27 January 2010

The Malkauns Identity sounds like a Bollywood thriller. No no...

"It has been said that Malkauns [Scale: C Eb F Ab Bb] is a raga for becoming a complete human being," writes sitarist Amit Chatterjee in the booklet of his Singing String CD (broadcast next week). "Though simple in structure, it expresses the extraordinary state of being, particularly being human, an incarnation where the heavenly and earthly qualities converge."

Kohlberg's stages of moral development
, anyone? Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg suggested individuals pass through six (maybe seven) stages of moral development, from "blind egoism" through to "morality of cosmic orientation". Can music be your guide through these levels of being? And if music affects the individual, it must affect society, right? Somehow, I figure, even the cosmically-oriented retain the foibles and weaknesses of human nature.

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

1. Raga Koushiki (rec. 1996)
Rash Behari Datta - sitar, unknown - tabla
The Art of the Indian Sitar
ARC Music, EUCD 1384
(I'm pretty sure this is Malkauns, with an added 5th. I've got to listen a little more carefully.)

2. Raga Sampooran Malkauns (rec. 1991)
Kishori Amonkar - voice, Sultan Khan - sarangi, Balkrishna Iyer - tabla
Music Today, CD A-91006
(Malkauns with an added 5th and 2nd. It's a little like stumbling on Bach's solo violin suites for the first time, Hindustani classical vocal: challenging listening for the uninitiated.)

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

3. Mrdangam solo in adi tala (rec. 1990)
Trichy Sankaran - mrdangam [double-sided drum], Lalitha Sankaran - tanpura, Andrew Timar - finger cymbals
Laya Vinyas: The South Indian Drumming of Trichy Sankaran
Music of the World, MOW120
(Nothing like a lively mrdangam solo to get the sludge moving in one's veins.)

4. Raga Malkauns (rec. 1990)
Ajoy Chakrabarty - voice, Sultan Khan - sarangi, Samar Saha - tabla, Biresh Roy - harmonium, Loveleena Labroo - tanpura
Navras Records, NRCD 0011
(Ajoy Chakrabarty hot-dogs it, demonstrating how pitch changes result in different ragas.)

5. Raga Malkauns
Vijay Raghav Rao - bansuri flute, Alla Rakha - tabla
Ravi Shankar Presents Native Flute Music of India
Legacy International, CD 482
(Malkauns is kinda spooky. The Raga Guide says "superstitious musicians describe it as a raga with supernatural powers, and some believe that it can attract evil spirits". Who said that personal growth was a walk in the park? Tune in next week for Malkauns Part II.)

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