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Sarangi in a new avatar

March 1, 2011 04:04:07 PM IST
Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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In 2010 in Jaipur Cultural Festival that is held every year after the Jaipur Literary Festival there was a musical concert, and the audience was regaled with the treat of a Sarangi concert, the popular Indian musical instrument that is otherwise associated with sad moments in Hindi cinema. The best part was the young audience in the crowd who seemed to be mesmerized by the caressing of the bow on the multiple strings of the device to produce sounds, which an electronic instrument cannot even fathom to think about. Subsequently, there was a concert of Ustad Sultan Khan, famous singer, who became famous with his Piya Basanti, which could probably described as a song in the recent times, that sort of deconstructed Sarangi and reintroduced as an instrument that could connote love as well. No wonder, Sultan Khan had an improvised jamming with the Sarangi player in the concert and it did bring the audience stand up on its feet, though it was a cold desert night.

One year Sarangi seems to have found a new identity in the world of Hindi music and a part of the new identity has also been contributed by the Indian music bands of the likes of Indian Ocean whose Ma Rewa song is a song that flows along with the musical nodes emanating from the flow of bow of Sarangi.

In the world of Hindi music, Sarangi hitherto was played in the background or in the interlude, to connote melancholy. It was however left to Khayyam to give it a new avatar to Sarangi as he did in UMRAO JAAN with his famous song, and no doubt one of the all time great songs that Asha Bhonsle has sung in his career, "In Aankhon ki Masti ke", wherein the interlude the crescendo of Sarangi indeed added mystery to UMRAO JAAN's persona on the screen, and as a logical reflection on Rekha as well. Subsequently the titillation that Shubha Mudgal could bring out in the song 'Seekho Na Naino Ki Bhasha Piya' from her album 'Ghata Sawan Ki', was primarily owing to the sexy haunt that Sarangi could produce, it being played by Murad Ali.

Sarangi was an orphan in Indian music as it was considered a necessary accompaniment to Kotha singing, and associated with Nautch girls, but by orphaning it, a whole generation was denied its outreach, as here is an instrument that has 100 different kinds of sound outputs from its stringed body and the new generation of Sarangi players are indeed demonstrating it in a big way, and among the notable luminaries can be included Kamal Sabri.

Let's hope that Sarangi finds its due recognition, and does not remain a LAWAARIS in the world of Hindi music, as Sarangi has the same place in Hindustani music akin to a violin in Carnatic music.

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