Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Magic of Malkauns

It is rather strange to know how over the years your taste in music changes, reaches extreme ends and finally stabilizes into one thing. That was the case with me. Back in my teens, i used to get engrossed in Hindi film music. But then, its level started detiriorating so much, that nowadays, I hardly listen to Hindi songs. Then, when I was in the UK, the marathi bug bit me, and marathi abhang, bhajan, sudhir Phadke, really made me comfortable. Then once I returned to India, sheerly under peer pressure, I started listening to english songs- the likes of Metallica, Linkin Park, Eminem and what not. And then, suddenly, out of nowhere, I really started appreciating Hindusthani Classical Music.

I guess that the kind of music I listened to, generally referred to my attitude to life at those particular stages of my life. School was carefree. It became more balanced and level headed in 11th and 12th, plus a clear indication that I was indeed missing my country. Back in india, definitely rebellious. and now, since last 1- 1and half years definitely stabilized.

If anything has taught me more that Hindustani Classical music, I would be rather surprized. I mean, I have realised that it has definitely helped me improve my concentrtion for one. Its helped me gain a discerning ear to recognize quality music. Its opened an unbounded universe of joy that one can get just listening to greats like Pandit Jasraj, Bhimsen Joshi, Vasantrao Deshpande and other divine people who represent this ageless form of art.

I dont remember when exactly this transformation took place. Sometime Last year. But what I do know, is how it took place. After being urged by Sampada Atya, I listened to Raag Malkauns sung by Malini Rajurkar. The bug bit me. I attended my first ever Sawai Gadharwa that year, and the interest grew exponentially. I started digging into the the depths of raag structures, and started pondering over what makes them all so wonderful when heard at the right time. more fodder for thought soon followed: why does raags like Marwa have such a profound effect on your thought? why listening to Malhar while its raining brings out so much freshness and clarity in your mind. I am yet to find the answers for that, which will satisfy me.

But then, coming to the crux of the post- it was indeed Malkauns that opened these doors for me. I still get smitten by those 5 notes present in the raag. Yesterday evening, as a habit that I have now got into, I started playing Malkauns on the harmonium. I dont know, something really struck me from inside. I totally lost track of time. I played the swars in a way that I had not done previously- took a S-g-(S)-'n-'d-('d)-'n-S string or something on that line.. (dont remember exactly what it was!) but the effect was life imorented on my heart.
My mind embroiled in the boring day today life- fights, exams, studies suddenly started to become clear like never before. There was an air of belief rising inside me.

There is a legend and myth about the origins of Malkauns. It goes that there was a massive war between the devas and the asuras. Though the devas were victorious in the war, they were all badly injured and as a result, were suffering because of the pain from the wounds. In that state, they went to Lord Shiva to find a solution to ebb their pain. Shiva sang a celestial song to soothe their injuries, and the song that came out of his mouth was none other than the amrut roopi makauns. Traditionally, malkauns is thought to be a veer-ras oriented raag. It, ideally should raise the "romanch" in you. Rid you of all your fears.

I had never got an opportunity to view Malkauns in that perspective- Till yesterday. I dont know why, but then, it seemed that for once- for that one nimish, I got a real glimpse of Malkauns.. And really it is one moment of my otherwise uneventful life, that I will always remain as a treasured one.

A quick list of ragas that won me over to the realms of classical music:(I started off with these, encouraged by Sampada Atya)
1)Malkauns- Malini Rajurkar
2)Yaman-Pt. Vishwamohan Bhat(Out of this world!)
3)Darbari-Bhimsen Joshi
4)Basant-Jasraj ji
5)Nat Bhairav- Vasantrao Deshpande.
6)Marwa- Vasantrao Deshpande.

1 comment:

  1. I randomly arrived at your blog when I was googling 'Magic of Malkauns'. Whats surprising is, that I too had a similar journey from hindi movie songs during my school days, to hard rock during my engineering years (I still like listening to it sometimes) and my final transition to hindustani classical.

    I am 29 years old today and its been more than 4 years since I've started learning the Sitar. Although I'm quite an amateur, its something thats become an integral part of me. Nothing else interests me as much as hindustani classical music does. When I sit to practice, its the ONLY thing my mind is focussed on.

    That said, two of my favourite ragas are Darbari Kanada and Malkauns. I feel that the beauty of Malkauns lies its ability, to send you into a trance like state! Every single time that I have heard vocal or instrumental variations in it, they have never ceased to amaze me. If theres any Raga associated with Magic, I would say it has got to be Malkauns!

    - Rohan

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