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A Tribute to Kalam – A R Rahman Musical | GV Mediaworks

TAMIL NADU / INDIA :

GV MEDIAWORKS

Published on Oct 15, 2017

Here is a very special tribute from team Kootathil Oruthan to the one person who, Till date continues to inspire everyone with his words and deeds and raised India to its heights – Honorable Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

MUSIC – The immeasurable contribution of Abdul Karim Khan to the Kirana gharana

The master’s style became so well established that it has come to stay.

Abdul Karim Khan (centre)
Abdul Karim Khan (centre)

Abdul Karim Khan was born on November 11, 1872, at Kirana, a village near Panipat. His father, Kale Khan, was also a musician and Abdul Karim and his two other brothers, Abdul-Majid and Abdulhug, imbibed their earliest lessons in music from him. It is said that Abdul Karim and one of his brothers left Kirana when they were still in their teens and came to Baroda where Abdul Karim soon earned a name for himself as a young poet and talented musician.

He then left Baroda and travelled to Poona and Bombay. He imparted his knowledge of music to a few earnest students and soon established himself as an outstanding musician of the Kirana gharana. He finally left Bombay and settled in Miraj, which was then a princely state. Among the well-known musicians of his time, he was the first who studied the complex problems of shruti. He was the principal and perhaps the only demonstrator of the shruti scale of the chromatic scale of Hindustani music. He demonstrated that the subdivision of the seven notes of the usual gamut into 22 parts was a fact to be reckoned with and not just a fantasy in the minds of ancient musicologists.

Abdul Karim was a man of simple and frugal habits, non-ostentatious and kindhearted. He did not bully or ill-treat his pupils and those who lived with him enjoyed parental care and attention. At Miraj, he developed an interest in the tanpura and brought his own musical knowledge to bear in the construction. He was on his way to Pondicherry when he experienced a severe pain in the chest at Chingalpeth. On October 27, 1937, he died peacefully on the platform at Singapuram Koilam, reciting Kalma in the raga Darbari.

We find it a little difficult to understand how it is that geophysical regionalism has become synonymous with the history of gharanas rather than the names of those maestros who have devoted their lives propagating and teaching the mode of music perfected by them in their own way and after their own heart. Is it the typical oriental philosophy of the impermanence of man that is responsible for the transference of credit and merit from man to place?

Geography of music

Tansen’s disciples made his music the music of the Gwalior gharana; Alladiya Khan’s complex music came to be linked with Jaipur or Atrauli; Fayyaz Khan and Vilayat Khan belonged to the Agra gharana; Bade Ghulam Ali was associated with the Patiala gharana; and Abdul Karim’s cultivated pattern of music came to be known as the Kirana gharana. Our inquiry into this aspect may not lead us on to any definite results. But it is important to explore how a gharana is born.

Let us consider the Kirana gharana and its distinguishing points. First, not much is known about Abdul Karim’s teacher, his father, Kale Khan. Abdul Wahid Khan, another exponent of the Kirana gharana, learnt his music from his father Hyder Khan. Not much is known about him either. Bande Ali Khan, the been maestro, is said to have belonged to this gharana and except for his celestial music and the romance which culminated in his marriage to his disciple, Chunna, there are few mentions of the Kirana gayaki. Most accounts of musicians, both living and dead, are anecdotal. They do not give us even a glimmer of the manner in which these great masters imbibed their music, the methods, the routine they followed and the influences which worked on them. It is not possible to convey accurately the idea of a gharana through words because our musical aesthetic or critical vocabulary have yet to arrive at a stage of absolute precision. It is still in a state of evolution. A listener feels the stamp of a gharana and there it rests; the musician, guided by his fancy and immersed in his own interpretation, has already left familiar ground and is in his own world where the gharana is as far removed from him as an airman from terra firma.

