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ITC SRA News - September 2002 - August 2003


25th Anniversary Celebrations - Raga Parikrama

Twenty five years ago, ITC Sangeet Research Academy was created with a vision of nurturing and propagating Hindustani Classical music. This dream has matured over the last two and a half decades and has given birth to one of the premier music institutions of India. It is perhaps the only one of its kind where the pupil lives under the same roof with his teacher and undergoes rigorous training for several years in the true guru shishya parampara. ITC SRA is justifiably proud of the maestros that it has produced such as Ajoy Chakraborty, Rashid Khan, Mashkoor Ali Khan, Arun Bhaduri, Shubhra Guha etc. Its coveted panel of gurus include, in addition to some of these maestros, Ulhas Kashalkar, Buddhadev Das Gupta, Abdul Rashid Khan, A Kanan and Malabika Kanan.
Ideally the shishya would completely surrender at the guru's feet, but the new age shishya has many a query and is looking for a logical end to all his questions. Keeping in mind the present situation, in addition to its annual conferences, ITC SRA aims at organizing seminars, workshops and lecture demonstrations throughout the year. It will bring together noted musicians and musicologists of the country to gather information on a holistic basis and disseminate such information among its scholars in an objective logical manner. It also will publish the proceedings of these seminars for wider dissemination.
To start off our 25th year celebrations, we organized a seminar, Rag Parikrama on the 7th, 8th and 9th of August 2003. It was unique in its kind as it not only discussed all varieties of ragas but also addressed the historical perspective of these ragas, their presence in different forms of music and their significance in the world of music, especially among the musicians of future generations.


Overview of the Seminar

The yearlong celebrations of the silver jubilee of ITC Sangeet Research Academy commenced with Rãg Parikrama. Held at the Sandre Hall, Calcutta School of Music on the 7th, 8th and 9th of August 2003, it was a seminar with a difference. Addressing detailed analyses of both common and uncommon ragas, it also brought within its ambit related topics like application and significance of ragas, their historical perspective, the future of Hindustani classical music and the role of the younger generation of musicians. Eminent musicians and senior musicologists from all corners of our country were present, along with the academy’s own gurus, scholars and other performing artistes from the city. All the sessions were highly informative and absorbing, including discussions, demonstrations (both vocal and instrumental) and constant cross-questioning from the audience. The seminar opened with Amit Mukerjee, the executive director of the academy, delivering the welcome address. This was followed by the keynote speech by Kumar Prasad Mukherjee.
The first session titled ‘Raga and the forms of music’ dealt with the portrayal of the raga in dhrupad, khayal, thumri etc. and also included instrumental music and Rabindrasangeet. The general opinion was that the true depiction of the raga does not necessarily depend on these forms but rather on the abilities of the performer. The knowledge of ragas however, has to be given as much importance as the development of an artiste’s technical knowledge and skill. Raga-based music like bhajan, geet, some varieties of thumri and even Rabindrasangeet are allowed certain liberties and may depart from the rigid raga structures justify the lyrics. The second session, ‘identification of major rag-angas’ was about establishing the key phrases or ‘pakads’ of some groups of ragas like Bilawal, Kalyan, Nat, Kanhara etc. This of course included constant demonstrations, supportive bandishes and a very active participation of the audience. The last session on the first day analyzed foreign influences on our music. It was opined that Indo- Persian relations and cross cultural exchange of musical ideas led to some gradual yet very significant changes in our music. Some beautiful examples of ‘Maqams’ from Persia and Kazakhstan - that closely resembled some of our very own ragas were given along with compositions of Hazrat Amir Khusrau.
The second day began with ‘Classification of mishra ragas’ which redefined terms like chhayalag, jod and sankirna ragas with numerous examples like Basant Bahar, Hindol Bahar, Pravat Bhairav etc. The role of gharanas in evolving such ragas was also clarified. The post lunch session, ‘Some specific ragas and closely-related ragas’ involved all the panelists and the audience in a heated discussion. There was a plethora of bandishes but it would have been better if the ragas were illustrated more lucidly through sargams. Some ragas like Suha, Sughrai, Shahana were presented differently by different gharana exponents and left the students in some confusion. This once again reaffirmed the gharana system and the inherent discrepancies in the interpretation of ragas.
The first session of the third day discussed the reasons behind the gradual disappearance of some ragas from the concert scene. These ragas were however ‘lokpriya’ even a few decades back. Some factors, which may have resulted in their absence, are the limited repertoire of the present day performers as also the limitations in the scope of a raga. One major factor has been the time theory associated with the performance of a raga. Though it is important it is not totally sacrosanct. Looking at today’s socio-economic environment and constraints, everyone agreed that some amount of departure from the actual time of the ragas is acceptable for the very existence of our raga sangeet.
The general opinion at the end of the seminar was that published material on ragas and their analyses must be made available through various media. As Amit Mukerjee mentioned in his valedictory speech, the sole purpose of this seminar was to disseminate the conclusions on a very wide scale. He also added that the Academy’s own website, www.itcsra.org already has eighty-five such ragas complete with chalans and bandishes sung by its gurus. This not only is very educative for young scholars, but also provides, at times, useful reference material for senior musicians. The excerpts of this seminar are available as a publication.

