Tag Archives: indian music

Lessons from A.R.Rahman

28 Feb

If you pick up any newspaper or see the web or watch the news, chances are that you will find an interview of  A.R.Rahman. He is all over the place after his Oscar achievement and very deservedly so! I have been seeing videos of his arrival back to India and his press conferences and what strikes me is that apart from being a path-breaking musician, Rahman is handling the Oscar accolades in the most amazing manner. Here is what makes me adore him:

  1. His Divine Connection -If you saw the Academy award and the Oscar award speeches of Rahman, you would see that Rahman thanks and praises God, conveying his gratitude to the Almighty! As Baradwaj Rangan said, its not just a superficial expression from Rahman but its a connection he has tuned into ever since his Roja days when he was establishing himself as a composer. His adversities during his younger days made him turn towards God and from that time, there was no looking back for this genius! He is a strong believer in the power of prayer and it HAS worked miracles for him indeed!
  2. His Patriotism-Though Rahman acknowledges his accomplishment, he quickly points out that this is a COLLECTIVE INDIAN VICTORY. He says, he is more happy because this is the first Oscar for an Indian work and the whole country was waiting for this with bated breath and hence he wanted to get it. He says now, all Indian artists will be looked upon with more respect as we have shown what we are capable of.
  3. His Remarkable Humility-I call it remarkable because Rahman has handled this with such maturity and selflessness that he attributes his success to others like his mother, his Indian musicians etc. He lovingly in a child-like manner acknowledges the role these people have played in his success.
  4. His Respect for his Peers-I have always seen Rahman praising his fellow composers generously. In an interview after his return, he said (answering a question), even Ilaiyaraja sir can definitely get an Oscar easily if the music is promoted well as it was done by Fox Pictures for Slumdog Millionaire. He also said, Raja sir’s music is of an international standard from the earlier days as Raja sir has composed symphonies.
  5. His Equanimity and Patience-Rahman has kept his feet firmly in the ground as he has not been swayed by his euphoric success. Also, I do not know how many interviews he has been giving after his arrival-I pity him, as he must be a tired man. But he has patiently answered the sometimes repetitive questions asked to him.
  6. His Social Interests-Rahman is a UN ambassador for the campaign fighting against poverty and he has associated himself with many social causes. Just read his thoughts here while answering this question-Are you surprised by what all you have achieved? When you look back as a nine-year-old child, and look at what you have done today?
    A R Rahman: Well, I have not achieved anything. I have not ended poverty level. I have not stopped wars happening. These are achievement. And in my opinion, I am just a very small musician who has got an award that is it.
  7. His Service to Music-Last but not the least, Rahman has done what no other music director has done for the cause of music-starting a music school, the KM MUSIC CONSERVATORY. His objective for starting this school is to make Indian musicians have a global orchestra of their own. This is such an innovative idea and Rahman is spending a lot of time, money and energy towards realizing this noble musical mission!

These are just my thoughts after seeing Rahman in the limelight for the past one week. My love and respect for him has increased manifold and I pray that he lives a long, healthy life to serve Indian music and he continues to transport us to another blissful, musical world!

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INDIAN Music at the helm!!!

9 Feb

One of  India’s most eminent percussionists Ustad Zakir Hussain has won the Grammy award!!! A.R.Rahman may win the Oscar. What else can we ask for? This is a great time for Indian music. The world is taking note of us now 🙂

Raagas—the treasure chest of Indian Music

10 Jan

The purpose of this post is not to analyze the raaga concept technically (though it is fun to do so, as the concept is very scientific) but to see how it enriches our music. Raagas are the epitome of the astounding variety in music that we see today. Just imagine, with just 7 swaras/notes, we are able to have so many zillions of tunes! There are about 300 or more known raagas though it is believed that there were about 800 of them originally but many have been lost. The credit for preserving, propagating raagas should go to the classical music stalwarts of India, especially the trinity. The utility of the raaga concept is manifold:

  1. It serves as a starting point for composing. It is NOT necessary that a tune must be in the same raaga throughout, so we have raagamaalikas (compositions comprising of many raagas). But a tune in a raaga has a unique charm as it showcases the essence of that raaga fully.
  2. It is a guide to compose in many situations, for e.g. if its a sad situation, raagas like Shubhapantuvarali could be used. If its an auspicious moment, then Anandabhairavi could be used. This is why we find in marriages, the compositions played would consist of these raagas. Raagas personify the situation and create a grandeur in that situation. Imagine a marriage without any live music!
  3. Each raaga is a world by itself, a world of melody. As discussed here before, raagas do have medicinal benefits and they heal us, if we have faith. Hence we say music HEALS. They are being extensively used in promoting well-being and as a curative for many diseases.

I will be taking up individual raagas and their usage in film music in the ensuing posts. Whatever I know is purely because of my interest/passion in this concept. I am learning to even appreciate the technical nuances so as to have a holistic view. Its going to be a wonderful journey to examine specific raagas, because for me they are pure bliss! This is what makes Indian music special!