August 30, 2006 2 Comments
Jalsa is a celebration, and in the context of this post, a celebration of music. And such a celebration I went to yesterday; a celebration which was lead by Pandit Jasraj and Shashank (an upcoming flautist) and which my imagination willingly followed.
It was the first Hindustani classical music concert I had gone to. If I said that it was an eye-opening experience, that would be an understatement; a more precise statement would be that it was so rapturous that I hardly ever opened my eyes during the performance.
The evening was organized by the Indian Music Academy. IMA is planning to hold 12 different concerts in different cities of the country where a well-known maestro will perform along with an upcoming artist. The evening began with Shashank on the flute, and Panditji came later to transport the audience to a make-believe world.
I personally believe that just like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, music lies in the ears of the listener. I assume people relate to different kinds of music and they related to each of them differently. However, to me the quality of classical music (both Indian and Western), that instead of relying on giving a direction to the listener by words, and giving a meaning to the melodies, it leaves the interpretations completely to the listener. And this is how I like to listen to music. Close your eyes and let your imagination run. And let it not stop!
And that is what I experienced yesterday. Music. Music that feels like a river flowing in a gorge. A waterfall. Rains in a rainforest. Wind whistling through the woods. Leaves rustling. Music that feels like a squirrel sprinting through the thick undergrowth. Music that feels like a lion chasing the antelope. The antelope escaping its predator. Music that feels like resting after a day’s hard work. Music that feels like being able to do work after moving heaven and earth. Like the precision of the planets around the sun. Like the madness of the sea. Like waves splashing on the shore. Like the sea-shells, each of a different design. Like the multitude of fish. Music that stagnates, music that enlivens, the constant and the variable. Music that feels like the touch of the beloved. Music that feels like the lover longing for her love. Like the dance of passion. Like the song of harmony. An orgasmic pleasure. Music that undulates like your heart before you utter those three magical words. Music that exhilarates like a “yes”. Music that can depress like a “no”. Music that feels like the touch of that special someone. Music that can feel like the closed fist of the newborn. Music that can laugh like a child, and cry like an adult. Music that grows like your baby. Music that can heal like the touch of the mother. Like the assurance of the father. Like the wishes of the forefathers. Music that feels like the spirits rising upto the heavens above. Music that descends from the heavens above to the auditorium below. Jalsa.
What you can do with just a flute is mind boggling.
Then came Panditji. At once guttural, at once shrill, at once wavering, at once constant, at once repetitive, at once spontaneous, at once nuanced, following a pattern, breaking from tradition, invoking the Gods above, inspiring the people in front of him. Not for nothing the Padma Vibhushan.
They said that music could inspire and entertain. I am so grateful I went.