An Interactive Seminar on Ragas with Demonstrations

Venue:
Sandre Hall,
Calcutta School of Music,
6B Sunny Park,
Kolkata - 700 019
10 am - 5 pm

Indian classical music essentially revolves around the concept of raga - so much so that it is often referred to as Raga music. Although musicians of the past used to take great care in the portrayal of ragas as also in transmitting such knowledge to their disciples and grand-disciples, there have been discrepancies and differences of opinions amongst the ustads, with respect to many ragas, both common and uncommon ones. In fact the gharana system of training, as is prevalent in Hindustani music, presupposes inherent dissimilarities in the interpretation of ragas, besides obvious differences in their representative musical styles. In other words, exponents from two gharanas may disagree on the structure and delineation of a particular raga.
While such differences may be negligible in the case of some common and basic ragas like Malkauns, Puriya, Yaman etc., deviations and disagreements are in greater proportions when we have in mind, mishra ragas like Nat Malhar, Yamni Bilawal, Gaud Sarang, Khat, Patmanjari etc.
While some of these suggest syntheses of two ragas (jod or chhayalag ragas), some can be a complex amalgam of more than two (sankirna ragas).
In this age of systematized education, it is now necessary to impart training in Hindustani music on a very logical basis. The modern musician wants satisfying answers to all his queries. Keeping in mind the present situation ITC Sangeet Research Academy, one of the premier institutions imparting authentic talim to students of Hindustani music, aims at bringing together noted musicians and musicologists of the country, gather information on a holistic basis and disseminate such information in an objective manner. Later, we propose to publish the proceedings for wider dissemination. In this way it would not only be beneficial for the students but would indeed be a great service to the musical heritage, we are proud of.

The Panelists

Prof. Yashpaul Buddhadev Das Gupta Jaya Biswas Purnima Chaudhuri
Amit Mukerjee Budhaditya Mukherjee Kala Ramnath Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar
Arun Bhaduri Dinkar Kaikini Kumar Prasad Mukherjee Ramashray Jha
Arvind Parikh Dipali Nag M R Gautam Santosh Banerjee
Ashok D Ranade Falguni Mitra Manilal Nag Shrikrishna Haldankar
Balasaheb Poochwale Iqbal Ahmad Khan Mashkoor Ali Khan Shruti Sadolikar Katkar
Ulhas Kashalkar -- -- --

Seminar Programme

Day 1

7th August 2003

9 a.m. Registration

10 a.m.

Welcome Address

Amit Mukerjee

Keynote Speech

Kumar Prasad Mukherjee

10.30 a.m.

I. Raga & the Form of Music

Panelists

Moderator

a)

Is a raga best portrayed through dhrupad? If so, why?

Falguni Mitra
Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar

Arvind Parikh

b)

Does khayal with all its embellishments faithfully portray a raga?

Ramashray Jha
Shruti Sadolikar

.
c)

Raga in Thumri, Dadra,Bhajan, Geet etc.

Arun Bhaduri
Purnima Chaudhuri

.
- - .-

Moderator

d)

Raga in other forms - Film Songs, Rabindrasangeet etc.

Mashkoor Ali Khan
Jaya Biswas

Kumar Mukherjee
e)

Role played by instrumentalists in the portrayal of Ragas

Buddhadev Das Gupta
Asad Ali Khan
Budhaditya Mukherjee

.

1 p.m.

LUNCH

. .

1.45 p.m.

II. Identification of Major 'Ragangas'

Panelists

Moderator

.

Bilawal

Ramashray Jha

M R Gautam

.

