I am tune-deaf.
This coming out of someone who indulges in classical dance is well, not a respectable confession by any shot. When I say am tune-deaf, it means am not very successfully adept at listening to a piece and recognizing the raag(raagam). I absolutely enjoy carnatic and classical music, something I listen to at least once a day, so yes, it’s a bit tragic that I haven’t developed that skill. I am good at picking up the tune, to replicate and then transfer it around, know my bases and can choreograph based on the nuances of instruments and the layers within. But ask me to spot a raaga and I sadly am in a quandary. Guess 4 years of learning Sa re Ga ma Pa Da Ni sa didn’t help, coz I was doing it for my parents’ sake than out of my own interest. Interestingly, both dance and music go hand in hand and though the theory hasn’t drilled itself into me, I am thankful am not tone-deaf!
In our forthcoming ballet, there is one scene that moves me completely. Not scene per se, but the song that the scene is set to. The ballet is mythological and so the characters are Rati Manmadha doing their usual frolicking around. Over the past few rehearsals, I have had the opportunity to sit back and just watch during that part, instead of running around doing whatever it is that I do, and the divinity and joy of it sunk in slowly and completely. Last Sunday, I sat on the steps behind the stage and I teared.
Art has that power. Music surpasses it all when one can get submerged in the aksharas, the waves that synch it all and the harmony it produces. (Secretly I even thought for a second there that perhaps I was borderline Stendhal-ic!)
The song has been buzzing in my head for a while now and since we don’t have the recorded version and the orchestra is live, I walked up to the singer and asked her for the raagam. She said ‘Yaman’. Looking at my quizzical expression, she said “have you heard SaraswatiChandra – chandan sa badan?” I drop my jaw. That song tops my favorites since 2000 (when a friend mailed it to me, yesyes, I am a cheat, I always get my songs over mails :-)) and now I know why I love it too. As soothing as it is, there was a peacefulness and romance that touches.
Got home and after some fair amount of googling, listening and reading up (and needless to say that’s all I’ve been doing), humming, listening consciously, counting beats, and figuring out the thread that ties all the songs together. A pleasant surprise that all of the bollywood numbers below are on my “Serenity Now!” playlist.
Raag: Yaman in Bollywood
- Chandan sa badan, chanchal chitavan – Saraswati Chandra
- Aansu bhari hain ye jeevan ki raahein – Parvarish
- Jab deep jale aana, jab shaam dhale aana – Chitchor
- Zindagi bhar nahi bhulegi – Barsaat Ki Raat
- Bhooli huyi yaadon, mujhe itna na sataao – Sanjog
- Nigahen milane ko jee chahata hai – Dil Hi To Hai
- Is modpe jaate hai – Aandhi
Here’s a fine introduction and rendering of the raag yaman.
..and then listen to this cutie!
Delightful? I leave you with a soulful melody.
ps: Am hoping to start back on my Friday song feature that apparently people liked enough to bug me consistently about it! ;-)