Hariprasad Chaurasia is known internationally as the greatest living master of the North Indian bamboo flute. It is quite and impossible task to think of the 'bansuri' without thinking of this great personality, who has today immortalized its presence across the world.
Blending the musical traditions of India with imagination and innovation, Hariji has reached beyond classical music to create a sound of his own. He has been honored with several prestigious awards like the Padma Vibhushan, the Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Academy to name a few. In addition to recording as a soloist, Hariji has collaborated with such jazz musicians as John McLaughlin and Jan Garbarek. His compositions have been heard in several Indian films including 'Silsila', 'Lamhe' and 'Darr', which he co-composed with Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. He is one of the busiest North Indian classical musicians, regularly traveling and performing throughout the world.
Raga Darbari Kanada
The main part of this album is an extended performance of one of the most powerful of all ragas, Darbari Kanada. A stately raga of the night (second watch, before midnight), notable for its immensely dignified meditative mood and profound emotion, it is said to be the creation of Tansen, the outstanding dhrupad singer and composer whi was known as one of the Nine Gems of the Empire during the reign of the great Akbar in the 16th century. Its name evokes the splendor of this monarch's court, a court where Hindustani music flourished under imperial patronage.
Raga Darbari Kanada has an heptatonic scale, with flattened third, sixth and seventh (alterations which define the Asawari parent scale): Sa Re Ga ma Pa Dha Ni Sa. It gives strong emphasis to the two notes Re and Pa, which are respectively the vadi and the samvadi, and treats the notes ga and Dha in a most distinctive way; both are played with a wide, tremulous pitch oscillation called andolan, which contributes greatly to the emotional charge of the raga.
Its other distinctive feature, revealed in descending phrases, is common to all ragas of the kanada group and can be called the "Kanada turn" : the melody, in both tetrachords, follows so-called wakra movement, always turning back one step up from the note with andolan before landing on the note below. i.e. Dha Ni pa and Ga Ma Re. The descending scale of Darbari Kanada is therefore given as Sa Dha ni Pa Ma Pa Ga Ma Re Sa. The symmetry of pattern between the two tetrachords is repeatedly emphasized as the raga is developed.
Dhun in Raga Mishra Pilu
Hariprasad Chaurasia completes his recording with the sort of item he would give to conclude a live recital. A dhun is a light classical piece of very romantic and playful character. It is an instrumental relative of thumri, the most lyrical of light classical vocal genres. This one is based on Raga Pilu, which has a basic heptatonic scale to which the remaining notes of the chromatic scale are added as grace notes in specific phrases.
The treatment is very free, with touches of folk music and hints of other ragas. The sensuous lilting melody, played with consummate elegance and agility, is set to dadra tal, a time-cycle of six beats (3+3) frequently used in light classical music.