Friday, March 29, 2024

Hori - Semi classical form

Hori is another semi-classical genre closely associated with the festival of Holi, which celebrates the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. Rooted in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh, Hori depicts the playful and colorful aspects of Holi through its lively rhythms and energetic melodies. 

Like Chaiti and Thumri, Hori explores themes of love, romance, and celebration, but with a specific focus on the festive spirit of Holi and the playful interactions between Lord Krishna and Radha. Hori compositions often incorporate elements of folk music and dance, inviting participants to join in the joyous revelry of the festival.

Rural and traditional communities throughout India have evolved with their own regional customs and festivals, which are celebrated with Folk music unique to that community and region. It is almost impossible to identify all kinds of Folk music in India; however the most popular musical genre, sung during ‘Holi’, the festival of Colors is ‘Hori’

Hori is a semi-classical form of music and dance that is closely associated with the festival of Holi, which celebrates the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. It is primarily performed in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh, the land of Lord Krishna's childhood. Hori songs typically depict the playful and colorful aspects of Holi, with lyrics that celebrate the joyous mood of the festival, the playful antics of Lord Krishna and Radha, and the splashing of colors. The music of Hori is characterized by its lively rhythms and energetic melodies, often accompanied by traditional instruments such as the tabla, harmonium, and flute.

Hori comes in the series of season songs, like Chaiti, Sawani and Kajari, and is traditionally sung in the villages and towns of Uttar Pradesh: around Banaras, Mirzapur, Mathura, Allahabad and the Bhojpur regions of Bihar. Songs of Hori are related to Radha-Krishna Leela in the festival of Holi.

“Holi khele raghubira Awadh mein” from the film “Baghban” and the hugely popular “Rang barse” are ulharas which have their roots in Awadh. In the film “Kati Patang”, the Holi song “Aaj na choddenge bas humjoli” has shades of Dhamar. This form begins with a slow tempo but as it progresses it becomes extremely fast. “Holi aayi re kanhai” from “Mother India” is a hori but interestingly has a kajri tune.

Shringar rasa dominates in the Hori compositions. There is a lot of chhed-chhaad. Though most of the songs are upbeat in nature, there are few based on viraha evoking the pathos of two separated lovers. In Mathura-Vrindavan, every hori revolves around Radha-Krishna and is called Raas. In Awadh region, one would find many compositions on Ram and his brothers playing Holi, for example “Awadh nagariya chhayi re bahariya, ke bhal rang khele hori chaaro bhaiyan”, whereas it is only in the Banaras tradition that one finds the mention of Lord Shankar and Parvati in the Hori compositions: “Krishna Murari sang Radhika khele parvat upar maja Shankarji le le aur Gaura ki bhijat chir ho”. 

Hori is a form which describes Holi played by Krishna, the lyrical content of Hori is similar to Dhamar and the musical form is allied to the Khayal form. The Raga commonly used for Hori or Khayal with descriptions of Holi is Kafi. 

Other than Raga kafi traditional Horis are also sung in many other ragas as Semi-classical compositions in ragas like Mishra kafi, Khamaj, Shahana kanhara, sarang, pilu and many mishra ragas. Significantly, horis are mostly set to a tala of 14 beats called Deepchandi and are also sung in teentaal (16 beats), Rupak (7beats), ektal (12beats) and jhaptaal (10beats). The famous Hori “Hori main kheloongi unsang dat ke, jo piya ayenge brij se palat ke”sung by Smt. Shobha Gurtu is an exquisite example of hori sung in thumri style in raga shahana kanhara set in a keherwa . At the conclusion of the hori, laggis are played on the tabla, which adds a bit of excitement after a spell of relaxed singing.

It is interesting to note that Raja Mansingh Tomar of Gwalior (1486-1516 AD) was the driving force behind introducing and consolidating Dhrupad and composing three volumes of songs namely Vishnupadas (songs in praise of lord Vishnu), Dhrupads, and Hori and Dhamar songs associated with Holi. Mansingh's support gave a place of pride to these genres in the society, thereby relating music to the lives and language of the laymen.

