13 January 2010

All Desh, all the time. I am, in the original sense of the word, an amateur of Hindustani classical music. Others have written more informatively about today’s featured ragas.

The melodic framework of each raga is carefully thought-out. A creative deviation from the rules gets you a related, but entirely different, composition. Today we start in Desh/Desh Malhar (which may or may not be the same raga) and move to Jaijaivanti with lashings of Eb.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:30am

1. Raga Desh (rec. 1990)
Amjad Ali Khan - sarod, Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari - tabla, Asawari Pawar - tanpura
Touch of Class
Audiorec Records, ACCD 1009
(Ascent is pentatonic: C D F G B (C). Descent is scalar: C Bb A G F E D C. Lots of legato passages. Playtime: late night.)

2. Raga Desh (rec. 1996)
Snehasish Mozumder - mandolin, Subhem Chatterjee - tabla
Mandolin Dreams: Indian Mandolin & Tabla
Latitudes, LT 50605

3. Raga Desh Malhar
Aashish Khan - sarod
Rainy Season Ragas
Chhanda Dhara, SNCD 70394
(So what exactly is the difference between Desh and Desh Malhar? The latter has a more florid ascent and descent, and plays fast and loose with B-natural/Bb. Playtime: Rainy season.)

Set #2 - 9:30am - 11:00am

4. Raga Jaijaivanti (rec. 1999)
Asad Ali Khan - rudra vina, Mohan Shyam Sharma - pakhavaj [double-sided drum], Zaki Haider - tanpura
Nimbus Records, NI 5601
(Sorry, I misled you: this is an older version of Jaijaivanti with no Eb, but it does share some phrases and other characteristics with Desh. The rudra vina is striking in its low register, resonating with the gonads to an extraordinary degree. This performance is the North Indian equivalent of a late Beethoven string quartet.)

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