A common observation about the Kirana school is that the musician develops his song or cheeja merely on the strength of the alapi or elongated notes, so dovetailed that in his exposition of the melody, his only aim is to fix and cajole or caress a note, the only limitation being that of tala (the time measure), which beckons him to the point of return. The sweetness of melody is primarily due to the tonal quality, which imbibes a gradual, subtle use of semi-tones in the main note, whose placement in the scheme of the melodic weave is the main objective. For him the cheeja are only a help in articulation.

The Kirana musician seems to have all the time in the world once he has started and closed his eyes to mundane things like the audience. He weaves his net of alapi around a note and ascends the melodic structure as delicately as a gossamer spread over a leaf. He is in love with his swara he has captured that very moment. He plays with it, is engrossed in its nodal and sub-nodal musicality. This has provoked derisive and wholly unjustified remarks from listeners. They say if one Kirana gharana musician takes half an hour to reach gandhar, another musician of the same gharana will take one hour to do so.

The form matters

Some musicologists are of the opinion that this gayaki lacks form. The existence of so many gharanas is proof that what is termed form is an elastic, accommodative arrangement and not a principle of scientific rigidity. In our music, the artiste sets out and sings a cheeja perhaps once; he enunciates it properly and then begins to establish the melody in a multi-pronged manner. The chosen melody is set to a particular tala, and his beginning in slow tempo necessitates a slow and leisurely progress. Each school of music has decided over a long period of deliberation and practice its own mode of such measured progress. If we compare two music lovers’ assessments of a gharana, both of them may agree on the overall effect of the music but often disagree on individual movements or methods of elaboration. In our music there is really nothing inherent which dictates to us that only one arrangement is possible. Witness, for example, the different ways of enunciating the world kaku in Sanskrit musical treatises. Witness, also, the musician’s improvisations in changing the stress for the sama. One can pile up a whole list of such individual gimmicks employed by a musician.

In our music, the basic material is the melody or abstract series of sounds related in an artificial manner. These sounds are subject to some arrangements: for example, five-note ragas, six-note ragas and so on. It is easy to understand that once this arrangement is stretched over a composition, that is, on the musical theme, the musician is permitted a great amount of freedom in his handling of it. When we think of form in our music, we have to think of the sound content and not of a rigid structure superimposed on a cheeja and its movement. Hindustani music, is not written and, therefore, the duration of a performance differs from musician to musician. If a musician compresses all his art in a short period of time and another stretches his recital over a longer span, we do not consider it amiss. The total impression is what we finally have in mind.

When a Kirana musician creates an agreeable atmosphere of a melody by a succession of notes woven carefully and gradually, and when he expounds the cheeja with finesse and keeps you rooted to your seat, you cannot merely dismiss his art, and his effort as charming yet formless. We will have to grant then that the Kirana musician has evolved his own form and this is no mean achievement.

Focus on swara

A distinctive feature of this school of music can be briefly summarised thus: a Kirana musician places greater stress on the presentation of melody by employing alap or lengthened flights of swara continuation, running through the full time-measure. He does not play within the inherent rhythm or laya in the manner of a musician of the Agra gharana. In fact, his obsession with the swara overshadows every other facet of the presentation of music. He does not unfold the melody through playful hide-and-seek either with the time-measure or with intricate and complex variations of the rhythmic pace. His main concentration is on the note or swara, and with this as his base, he creates an atmosphere of deep reverence. A listener who concentrates on the performance notices that the Kirana musician does not deal with scattered or separate musical ideas, individual movements within the time-circle but builds up his melody, note by note, like a weaver.

Another distinctive feature of the Kirana musician is his voice culture. His gestures seem to indicate that he is really at great pains to produce a sound, and that he has some difficulty in sustaining it; but actually the artiste is not greatly constricted in his articulation. The Kirana musician’s sense of control of the subtle inflexions in voice production is remarkable and he has had to strive hard to attain it. He seeks to achieve the desired tunefulness. But his mannerisms appear somewhat odd; even so, they are natural to him. In his taans, there is more facial or jaw-bone control. The Kirana musician elaborates the sargam or notation of phrases deftly and in an ingratiating manner. In fact, this has become one of the notable and accepted ingredients of this gharana. His vocal line has a wide range – wider than that of most of the musicians of other schools of music.