Colors of Holi Thumris

1)  A  beautiful descriptive Hori by the Banaras Gharana stalwart, Pta Siddheshwari Devi, based on Raga Kaafi, Deepchandi Taal, Udat Abeer Gulaal, Laali Chhaai Re

2) The same Hori Thumri, rendered by Pta Siddheshwari Devi’s daughter and disciple, Savita Devi. The style is similar, albeit their improvisations are very different.…

3) This is a common theme and here’s another very popular Hori by the Banaras Gharana stalwart, Pta Shobha Gurtu. It describes the ambiance of Holi, Aaj Biraj Mein Holi Re Rasiyaa.

4) Begum Akhtar’s famous Hori in raga Zila Kaafi , Kaisi Yeh Dhoom Machaayi, Kanhaiyya.

5) Hori by one of the stalwarts of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana, Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar’s elaboration in raga Khamaaj. Aaye Shyam Mose Khelan Holi

6) Begum Akhtar’s Hori Khelan Kaise Jaun based on Raga Piloo has Radha wondering to a friend if it would be appropriate for her to join the Holi with Krishna.

7) In Pta Shubha Mudgal’s Hori, Kanhaiya Ghar Chalo Mori Guiyaan, Radha tells her friend, let’s go to Krishna’s house to play Holi.

8) Pt Chhannulal Mishra of the Banaras Gharana sings Rang Daarungi Daarungi Nanda Ke Laalane Pe

The amazingly talented, Kaushiki Chakraborty, also has a beautiful rendition of this piece, on the same Raga but with a completely different flavor.

9) Pt Ajoy Chakraborty sings his guru, Pt Gyan Prakash Ghosh’s bilingual composition based on raga Khamaaj. Saari Daar Gaye Mo Pe Rang Ki Gaagar

10) The Pta Veena Sahasrabuddhe of the Gwalior Gharana has an electrifying Hori in raga Adana, Hori Hori Hori Khelat Nandalal.

11) Mewati Gharana’s Pt Sanjeev Abhyankar, possibly Pt Jasraj’s most famous disciple, sings another descriptive Hori based on Raga Tilang, Mohan Khelat Hori.

12) Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib, a doyen of the Patiala Gharana was as brilliant with his Thumris including Hori Thumris as with his Khayals. Listen to his amazing meandering taans in this brilliant Hori in Raga Des, Hori Khelan Jaaun.

13) Pt Bhimsen Joshi of the Kirana Gharana is known to everyone with the slightest familiarity with Hindustani classical music. His Hori Khelat Nandakumar is based on Raga Kaafi.

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Sankalan by Meetkalakar Team

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

A Journey Across Continents: A Conversation with Aparna Waikar

Let's dive into the adventures of Aparna Waikar, who has traveled from India to Germany, China, and now Thailand. In this conversation, Richa Rajadhyax talks with Aparna about her experiences in different countries. and now Thailand. In this conversation, Richa Rajadhyax talks with Aparna about her experiences in different countries.

Richa: Aparna, moving from one country to another must have been quite a journey. How did you handle the changes in culture and language?

Aparna: Each move brought its own set of challenges and discoveries. When I first arrived in Germany, I assumed that English would suffice, only to realize the stark reality of a language barrier. Learning German was essential for integration, and although challenging, the process was rewarding. In China, where the language was even more daunting, adaptation took time but was facilitated by the warmth and kindness of the locals.

Richa: It sounds like you had some interesting experiences. Can you tell us more about your time in Germany and China?

Aparna: Sure! In Germany, we lived in a cozy village where even simple tasks like taking my son to kindergarten became opportunities to learn about the culture. Despite not speaking much English, the locals were really nice. In China, we stayed in Shanghai for a long time and felt at home, especially with the Marathi community.

Richa: That's wonderful to hear! With all these different places you've lived in, where do you feel most comfortable?

Aparna: Shanghai holds a special place in my heart. We spent a lot of time there and felt like a part of the community, especially with fellow Marathi folks.

Richa: It's wonderful how your experiences in Germany have shaped your perspective on community and social connections. Can you share more about how you reached out to the Marathi community there?

Aparna: Absolutely! When our younger son was about to turn one, we wanted to celebrate his birthday in a big way, not just with our small family. So, we decided to reach out to the Marathi community in Germany. My husband contacted a travel agency owned by a Marathi individual, Ravi Kaka Deshpande, to gather contact information of Marathi people in the area. Since WhatsApp wasn't around back then, my husband personally emailed and called each person to invite them to the birthday celebration.

Richa: That sounds like a heartwarming initiative! How did the Marathi community react to your invitation?

