Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Legacy of 7 Notes: Pandit Jasraj

Pandit Jasraj

Pandit Jasraj is the focus tonight. Born in 1930 into a Haryanvi Brahmin family of musicians, Jasraj knew from his earliest days what he wanted to be. His father was an acclaimed classical singer who was to take up a position as court musician for the Nizam of Hyderabad when he unexpectedly passed away.  “All my father left me was 7 notes,” Jasraj would say recalling the notes he heard his father practicing as a toddler.

Jasraj’s uncle Maniram encouraged the young boy into music but not as a singer. Rather he had him trained as a tabla player who accompanied Maniram in his performances.  Jasraj chafed with the poor treatment he, like all accompanists in those days, received and vowed he would sing or nothing else. He took a vow to not cut his hair until he was recognized as a singer, a pledge he kept until at last he sang on All India Radio.

Pandit Jasraj’s vocal range extends three-and-a-half octaves and it uses precise diction, a trademark of the Mewati gharana's style of khayal. He has also done extensive research in Haveli Sangeet under Baba Shyam Manohar Goswami Maharaj to create numerous innovative bandish (composition).
Jasraj created a novel form of jugalbandi, styled on the ancient system of Moorchana, between a male and a female vocalist, who each sing different ragas at the same time. In his honor, this legendary jugalbandi is known as The Jasrangi. This name was coined by music connoisseurs in Pune. (Wikipedia)

Listen to his amazing interpretation of Raga Puriya to get an appreciation of his range and power as singer.  This is a double disc set from the National Centre for the Performing Arts and is stupendously moving. 

            Track Listing:
            Disc One
            01 Raga Bhairav (Ektal)
            02 Jaijaiwanti (Ektal)
            03 Shuddha Sarang (Jhaptal)
            04 Raga Din ki Puriya (Teental)
Listen here.

            Track Listing:
            Disc Two
01.   Raga Gujari Todi (Ektal)
02.   Raga Gauri (Ektal)
03.   Raga Puriya (Ektal)
04.   Raga Darbari Kanada (Ektal)
Listen here.


kokolo said...

Anjabi I am sorry for lack of eloquence, I hope a simple warm thanks will do, for twe previous classics.

ajnabi said...

Kokolo, warmly appreciated!

DrKashyap said...

Thanks for the posts. May i suggest one correction ? Maniram was not his uncle but his elder brother along with 3rd brother pratap narayan. Other people from this family are puranchandra gavaiya (cousin), sharang dev (son, music director, durga (daughter,anchor) sulakhshana pandit(niece, singer), vijayeta pandit (niece,actress), jatin, lalit, mandar(nephews, music directors)- Dr.kashyap

MarviniusMartinium said...

I have never really been into Indian singing but this man's performance on the first track alone is quite extraordinary....might have opened up a brand new horizon for me to investigate....muito obrigado.

Anonymous said...

Can you please repost - Both the MF links are dead !