One significant aspect of the Kirana musician is his presentation of the thumri in his own cultivated way. The Kirana musician’s voice culture is suited to singing the thumri because there is equal stress on both the composition and its meaningful presentation. The Kirana musician’s delineation of a thumri is again swara-dominated and tends towards a khayal pattern.

A genius arrives

Abdul Karim evolved and perfected the style entirely on the basis of his own genius. There is a gramophone disc of Abdul Karim, rare, yet still available in the possession of connoisseurs. It reveals an entirely different kind of musician. One can hardly place the musician as Abdul Karim even after ten guesses.

It is clear that Abdul Karim pondered over the problems of musical expression. He was gifted with a sweet and extremely pliant voice, which he cultivated in his own rigorous manner and it is on record that he enjoined his disciples to conform to the voice culture he taught them and to perfect it through persistent practice. Abdul Karim could reproduce all the 22 shrutis of our chromatic scale. Apparently, what we call form came to the musicians through the dhrupad style which was rigid in its structural presentation. Our musical progress, however, is traceable to rebels who boldly deviated from the uncompromising elements in the attitude of the dhrupadiyas. Abdul Karim ought to be applauded for the leadership he took in this battle.

Abdul Karim’s style is now so well established that it has come to stay. He who creates, lives. He has established his own norms, his own code of conduct. He lived at a time when great, very great and even outstanding musicians lived and performed in their own ways. If he rejected some of the ideas of other music styles, he must be applauded rather than accused of departing from them. New and upcoming musicians (like Kumar Gandharva or Vasantrao Deshpande) have also boldly created, established and consolidated their own styles and our music is the richer for their contributions.

Abdul Karim’s performances delighted his listeners. In addition to khayalgayaki, he raised thumri presentation to a new and beautiful state. During his performances, the listener experienced a mental repose. He sang khayal, thumris, Marathi stage songs, Marathi pads. He was not a purist or a dogmatic upholder of a particular tradition. He remained in his own sound of swara-dominated trance the whole day, and those who were close to him say he would pick up a tanpura and tune it to the basic note of a tanpura tuned the previous day, without striking the note of the harmonium for support. This meant that he was in constant harmony with that note both during his sleep and during his waking moments.

This article first appeared in ON Stage, the official monthly magazine of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.

source: http://www.scroll.in / Scroll.in / Home> Magazine> Music / by K D Dixit / October 22nd, 2017

An 800-Year-Old Piece of Indian Heritage in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM :

The Ansari family in front of their house in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
The Ansari family in front of their house in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

 

Did you know that there is a corner of Jerusalem that has a distinct Indian stamp to it and its various residents wear their Indian origin like a medal?

Next to the Al-Aqsa mosque in the city there is the Indian Hospice in Jerusalem. The hospice is managed by the Ansari family and has a centuries-old connect to India.

The Indian Hospice in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
The Indian Hospice in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

Indian pilgrims to the “holy city” of Jerusalem, can stay at the ‘Indian Hospice’ and pay homage to the Indian Sufi saint Baba Faridudding of Shakar Ganj, who visited the place 800 years ago.

Seen here, celebrated Indian chef Samjeev Kapoor at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
Seen here, celebrated Indian chef Samjeev Kapoor at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

The Indian Connection Through Baba Farid

The year is 1200, a little over a decade after the armies of Saladin had forced the Christian Crusaders out of Jerusalem. And an Indian Sufi saint from Punjab named Baba Fariduddin of Shakar Ganj travels to the war torn city.