Malhar

Ulhas Kashalkar

.
. Bhairav Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar .
.

Sarang

Dinkar Kaikini

.
.

Todi

Mashkoor Ali Khan

.
.

Kalyan

Kala Ramnath

.
.

Kanhada

Balasaheb Poochwale

.
.

Nat

Buddhadev Das Gupta

.
.

Kauns

Santosh Banerjee

.

3.30 p.m. - 3.45 p.m.

Tea Break

. .

5 p.m.

III. The Process of evolution of 'Mishra Ragas"

Panelists

Moderator

a)

Indigenous influences - regional scales, mixing basic ragas etc.

Prof. Yashpaul
Arvind Parikh

Amit Mukerjee

b)

Foreign Influences (Persian, Arabian, Sufi Music etc.)

Ashok Ranade
Iqbal Ahmed

.
c)

Role of Gharanas

Shrikrishna Haldankar

.

 

Day 2

8th August 2003

. .

9.30 a.m.

Summary of previous day's discussion

. .

10.00 a.m.

IV. Classification of Mishra Ragas

Panelists

Moderator

.

Jod Ragas / Chhayalag Ragas

M R Gautam

Balasaheb Poochwale

.

Sankirna Ragas

Ulhas Kashalkar

 

11.30 a.m. - 11.45 a.m.

Tea Break

. .

11.45 a.m.

V. Discussing Ragas whose names are a misnomer

Panelists

Moderator

.

Nand / Anandi Kalyan / Anand Bhairav

Kala Ramnath

Kumar Mukherjee

.

Shyam Kalyan

Dinkar Kaikini

.
.

Hem Kalyan,Hemant,Hem Bihag,Hem Nat

Jaya Biswas

.
.

Sawani, Sawani Kalyan etc.

Shruti Sadolikar

.
.

Gaud Sarang, Gorakh Kalyan etc.

Arun Bhaduri

.

1 p.m.

LUNCH

. .

1.45 p.m.

VI. Discussion on some specific ragas & closely related ragas (sister ragas)

Panelists

Moderator

.

Discussion on the Prefix 'Shudh'

. .
.

Bhairav, Ramkali, Kalingda, Jogia etc.

M R Gautam

Shrikrishna Haldankar

.

Kanhada-Suha,Sughrai,Adana,Hussaini etc.

Ramashray Jha

.
.

Kafi, Desi, Pilu, Zilla, Barwa, Sindhura etc.

Buddhadev Dasgupta

.
.

Poorvi,LalitaGauri,Saazgiri,Maligauda etc.

Shruti Sadolikar

.
.

Kanhada - Shahana,Kafi,Raisa,Mudriki etc

Ulhas Kashalkar

.
.

Bilawal: Sarparda, Devgiri, Shukl, Nat, Kaukubh

Mashkoor Ali Khan

.

3.30 p.m. - 3.45 p.m

Tea Break

. .

3.45 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Above discussion contd.

. .

 

Day 3

9th August 2003

. .

9.30 a.m.

Summary of previous day's discussion

. .

10.00 a.m.

VII. Lokpriya Ragas of Yesteryear

Panelists

Moderator

a)

Limited repertoire of most performers

Ashok Ranade

Amit Mukerjee

b)

Scope & Elasticity of a Raga

Prof. Yashpaul
Dinkar Kaikini

.
c)

Relevance of the 'Time Theory' in present day concerts

Audience:

.
. .

Musicians:
Budhaditya Mukherjee
Shrikrishna Haldankar

.

11.30 a.m. - 11.45 a.m.

Tea Break

. .

11.45 a.m.

VIII. Significance of the prefix 'Mishra' to Ragas like Bhairavi, Pilu, Khamaj, Kafi etc.

Panelists

Manilal Nag
Iqbal Ahmed
Purnima Chaudhuri

Moderator

Dipali Nag

1 p.m.

LUNCH

. .

1.45 p.m.

IX. Responsibility of the present day musician to interpret Ragas correctly

Panelists

Arvind Parikh
Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar
Shrikrishna Haldankar
Kala Ramnath

Moderator

M R Gautam

3.30 p.m. - 3.45 p.m.

Tea Break

. .

3.45 p.m.

Floor open for general discussion

Ramashray Jha
Shrikrishna Haldankar
Kumar Prasad Mukherjee
Buddhadev Das Gupta
Arvind Parikh

 

4.30 p.m.

Valedictory Speech

Amit Mukerjee

.

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