans. Aggressive, it will attack and chase off any large bird of prey. Strangely, the crow has been given a place of pride in our classical music. For reasons unknown it has played the role of a lover’s messenger (“Ja Kaga Ja“), which in many a lyrical khayals, is even promised a ‘gold plated beak’ in return of favours rendered (“Ab Ke Sawan Ghar Aaja“). Pigeons, the otherwise commonly known messenger birds, have been given a back seat here.

Vilayat Hussain Khan – Raga Bageshri Bahar :  (Download)

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan – Raga Desi :  (Download)

Begum Akhtar – Raga Pahadi :  (Download)

Pandit Jasraj – Raga Bilaskhani Todi :  (Download)

Shruti Sadolikar – Raga Desi :  (Download)

Parween Sultana – Raga Pahadi :  (Download)

Almost all vocalists have pleaded with this glossy black bird to pass on a message, in all Ragas possible, Raga Desi, Bageshri and Pahadi being the more common ones, although other Ragas are not being discounted.

Comments are welcome.