The victory of Saladin against the Crusaders. Balian of Ibelin surrendering the city of Jerusalem to Saladin, from Les Passages faits Outremer par les Français contre les Turcs et autres Sarrasins et Maures outremarins, c. 1490. (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)
The victory of Saladin against the Crusaders. Balian of Ibelin surrendering the city of Jerusalem to Saladin, from Les Passages faits Outremer par les Français contre les Turcs et autres Sarrasins et Maures outremarins, c. 1490. (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)

 

Sufi saint Baba Farid (Photo Courtesy: Seeker of Sacred Knowledge)
Sufi saint Baba Farid (Photo Courtesy: Seeker of Sacred Knowledge)

It is said that Baba Farid swept the stone floors around al-Aqsa mosque as a mark of devotion. He is also known to have taken up fasting in the silence of a cave nearby.

Long after he went back to India, Muslims from the sub-continent who passed Jerusalem on their way to Mecca stopped at this spot in memory of Baba Farid. It became a sort of temporary residence for the pilgrims.

Ansaris Deputed To Care For Baba Farid’s Legacy

In early 1920s, Jerusalem’s Supreme Muslim Council requested the leaders of the Khilafat Movement of British-ruled India to nominate someone to care for the hospice. The Khilafat leaders honoured the request of the Supreme Council then headed by Arab nationalist Mohammed Amin Al-Husseini. That is how in 1924 Sheikh Nazir Hasan Ansari – who was also part of the Khilafat Movement – was chosen to go to Jerusalem to take charge of the hospice.

Sheikh Nazir Hasan Ansari (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
Sheikh Nazir Hasan Ansari (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

 

Sheikh Munir Ansari who now heads the place, seen here as a boy. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
Sheikh Munir Ansari who now heads the place, seen here as a boy. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

His son Sheikh Munir Ansari now heads the place. The two have during their respective years as administrator of the hospice, persuaded the rulers of several Indian Muslim states, including Hyderabad, to make contributions for the upkeep of the hospice. Munir’s son Nazeer proudly explains the glorious history of the place.

Not only pilgrims, but Indians from all walks of life who visit Israel like to meet the Ansaris. They are amazed by the way the Ansaris care for that piece of India in the land of Arab-Jewish confluence. Past visitors include famous journalists, presidents, Indian politicians, celebrities and commoners.

The Ansaris have been gracious hosts to many Indian journalists. Seen in this picture, among other journalists is Suhasini Haider of The Hindu. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
The Ansaris have been gracious hosts to many Indian journalists. Seen in this picture, among other journalists is Suhasini Haider of The Hindu. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

 

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar at The Indian Hospice. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar at The Indian Hospice. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

 

President Pranab Mukherjee too visited The Indian Hospice in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
President Pranab Mukherjee too visited The Indian Hospice in Jerusalem. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

The Ansaris value the responsibility that comes with the inheritance of the heritage. Their FB page says:

Maintaining and protecting an Indian institution in Jerusalem’s old city is no easy task. But Sheikh Munir has accomplished the impossible with delicate diplomacy and extreme tact.

The Indian Hospice

The Ansaris on a visit to India. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)
The Ansaris on a visit to India. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Hospice)

The Ansari family has been a steady presence in Jerusalem ever since and they all still carry Indian passports.

source: http://www.thequint.com / The Quint / Home> News Videos / by Kirti Phadtatre Pandey / July o4th,2017

 

Proud that my son fought like a lion for his country: Sher Mohammad’s mother

Meerut , UTTAR PRADESH :

Meerut:

When Fareeda Bibi  heard that her son Sher Mohammad — a CRPF constable+ who was part of the battalion that was ambushed in Sukma — had been taken to a Raipur hospital with five bullet wounds, her heart sank.

It was much later that someone in her village of Aasifabad Chanpura in Bulandshahr, UP, told her that her son had taken down at least three Maoists even as he collapsed in unbearable agony. That’s when she smiled a bit. “I am proud that my son fought like a lion for his country,” the 65-year-old said. “He is keeping alive a tradition that our family is known for.”

