Seven Colors

Mukesh Sharma (sarod)
Arshad Khan Thirakwa (tabla)

Mukesh Sharma: Seven Colors
To hear samples of the music, please click on the CDBaby link above.
Through silence and beauty of sound, Indian classical music has always aspired for two goals: spiritual and musical achievement. Mukesh Sharma (Sarod) and Arshad Khan (tabla), take us on an inspiring journey through a variety of melodic and emotional contents using the seven major Ragas, presented on the album, as different shades of a rainbow of colors.
1) ORANGE: Rag Bharav Part 1 - Slow Tintal
2) ORANGE: Rag Bharav Part 2 - Med/Fast Tintal
3) PINK: Rag Baragi-Bharav - Jhaptal
4) BLUE: Rag Basant mukhari - Tintal
5) GRAY: Rag Kafi - Deepchandi
6) RED: Rag Darbari Kanara - Alap
7) RED: Rag Darbari Kanara - Ektal
8) BROWN: Rag Malkauns Part 1- Alap
9) BROWN: Rag Malkauns Part 2- Rupak tal
10) BROWN: Rag Malkauns Part 3- fast Tintal
11) GREEN: Rag Mishra Bhairavi - Folk Dhun in Dadra tal
Recorded, mixed & produced by Emam
"RANJAYATI ITI RAGAH"; this ancient proverb in Sanskrit means; "that which colors the spirits, is a raga". Central concept of Indian classical music, rich and complex, the raga is a melodic form, subtle and very precisely organized. Defined by an ascending and a descending scale, each with 5, 6, or 7 notes, each raga has its own mood, color and savor.
Originated in the very ancient Vedic chants, sung on 1, 2 or 3 notes, some 3500 years ago, the Raga system became a huge corpus of musical modes, collected from all over the sub-continent over the centuries, and sometimes created or redefined by great masters. This musical system was classified and observed much before the Western classical music got its own foundation. From ancient times, Western music was also using the melodic approach of the modes, but some 5 centuries ago, polyphony and harmony appeared opening new roads to musical creation.
In the melodic construction of the Raga, each note has his own power, always related to the tonic (given by the tanpura, used as a drone), and to the other specific notes of the mode, building original phrases and compositions, bringing in an emotional coloration, just as might a poem do.
Accustomed to written music, western musicians stress the difference between fixed compositions and improvisation, which does not make sense to Indian musicians. Despite the very precise features of each raga, the singer or instrumentalist disposes a great flexibility and freedom to render the spirit of a raga. Hindustani classical music of our modern times is named "Khyal", from the arabo-persian, meaning imagination and fantasy. In the Indian tradition, the ragas exist by themselves in the nature, related to a particular moment of the day, night or a season.
Orange BHAIRAV: Named after Lord Shiva, Raga Bhairav is considered by some to be the most important of the hindustani (North Indian) classical tradition. It is an early morning raga, extremely solemn and devotional, portraying Shiva the terrible, in his powerful form of an ascetic, in a dark cave, absorbed in the deepest meditation, as the first rays of light reach his perfect peacefulness.
Pink Bairagi-Bhairav: Also a morning raga, strongly devotional and enchanting. As sun rises, pink colour invades the sky; Raga Bairagi was introduced in the 40's by Allauddin Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar. The 10 beat rhythm cycle,"Jhaptal", reinforces the powerful spiritual mood.
Blue - BASANT MUKHARI: Basant ("spring"), is associated to Lord Krishna, the blue God; fresh, tender, this morning raga expresses the playful joy of spring, with a shade of melancholy like the longing of separated lovers. The basic grammar of Basant Mukhari is nearly identical to the major Arab-Iranian mode HEDJAZ.
Gray KAFI: Typical of the "light classical music", in pieces like the Thumri, its dominant theme is love, together with the passions aroused. Played any time of day or night, KAFI is a versatile raga, bluesy, romantic. Most of the melodies used at HOLI festival (festival of the colors in spring), are based on KAFI, as well as many popular film songs.
Red DARBARI-KANARA: One of the most stately raga of the Hindustani tradition; DARBAR is the king's court; this raga was a foremost piece in the repertoire of mughal and deccani court musicians. With slow and dignified movements, performed on the lower part of the mode, it is a typical late night raga.
Brown MALKUNS: Malkuns is a regal and solemn raga, also typical of the late night, full of dignity, heroism, best performed in the lower notes of the scale, at a contemplative and slow pace. One of the favorite of the Indian audience, Malkuns is maybe one of the perfect form of a pentatonic (5 notes) raga, and therefore, easy to identify.
Green MISHRA BHAIRAVI: Traditionally a morning raga, BHAIRAVI is however performed to conclude most of day or night performances. Perhaps the sweetest and most loved raga in Hindustani music, an all-time favorite of audiences and artists. BHAIRAVI is the devoted and compassionate consort of BHAIRAV (lord SHIVA), usually portrayed in a small shrine, worshiping a Shiva lingam, singing songs and accompanying herself with a pair of cymbals. Any musician knows a great number of compositions in rag BHAIRAVI which, especially in the "Mishra" form, has a huge potential of treatment.
All notes by: GILLES BOURQUIN
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