Friday, December 29, 2006

Malkauns - The King of Raagas

Music: Malkauns, the King of Raagas

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There are some Raagas of such great depth that mere lifetimes
reveal next to nothing. Bhairavi is one such and so are Marwa,
Shree and Darbari.

But Malkauns....if honey were to be distilled into music,
it would result in Malkauns. Such is the spectacular greatness
of this Raaga, such is its haunting addictive quality that
the body and mind writhe in agony, unable to tolerate
sheer wonder of such magnitude.

Here is Malkauns.

Why so? There are so many Pentatonic Raags. None produce
the narcotic effect as pronounced as Malkauns. A nearby Raaga,
Chandrakauns, is a mere half note away and cannot reach as
soul-plumbing depths, though it is brilliant. The sustained
genius of Raaga Malkauns may perhaps reside in the flattened
Gandhar, Madhyam, Dhaivat and Nishad. But of what use is
such analysis? If music goads the spirit towards spiritual
release, then listen only to this Raaga.

A performance can analyze the approach to each note from
countless directions, revealing new roads and new wonders.
I recall the lovely sight of the late Pandit Shymal Bose
demonstrating a fascinating composition in Malkauns to me
many years ago in his flat in Kolkata. Mathematics, wonderful it was. His right hand waved gently
in the air as he followed notes as they emerged.
There was no Tanpura, no tabla. And how fantastic it was.

Only Kumar Gandharva made the bold attempt to introduce
the note Pancham in Malkauns but it is not possible for
most musicians to do so and get away with it.

Here is an extract from an my book, describing Malkauns
I rule over the emotions. I cause the deepest and gravest
feelings to swirl slowly around you, just as the Milky
Way with millions of stars moves imperceptibly around a
central point.

Komal Dhaivat gives peace, calm and order to the troubled
turbulent mind. The movement between notes is slow and
gradual, like an elephant bearing me as I survey my
Kingdom of lesser Raags. Each note blends into the next
without breaking. All that I do must show reason.
Nothing capricious can exist when I am sung.

Sing every note slowly and peacefully. All manner
of existence come to me with their own tale of sorrow
or joy and all are consumed within me. And so to one
I can appear to describe the flowers in a garden. To
another I seem to describe Nataraj performing his
shattering Tandav Nritya. To yet another, I describe
the beauty of the night. I am mature, all knowing,
suffused in wisdom from aeons past.
  Listen to more Malkauns compositions

Here's one

A Sarangi piece

Another one

Another One.

The Ultimate

My best wishes to all of you in 2007. May Malkauns be with you.