Sher’s father Noor Mohammad served in the Indian Army and retired with honour. His uncle Abdul Salam was also in the Army and retired 10 years ago.
“When Sher’s son Sohail, 2, grows up, I will ensure he, too, devotes his life to protect this country,” she said.

Though TOI could not independently verify details about Sher’s encounter with Maoists, the jawan told a TV channel from his hospital bed in Raipur that the 74th Battalion of the CRPF was overseeing construction of a road when about 300 Naxals ambushed them with AK-47 rifles+ .

“The 99 CRPF soldiers fought hard. We retaliated, gave them a fitting response. We were able to gun down at least 11 to 12 Naxals. I myself shot down two-three,” Sher has been quoted as saying. He was caught by machine gun fire in the waist and knee.

Sitting on a charpoy in her modest house, Fareeda said the whole village is praying for her son’s recovery.

“We know what it means to join the Army or CRPF,” she said. “There is risk, of course. But patriotism flows in our veins.”

Waris Ali, Sher’s eldest brother, was the first one to receive news of the attack through an acquaintance who saw the report on TV.

Waris told TOI: “As soon as we heard about the incident, we called up CRPF authorities in Raipur. They said Sher was being cared for, so there was no need to rush (to Raipur). I drove down this morning from Delhi, where I work, to be with my mother.”

A large number of villagers have gathered around Fareeda and Waris, consoling them and praying with them. One of them, Aqleem Ali said, “We are a big family. A large number of our relatives are in the armed forces. Sher has done something every fauji would do under such circumstances. He will come back.”

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Meerut News / by Sandeep Rai / TNN / April 26th, 2017

Watch This Film Which Reveals The Story Of India’s Forgotten Hero – ‘Shamsher’

Guntur, ANDHRA PRADESH :

It all started on the 2nd of October last year when I chanced upon an article on a sports news website. It told the story of India’s first Olympic swimmer, Shamsher Khan, who represented the country in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Prior to that, he had set national records in all four strokes, or categories, as well as in water polo and diving, making him the only Indian to do so!

One of his contemporaries happens to be Milkha Singh, whose victories are celebrated and remembered by the entire country. On the other hand, Mr. Khan languishes in anonymity. Nobody in the country knows his name or is even aware of his whereabouts. The article identifies his village as Islampur, situated in rural Andhra Pradesh.

After reading the article, I was determined to document his untold story on camera. I decided to visit his village along with four of my friends and attempted to make a documentary on the forgotten legend.

Over the next few weeks, we pieced together Shamsher, our tribute to India’s greatest swimmer. In a series of interviews, we conversed with his contemporaries, family members, well-wishers and finally, the man himself. We encountered an interesting variety of opinions not just about his life, but also about the lack of recognition sportspersons get in India. What started as a documentation of the life of one forgotten sportsman became the story of countless unknown athletes who struggle to get by on the back of their glorious achievements.

In the end, we were faced with difficult questions about the current condition of sports in the country, to which we found no easy answers. Our only hope is to spread more awareness about Shamsher Khan, and his services to a nation that refused to recognise him.

Shamsher: The Forgotten Legend | A documentary by Bharat Misra

Blue Pencil Entertainment

Published on Jan 22, 2016

He represented India at the Olympics for the first time in swimming. He was once the national record holder in all strokes.
He saw two wars during his service in the Indian army…and then, he disappeared from limelight.
Watch as we trace the life of the legendary Shamsher Khan, who lies forgotten in today’s India, like so many gifted sports personalities…
Narrated and Directed by Bharat Misra
Edited by Abhash Singh & Bharat Misra
Shot by Godwin Tirkey & Abhash Singh
Location Sound by Aniket Sawant S
Subtitles by Bhavya Bhagtani

source: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com / Youth Ki Awaaz (YKA) / Home> Society> Sports> Video /by Bharat Mishra / February 11th, 2016

Watch ‘Dastaan-e-Rafi’, a Special Feature exploring the life of Mohammed Rafi

Mumbai, MAHARASHTRA :

On the occasion on his 92nd birth anniversary watch Dastaan-e-Rafi, a special feature paying tribute to the legendary Mohammed Rafi on 24th December at 10 AM .

