In the tradition of Indian classical music, it is not unusual for a fan or a patron to request an artist to perform a specific Raga or a specific musical composition. Raga Hamir Kalyan was a farmaish (request) by a dear friend and patron. Due to the complex nature of the Raga (more on that below), it has taken me some time to understand and render this Raga.
Raga Hamir Kalyan is a beautiful late evening or early night Raga. This is also called Amir Kalyani in the Carnatic musical tradtion. In common nomenclature, this Raga is classified as a Jod or a combination Raga. It means that the melodic forms of Raga Hamir and Raga Kalyan are combined to form Raga Hamir Kalyan.
Often Jod Ragas are rendered using the constituent Ragas, like Raga 1 in aroha, Raga 2 in avaroha or vice versa. In my opinion, Jod Ragas are quite complex and difficult to render because though they use the melodic forms of two Ragas, the final rendering has to seamlessly combine the two Ragas, and have its own distinct musical identity. Even among these, Raga Hamir Kalyan has other complexities. Let us look at the scale:
Scale - Sa Re Ga ma Ma Pa Dha ni Ni SA (see Program Notes below for the notation)
As you can see, there are two sets of 3 semi-tone intervals - Ga ma Ma Pa and Dha ni Ni SA. While such consecutive intervals may be common in folk music or in Jazz or Blues, this is a bit unusual in Indian classical music Ragas. The challenge that arises then, is how to use these consecutive intervals. How does one navigate through all these intervals to create a form, shape and identity for Hamir Kalyan? This is where a deep understanding of Lakshanas and Lakshyas is necessary.
In this presentation of Raga Hamir Kalyan on Chandraveena, I explore the Raga in Alap, Jod and Jhala, followed by a Composition in Chautala (12 beats). This performance is accompanied by a very unique drone (Tanpura) accompaniment track. This drone track is synthesized from a project called PureTones, and developed by Sadharani Music Works. It has been microtonally adjusted to precisely suit the scale of the Raga. Note how the Drone along with its harmonics merge into the notes and phrases of the Raga. If it sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out PureTones. This Drone is freely available for your use. Get in touch with us if you need any assistance.
I am accompanied on Pakhawaj by Shri Dhaval Mistry for the Pallavi session.
Shri Dhaval Mistry is a young and accomplished Pakhawaj player coming from a family of musical instrument makers. He had his early training in Pakhawaj from Shri Jagannath Jagtap, a well known Pakhawaj player in Gujarat. Later, he learnt from Shri Govind Ram Banarasi, who is an AIR artist and son of late Pandit Mannu Mrudangacharya (Banaras). Since the last several years, Dhaval Mistry has been learning and continues to be under the guidance of the master Pakhawaj player Shri Manik Munde.
Enjoy the music!
If you have a farmaish or request, do write to me. If it is within my purview and understanding, I will perform and publish it at some time. Thank you.
Raga Alapana is an improvisation and a systematic presentation of a Raga. This part has no rhythmic accompaniment. It has three parts - Alap, Jod and Jhala. This format is also known as Ragam and Tanam.
Here are some notes about the Raga.
Raga - Hamir Kalyan
Scale - Sa Re Ga ma Ma Pa Dha ni Ni
Family - Kalyan
Melakarta - Bhashanga Janya of Mechakalyani (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni)
Prahar - 5th prahar (equivalent to 6 PM - 9 PM)
In Indian Classical Music, the seven notes in an octave are called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni and then Sa comes again. Notes with a capitalised first letter are called Tivra (or sharp) notes. E.g., Re above. Notes written fully in lower case are called Komal (or flat) notes. E.g., ma and ni above. Sa and Pa are always written with a capitalized first letter.
A Bhashanga Raga is a Janya (or derivative) Raga of a Melakarta which uses a note/s outside of the Melakarta notes. In this raga, ma and ni are outside of Kalyani.
In Indian Classical Music, Ragas are classified into Prahars (time periods of a day or night) which are said to represent the most appropriate time to perform the Raga.
Pallavi also known as Bandish, Gat, Kriti or composition is a melodic line (or lines) bound by a Tala or rhythmic cycle. In some cases, lyrics are set to a melody in the chosen Raga and Tala, whereas in other cases it is just a melodic line with no lyrical or literary meaning, called Swarajati or Gat. Many instrumental compositions use the latter format, to make the most of “playing” with the rhythm.
Chautala has 12 beats split as 4 + 4 + 2 + 2 denoted by solfas or syllables representing various rhythmic patterns. The basic solfas of Chautala are given below.
Tala - Chautala
Beats - 12 (4+4+2+2)
Solfas - Dha Dha Dhin Ta | KiTa Dha Dhin Ta | ThiTa KatTa | GaDhi GaNa |
Chandraveena - S Balachander
Pakhawaj - Dhaval Mistry
Sadharani Music Works - https://www.sadharani.com
Purchase CD quality audio of the performance from https://chandraveena.bandcamp.com/album/raga-hamir-kalyan.