Raag Taal Gharana Music

How ragas follow the clock

Mewati Gharana vocalist Rattan Mohan Sharma

Mewati Gharana vocalist Rattan Mohan Sharma  

‘8 Prahar’, a specially-curated festival that explores the time-raga link in Hindustani music

As the clock ticks through the day, Hindustani music takes on different hues. Since the raags have been set based on time, musicians structured concerts accordingly. Raags sung at the time specified is said to have an added impact on the listeners.

Over the years, this connect between time and raag have lost its relevance as concerts are held usually in the evenings. ‘8 Prahar’, an annual classical event that features concerts through the day, at different prahars (time divisions of day), has been trying to introduce contemporary audience to this traditional link.

“It is one of the longest classical music festival that is presented as per tradition,” says Durga Jasraj, who has conceptualised ‘8 Prahar’.

Thirty four musicians, participating in this event, will showcase the uniqueness of each prahar through raags associated with it.

The formidable line-up of vocalists include Ulhas Kashalkar, Kalapini Komkali, Rattan Mohan Sharma, Parveen Sultana, Venkatesh Kumar, Sanjeev Chimmalgi, Shubha Mudgal, Pandit Jasraj, Gundecha Brothers, Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, and Jayateerth Mevundi.

“The entire structure of music in India is based on the time frame — divided into two parts — from sunrise to sunset and from sunset to sunrise. Each part is then divided into four further sub-parts called a 'prahar', comprising three hours each. Based on the division of 'prahars', in Hindustani music every raga is designed to be performed during a particular 'prahar'. The performance of a particular raga at a particular time enhances its aesthetic effects, creating a positive impact on the mind and soul,” says Shashi Vyas, director and founder of Pancham Nishad Creatives that has been presenting the event since its inception.

Hindustani stalwart Venkatesh Kumar

Hindustani stalwart Venkatesh Kumar  

Venkatesh Kumar, a Hindustani stalwart from Dharwad, stresses on both the learners and listeners knowing what makes up a raag. “Though we do not now realise the importance time plays in the making of a raag, but when you sing or listen to it at the specified hour you will definately experience it,” says the senior vocalist.

“We need to have classical music festivals that focuses on old-world values. The next generation of learners have to be made aware of how these values are integral in internalising an art form,” he points out.

Rattan Mohan Sharma, a front-ranking vocalist of the Mewati Gharana and Pt. Jasraj’s nephew, feels it is important to make the audience aware of the traditional nuances that make up the classical music system.

“With cross-genre exercises becoming the order of the day, we seem to be losing touch with authentic expressions. Since I have grown up listening to Sangeet Martand Pt. Jasraj and have trained under him, I know what it means to not deviate from one’s artistic roots. Why do you think at the age of 90 he is still a celebrated musician? Because he has been pursuing the art in all its purity. I am excited about performing in ‘8 Prahar’ since it is an effort to highlight a significant aspect of Hindustani music,” says Sharma.

‘8 Prahar’ will be held on November 10 at the Shanmukhananda Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Auditorium, Mumbai.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:52:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/how-ragas-follow-the-clock/article29910408.ece

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