The special feature  sheds light on every aspect of the legend’s life. With over 5 years’ worth of research and close to 60 interviews, this is  a detailed account of his personal life and professional relationships. Catch a glimpse of his  childhood brother, Siddique Rafi, who lives in Lahore, Pakistan. Take  a look at the insights  that would shape Mohammed Rafi into the Legend he became .

Watch his illustrious colleagues  Shammi Kapoor,Manoj Kumar amongst others  reminisce about him. Other greats like Jeetendra, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor ,and the younger generation  of Sonu Nigam, Javed Ali express  their gratitude for him.

http://www.zeeclassic.com/promos/watch-dastaan-e-rafi-special-feature-exploring-the-life-mohammed-rafi

source: www.youtube.com

These Hyderabadis are new YouTube sensation

Hyderabad, TELANGANA  :

Viral guys:Syed Viquaruddin, Mohd Abdul Samad, Mizbahuddin and Syed Atif teamed up as Kantriguyz and started making videos in 2013.-Photo: By arrangement
Viral guys:Syed Viquaruddin, Mohd Abdul Samad, Mizbahuddin and Syed Atif teamed up as Kantriguyz and started making videos in 2013.-Photo: By arrangement

They are now recognised in public places

A few random concepts and some funny videos later, these content creators from twin cities are now the brand ambassadors of YouTube. Life has changed all of a sudden for these Hyderabadis who are now recognised in public places and pressured to come up with better videos. Jahnavi Dasetty, who runs her own channel ‘Mahathalli’ and Syed Viquar Mohiuddin of ‘Kantriguyz’ were speakers at the YouTube ‘Happy Hour’ event organised in the city recently.

Less than a year after she uploaded her first video, Jahnavi has now more than one lakh subscribers to her credit. Till date, she has made close to 30 videos in which she essays different characters. “I play simple characters which everyone relates to. I think that clicked well with the viewers,” says Jahnavi who played a middle-class youngster troubled by her mother to get married. Jahnavi, who is interested direction as well, also landed up a role in a Telugu movie after her videos went viral. She also went on to collaborate with other popular creators like Chicago Subbarao.

With their signature Hyderabadi lingo and style, four youngsters, Syed Viquaruddin, Mohd Abdul Samad, Mizbahuddin and Syed Atif teamed up as Kantriguyz and started making videos in 2013.

“There was only one content provider making funny videos in the language that Hyderabadis speak but they were not our inspiration. We followed The Viral Fever channel closely and made Hyderabadi version of a spoof which went viral,” said Mr. Mohiuddin, who is pursuing BBA degree. “We are recognised wherever we go. We are asked by people to make more videos because of which we plan to upload at least three videos a month.”

Their channel has more than 20,000 subscribers.

The youngster has set himself a target too. “If my channel gets more than one lakh subscribers within two years, I will pursue a career in this field.” David Powell, Online Partner Operations efforts across Asia-Pacific, YouTube said that the traditional media content uploaded in India is increasing by 75% every year. He said that a number of events are being conducted by them across the country to encourage regional content providers and provide a platform for them to network and collaborate.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Rahul Devulapalli / Hyderabad – November 02nd, 2016

The Quint: Vadodara Mosque Claims to House World’s Largest Quran

 

Published on May 23, 2016

The Juma Masjid in Vadodara houses a unique 250-year-old Quran. At six and a half feet long, and four and a half feet wide, members of the mosque trust claim it to be world’s largest Quran.

Handwritten by Mohammad Ghous nearly 250 years ago, two volumes of the Holy Quran were restored at the Jama Masjid in Vadodara in May

source: http://www.youtube.com