Perhaps the most remembered and quoted woman in India’s history is the 16th century poet, singer and saint Meerabai, or Meera. Versions of her songs are sung today all over India, and she often appears as a subject in films, books, dances, plays and paintings. Meerabai belonged to the Rajput aristocracy. From an early age, she worshiped the image of Krishna. Her form of worship was influenced by a number of her relatives who were devotees of a mystical form of Hinduism called Bhakti. In the Bhakti tradition, one approaches one’s God through pure love, without any restrictions of caste, color or gender.
E Ri Main To Prem Diwani is one of Mirabai’s most popular songs. The singers featured here are from across all genres of music. They belong to different times and were trained for diverse styles of music. While Aziz Mian is a famous qawwal from Pakistan, Lakshmi Shankar is a renowned Hindustani classical singer. Juthika Roy is a legendary bhajan singer of yesteryear. Geeta Dutt and Lata Mangeshkar, as we all know, are associated with Hindi film music. The styles of their singing may be different but the passion is the same. Take your pick.
Aziz Mian – Prem Diwani (Qawwali) :
Lakshmi Shankar – Eri Main To Prem Diwani (Bhajan) :
Lata Mangeshkar – Eri Main To Prem Diwani (Nau Bahar 1952) :
Geeta Dutt – Eri Main To Prem Diwani (Jogan 1950) :
Karunesh, born Bruno Reuter is a German-born Newage and Ambient musician. His music has strong Afro-Asian and Indian influences prevalent throughout, with liberal use of Indian instruments, such as the sitar. Although he had been drawn to music as a child and played in bands as a teenager, he chose to study graphic design as a career. However, after attaining his degree, Karunesh was involved in a serious road accident. His brush with death prompted him to choose music as a career instead of graphic design. He rethought his life and embarked on a spiritual journey of sorts, traveling in 1979 to India.
He became initiated in spirituality and took on a new name, Karunesh, a Sanskrit name, meaning compassion. Back in Germany, Karunesh came in contact with many musicians from all over the world and developed an ability to weave different styles and feelings from different cultures together in a living symbiosis, creating a music that is both relaxing and spiritual. Presented here are a few tracks from his album Global Spirit.
Karunesh – Call of the Tribes (Remix) :
Karunesh – Punjab :
Karunesh – Kabuka Ma :
Karunesh – Bombay Pure :
Karunesh – Solitude :
Karunesh is now living in Maui, in the US state of Hawaii, since 1992.
Susheela Raman, born in London, is an acclaimed British Tamil musician. Susheela’s parents are from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India, who arrived in London in 1960s. At the age of four, Susheela and her family left the UK for Australia. Susheela grew up singing South Indian classical music and began giving recitals at an early age. As a teenager in Sydney she started her own band, describing its sound as Funk and Rock and Roll, before branching out into Blues and Jazz based music, which demanded quite different voice techniques. She tried to bring these streams together when in 1995 she travelled to India to rediscover her roots by way of exploring Carnatic music.
Love Trap, produced by Sam Mills, is a pleasing and sensually charged album that takes on various folk music traditions to create a unique hybrid. The tracks are sung in various languages, infusing a myriad of styles, including Tuvan throat singing (overtone chanting) and the complex wail of India’s traditional Carnatic vocals. The album flirts with trip-hop, rock, and electronica. The music pulsates with energy and each musician is given a chance to shine on the album’s instrumental interludes. ‘Ye Meera Divanapan Hai’ was originally sung by Mukesh in the Hindi film Yehudi (1958). ‘Sakhi Maro’ is a devotional song by the 16th century mystic singer Meera Bai.
Susheela Raman – Love Trap :
Susheela Raman – Manasuloni :
Susheela Raman – Sakhi Maro :
Susheela Raman – Ye Meera Divanapan Hai :
Susheela Raman – Blue Lily Red Lotus :
Please forgive the spellings in the track names, as these have been taken in verbatim, as printed on the CD.
It always feels good to hear experimental music, especially of the type that emanates the synergy produced by Eastern and Western sounds. Just a week ago I got a message from John Wrinch Williams, a musician of note. He seemed very happy about the idea of Indian Rasa. After all, a blog was being launched to feature his brand of music. John Wrinch Williams, adapt at playing many instruments, is the founder of the band, the Arboreal Quartet, a labour of over two decades of musical exploration. With extensive on-stage, studio and on-air experience in genres as diverse as jazz, folk, electronic, Hindustani, and Celtic music, John now primarily plays the sarod. He has been a student and follower of sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
The Arboreal Quartet is a self-titled, debut CD of the band. The album was recorded live in one studio session. On acoustic guitar is Tom Eliosoff, while J F Martins plays the upright bass. Fernando Gelso is on the drums. I wish John would contemplate including a Tabla player as well in the band. But again, I wonder, how could it remain a ‘Quartet’ anymore, if he really did include one. Nevertheless, the sounds are very relaxing and the album can be best enjoyed during siesta time, a very creditable debut release by all standards. There are 10 tracks in the album. Here are a few, which I liked more:
the Arboreal Quartet – Lucky :
the Arboreal Quartet – Shift :
the Arboreal Quartet – Mountain :
the Arboreal Quartet – Dang :
the Arboreal Quartet – Cycle :
the Arboreal Quartet – Dee :
Download all 10 tracks (zip file), in CD quality, by clicking here.
Songs courtesy: John Wrinch Williams of the Arboreal Quartet.
In Rajasthan, numerous nomads wander the Thar desert or camp on the outskirts of its large towns. Amongst them there are the Gaduliya Lohars (blacksmiths), the Banjaras (originally in charge of the salt business) and the Kalbeliya Saperas, who charm snakes and treat their bites. Gulabi Sapera belongs to this last community.
Thierry ‘Titi’ Robin is an exceptional guitarist, Oud and Bouzouki player. His musical achievements are characterised by a coherence of style, derived from his deep interest in Gypsy culture, which for him is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and the basis for colourful artistic coalition with Gypsy artists from all over the world.
Their album Rakhi is dedicated to the union of their respective worlds using songs from the world of the Kalbeliyas. The opening track, Holi Yaad, introduces the listener to the unique atmosphere of the album. Gulabi’s singing is calm and nostalgic, the delicate sound of Robin’s guitar immerse the listener into a pleasant swing. Gulabi’s voice often converses with male voices (Saway Nath and Banwari Sapera), making the music more complete. Surprisingly, the most raunchy track Bichu Rap draws the greatest attention. It is a kind of a dialogue between a woman and a man, overflowing with emotions in a theatrical way, leaving no one indifferent to what is being sung.