Thursday, April 14, 2011

Waking up to Jaunpuri

Just when I’m about to crawl out of my bed, nothing else gives me more joy than listening to my dad play Sarangi in the morning. Today I was woken up by the poignant tune of raga jaunpuri. Unlike an alarm clock that you wish to shut or snooze as soon as it starts ringing, raga jaunpuri is one of those compositions that linger while you’re still asleep and before you know it, you’re up following each mukhda of the raga.

Kindly do not mistake raga jaunpuri for an early morning raga, it is a late morning raga; usually performed at around 9am. Seriously, gone are the days when we used to wake up to raga bhairav or lalit or basant mukhari at about 6.30am; those days seem so distant already. And now that we’re on the topic of good’ ol days, I feel raga jaunpuri too was orphaned of maestros performing it regularly while we speedily moved towards the new millennium. Ironically, about five decades ago stalwarts of Hindustani Classical music like Bhimsen Joshi and Kishori Amonkar had sung this composition on their first LP release. But today, musicians are seldom performing this raga, be it their CD release or a concert.

Sung by vocalists more often than performed by instrumentalists, raga jaunpuri consists of all the seven notes and is monotonic (straight). It is part of the Asavari Thaat and the aroha, avaroha is:
Aroha: S R M P d n S’; Avaroha: S' M d P M g R S. The most prominent note in this raga is the sixth note, Dha which is the Vadi Swar and the Samvadi Swar is Ga. Other singers performing this raga than the two mentioned above that I would recommend would be Amir Khan, Kesarbai Kerkar and Kumar Gandharva. Amongst the instrumentalists, I have heard a beautiful rendition of jaunpuri by Nikhil Banerjee.

This raga’s appeal lies in its soft, pleasing and simple movements. And how do I put it but jaunpuri has this enduring effect on you when the raga moves from vilambit to drut. These are my observations although another reason why I felt the same is maybe because as soon as I got up today morning, I was hurrying to rush to work and never got to listen to the drut. That’s of course on a lighter note but I’ll maintain saying that jaunpuri is an awesome morning melody to be woken up to especially when your dad’s playing it. For the ones who are not as lucky, you can listen to drut rendition of the raga by Kishori Amonkar. 

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