As my mentor was unable to meet with me since our last meeting, she had given me a large list of resources to look to and check out to grab inspiration from. I have been working my way through them, and by the end (hopefully by this weekend) I will have a visual organizer of the different paths in which I would like to pursue this project, as she suggested. A few main ideas and places she wanted me to explore on my own time are:
- Indian Sufi music (soul music)
- Sachal music
- Vancouver intercultural orchestra
- Ragas relating to physical properties of life
Sufi Music: Music from the Soul
Sufi music is originally a Islamic-based devotional genre of music, and has since been transferred to many south-Asian and middle-Eastern cultures as soulful, spiritual and/or devotional music. Here is a sample of Indian Sufi music, the song Man Kun Tho Maula roughly translates to “My Mind is That of God.” It is a devotional piece full of emotion, and as seen by Pooja Gaitonde, requires great love and passion to perform with full justice. I would recommend listening to the beginning few minutes, and one part that really demonstrates the intricacies involved in singing a song like this can been heard around 6:25 – 8:00.
Sachal Music: Jazz and Indian Classical Fusion
Sachal Music is an Indian group known for their classical renditions of western jazz standards. This is a really cool resource to look at, as it shows just how technical and precise fusion music can be, avoiding, in the words of Nina, “fusion music turning into confusion music.” The video below is of famous director and musician Wynton Marsalis and his band, along with Sachal Music, performing John Coltrane’s My Favourite Things as a jazz/Hindustani fusion piece.
Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra: Demonstrating the Effects of Ragas
The Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra is an organization in Vancouver that focuses on bringing light upon various cultures of music, one of which being Indian and south-Asian music. Below is a show hosted by the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, a performance by Dhruba Gosh, a legendary sarangi player (sarangi is the instrument he performs with below), performing the raga Bhairav.
A raga, or raag, is a collection of notes that form a scale, and each raag is composed of different degrees of notes, and have different moods and significance to them. In western music, the raag can be seen as the equivalent to a mode.
He goes on in the beginning of the video to explain how Bhairav is a pentatonically constructed raga with a flat 2nd, flat 7th, and the omission of the 3rd and 6th degrees of the scale. It is generally a raga that is meant to be played or sung in the very early morning, and it’s purpose being:
“… asking the Creator, with the help of time and space, to help me to recognize you. Awaken me from my deep slumber to supreme consciousness, by crossing the limits of space and time.”
Essentially, any song based on a raag is meant to evoke intense emotion from the observer. Gosh demonstrates the power of the raga on the sarangi in the performance below.
These are some of the concepts I have been able to look into over this past week or so. The visual organizer I hope to complete will contain all the resources and ideas I have collected laid out in different paths for me to consider. These other resources include two documentaries I have been recommended to watch, various other groups, and Asian Heritage Month in Vancouver. I am already learning so much about my culture and the divers ways to approach my project; I’m excited to keep chugging away!