Aparna: They were pleasantly surprised by our gesture, as they had never received such personalized invitations before. Despite being strangers initially, they all showed up for our son's birthday, and we felt incredibly grateful for their presence. This event not only marked a joyous celebration but also strengthened our bonds with the Marathi community in Germany, leaving us connected even after all these years.

Richa: It's evident that your time in Shanghai has been enriching in many ways. Could you share more about the connections and activities you engaged in during your stay there?

Aparna: Absolutely! Shanghai became a hub of experiences and friendships for us. Over the course of 12 years, we formed tight-knit groups and delved into various activities. We met countless people and established enduring bonds, much like we did in Germany. Even though our time in Bangkok has been shorter, we anticipate a similar sense of community here due to the warmth and enthusiasm of the people.

Richa: Building such strong connections must have been quite fulfilling. Can you elaborate on the impact Shanghai had on your sense of social responsibility?

Aparna: Shanghai instilled in us a profound sense of duty towards our homeland, despite being far away. Our interactions with diverse individuals broadened our perspectives and fueled a desire to contribute to Indian society, even from afar. This realization was pivotal in shaping our role in the community and fostering a deep appreciation for the opportunities Shanghai afforded us.

Richa: Can you share more about the events and initiatives you organized during your time in Shanghai?

Aparna: Certainly! We organized several key events throughout the year, with Gudi Padwa being one of the highlights.

One standout event was when we had the privilege of hosting the Mangeshkar family, including Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar ji, in Shanghai. Instead of arranging hotel accommodations, we welcomed them into our home, forging personal connections that endure to this day. We also organized theme-based programs during Ganpati festivals, focusing on topics like women empowerment, which provided a platform for local members to showcase their talents and fostered a sense of unity within the community.

Richa:  It's truly inspiring to hear about the impact of these initiatives. How did your involvement in the Indian Association contribute to your overall experience in Shanghai?

Aparna: My husband served as the president of the Indian Association for four years, during which we organized numerous programs and events that bridged the gap between India and China. These experiences were not only enriching but also instilled a sense of pride in representing our culture and heritage on an international stage.

In wrapping up, Aparna Waikar's journey teaches us about the power of friendships, celebrating cultures, and lending a helping hand. From India to Germany, China, and now Thailand, she's shown how reaching out can create lasting bonds and make a difference. By organizing events, hosting artists, and supporting local talent, Aparna's story reminds us of the joy and value in connecting with others and sharing our traditions. As she continues her adventures, let's take inspiration from her openness and kindness to make our own communities brighter and more vibrant.

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Saturday, March 9, 2024

Art: A Journey with Art Lovers

 Art: A Journey with Art Lovers - Exploring Indian culture across continents

Get ready for an exciting adventure into the world of art with our upcoming talk show, "Art: A Journey with Art Lovers." In this series, we'll be chatting with art enthusiasts who live outside of India but have a deep love for Indian culture and art.

Our guests come from all over the world and have fascinating stories to share. 

In a world where cultural diversity is both celebrated and challenged, there exists a dedicated cohort of individuals passionately working to preserve and promote Maharashtrian culture, language, and festivals on a global scale. Through their unwavering commitment and tireless efforts, these cultural ambassadors serve as guardians of tradition, ensuring that the rich heritage of Maharashtra transcends geographical boundaries and resonates with audiences far beyond its native shores.

Join us as we dive into their experiences, learn about their favorite artists and artworks, and discover how they stay connected to Indian culture from afar. Whether you're a fellow art lover or just curious about the ways in which art can bridge distances and bring people together, this talk show promises to be an inspiring and eye-opening journey.

At the forefront of this cultural movement are individuals who, despite living outside of India, remain deeply connected to their roots and are determined to uphold the essence of Maharashtrian identity. Through a series of captivating interviews, our upcoming talk show, "Art: A Journey with Art Lovers," will shine a spotlight on these remarkable individuals, exploring their personal stories, artistic endeavors, and the impact of their work on preserving and promoting Maharashtrian culture.

So grab a cup of chai, settle in, and join us as we embark on this exciting exploration of art with NRI art lovers from around the globe!

Stay tuned for our upcoming interviews, where we'll dive deeper into the stories of these incredible individuals and learn more about the impact they're making on preserving Maharashtrian culture on a global scale. Together, let's celebrate the art lovers who are keeping our traditions alive and our culture vibrant, no matter where they may be.

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