Mixed feeling. Was the concert entertaining - yes. Guess it is also hard to cater to an audience so diverse, there was too much vocal gymnastics. But thats what the majority of the audience likes and appreciates. It seemed more like the Bollywood version of Qawwali. The essence of Qawwali/Maqaam music is to bring forth the spirituality in the lyric using a certain "lagaav" or employment of the note in a certain way. That was somewhat absent. The likes of Amir Khusrau, Rumi are hard to grasp anyway, it is the immersive experience of the music which was lacking. Using sargam, taraana style singing is all part of qawwali but it has its distinct flavor, what was demonstrated on stage was what we see these days in run-on-the mill Indian Classical concerts. Man Kunto Maula and Damadam Masta Kalandar are compositions that will drive a listener crazy (in a good way), when done well, they evoke spontaneous reactions from the audience in different ways. No one needs to be told to stand up. Technically, the singers were very gifted, I especially observed their skillful and highly aesthetic transitioning from one raga to another. In the first piece, am not certain but it seemed like gliding from a variation of Yaman/Kalyan to Nand-like patterns, then definitely resting upon Raga Lalat. More like Moorchana style of singing, very deeply rooted in Hindusthani/Dhrupad forms of music - very rarely sung on stage by performers of the day. Feel sad when artists of such high calibre cater a concert to populist tastes. Rigor is good, rigor will reveal most aesthetic possibilities of sound and if the audience is not conditioned enough, it is upon the performers to raise the bar, that is the highest service to one's art. I would love to listen to the artists' riyaaz, where am sure they must sing their best...thanks UMS.
Posted: 3/22/14 -- 2:25 pm