Monday, May 31, 2010

78rpm vintage : Jaddan Bai

Are Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru/Gandhi family, and actor Sanjay Dutt, son of film stars of yesteryear, Nargis and Sunil Dutt, related to each other? Yes, if you believe IMDB, an Internet Movie Database site, owned by, a Fortune 500 company. Jaddan Bai, mother of Nargis, was born in Benares, around the year 1900. She was rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Motilal Nehru and famous courtesan Daleep Bai. Her mother (before she became a courtesan) hailed from a Brahmin family but was abducted by a group of trained tawaifs. Jaddan Bai was born a Hindu, picked from a mela of dancing girls when she was a child and groomed a tawaif. Though Jaddan was born in Benares, she was brought up in Allahabad. Jaddan Bai, became a disciple of noted Thumri singer Ustad Moijuddin Khan and the equally noted Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, younger brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Jaddan Bai became a very famous singer, composer, actress and filmmaker and was a good friend of Mehboob Khan who later became Nargis's mentor.

Jaddan Bai had three children from three different men. The story of the union of Jaddan and Mohanbabu is very interesting. Uttamchand Mohanchand belonged to an orthodox Mohyal Brahmin family of Rawalpindi. He was to go to England to study medicine but heard the voice of Jaddan Bai and fell in love with her. His family refused to accept Jaddan Bai as their daughter-in-law but that did not deter him from marrying her and dedicating his entire life to her. Nargis was named Fatima A Rashid by her father but she later adopted the name Nargis for Hindi movies. Jaddan Bai's two sons from different men, Akthar Hussain and Anwar Hussain became film directors and actors.

Jaddan Bai - Lagat Karejawa Mein Chot :  Download

Jaddan Bai - Roop Joban :  Download

Jaddan Bai - Tere Sang Raja :  Download

Jaddan Bai cast Nargis in Talashe Haq (1935), becoming the first woman composer of Indian cinema. In 1936, Jaddan Bai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddan Bai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the tender age of fourteen and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family. Jaddan Bai died on 8th April, 1949.

Disclaimer : The information on Jaddan Bai was collected from various credible and not-so-credible sources on the internet. The author of this blog does not in anyway mean to hurt the sentiments of anyone alive or disregard the souls of the dead.

.. more 78rpm vintage Songs »

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Adnan Sami : ecstasy on piano

Adnan Sami has a special command on Indian classical music notes. He developed his musical style and technique on the Piano, evolving a new sound, which he pioneered and ultimately introduced to the world, thus becoming the first person to play Indian classical music on the electric Piano. As a classical concert pianist, Adnan Sami has had the honour of giving performances before heads of governments such as President Mitterand of France, President and Prime Minister of India, President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and Prime Minister of Sweden. Apart from this, Adnan has performed for prestigious music festivals to sold-out stadiums of his concerts all over the world.

Ecstasy, a 1990 album, is part of Adnan Sami's journey into the world of Indian classical music, a world that he, unfortunately, abandoned in the later part of his career. Ecstasy has four tracks including one in Raga Khamaj. I am skipping this one as it has already been featured in one of my earlier posts, and was also part of Adnan's earlier album. It is surprising, but no details about Ecstasy is available anywhere. The whereabouts of the accompanyists, like the Tabla player, are unknown. Can someone find them, please?

Adnan Sami - Raga Bairagi :  Download

Adnan Sami - Folk Tune from N.W.F.P :  Download

Adnan Sami - Dhun in Raga Pilu :  Download

.. more Piano music by Adnan Sami »

Note : N.W.F.P stands for North West Frontier Province, the most northerly province of British India, now in Pakistan.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Indian Rasa : just another music blog

Bored of hearing classical music, day in and day out? Don't feel like listening to the scratchy vinyls of vintage Hindi film music either? Check out my new blog, Indian Rasa. As the name suggests it includes all hues and shades of Indian music, mostly experimental music. Be it Newage, Chillout or Raga Rock, you name it and you'll find it here. If everything goes well, I even intend to post Bhajans and Qawwalis, the ones that, I think, you may not have heard before. Hopefully, I'll include Ghazals as well, but at a later stage. The flavour of the music would remain essentially that of the Indian subcontinent.


Check it out, and fly high.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thumri : music of love

Rasas or emotions that govern human lives are mentioned in the Natya Shastra, the 400 B C 'bible' of Indian music, dance and drama. Shringar Rasa, the emotion of romantic love, is the essence of Thumri and its allied forms, Dadra, Kajri, Jhoola, Sawan, Hori and Chaiti. Thumri is a short piece of semi-classical rendition usually sung at the conclusion of a classical music concert. Thumri is based on the romantic-devotional literature inspired by the Radha-Krishna love theme. The words are strictly adhered to, and the singer attempts to interpret them with his/her melodic improvisations. It is quite usual for a singer to deviate from the rendered Raga, but momentarily.

Shobha Gurtu - Thumri Des - Saiyan Re Ho :  Download

Parween Sultana - Thumri Pilu - Tum Radhe Bano Shyam :  Download

Savita Devi - Thumri - Jao Wahin Tum Shyam :  Download

Savita Devi - Padi Gailen Chunaria Mein Daag :  Download

Savita Devi is daughter of Siddheshwari Devi, the legendary Purab Ang singer of Benares and one of the finest exponents of Thumri, Dadra, Kajri, Chaiti, Hori and Tappa.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Ragas and Sagas

An absolute masterpiece, Ragas and Sagas is what fusion music ought to be. It strikes the right balance between Western instrumental and Eastern vocal music. A brilliant collaborative effort by Ustad Fateh Ali Khan of Patiala Gharana (not to be confused with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, please) and Norwegian Jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek, this 1990 album is a bold, enticing journey down the lanes of Indian classical music. The music is augmented by the resonant voices of Fateh Ali Khan and Deepika Thathaal, as well as excellent Tabla work by Shaukat Hussain. Sarangi is played by Nazim Ali Khan, while Manu Katche is on the drums. Added to this is the magical Saxophone by Jan Garbarek. The result is simply stunning.

Jan Garbarek & Fateh Ali Khan - Raga 1 :  Download

Jan Garbarek & Fateh Ali Khan - Saga :  Download

Jan Garbarek & Fateh Ali Khan - Raga 2 :  Download

Jan Garbarek & Fateh Ali Khan - Raga 3 :  Download

Jan Garbarek & Fateh Ali Khan - Raga 4 :  Download

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Kya baat hai

The beauty and speciality of Indian classical music is its unplanned improvisation. This aspect of our music comes out at its best in a live concert. Because, the instant reaction of the audience is very inspiring for the musician. It is not unusual if two performing musicians have a brief tete-a-tete with each other and even with the audience during the concert. Wah! Kya Baat Hai (Wow! Great), is a phrase, used very commonly by almost every vocalist and instrumentalist for the accompanying Tabla player and vice versa. It is an expression of admiration and appreciation exclaimed by one musician to the other. Some anecdotes, moments of nostalgia, a bit of humour, brief explanation of the Raga that is being rendered, a few words in praise of the Guru, all these are ingredients that make an informal Indian classical music concert unforgettable and unique in the world.

Ajoy Chakrabarty - Pilu - Kate Na Biraha Ki Raat (56:39) :  Download

Padma Talwalkar - Thumri - Kaise Kate Din Ratiyan (12:53) :  Download

Prabhakar Karekar - Desi - Akhiyan Bhar Aayi (47:30) :  Download

Prabha Atre - Dadra - Balama Ne Churayi Nindiya (15:44) :  Download