Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yaman - The Infinite

Yaman is a very sweet and popular evening Raaga. It is very vast
and can be explored endlessly without getting bored. Many teachers
start off their students with this Raaga, though that is not true in
Carnatic music where the Raaga of choice is Mayamalawagowla.

Evening Raagas employ the Teevra (Sharp) Madhyam for good effect.
The beauty of Yaman is the invisible presence of this note without
it actually being played till much later, thus building up a climax
of sorts. The eventual playing of this note brings great relief
and relaxation as though heralding the close of a long day.

In Yaman Kalyan, we see the presence of both Madhyams. Another
popular Raaga is Yamani Bilawal. This is an evergreen Raaga easily
deployed in Ghazals, Light Music and more.

Here is a description from an unknown book

"And so it refers to Pancham and begins again. Yaman floats within
and without. And like the pearl that Shuddha Nishad and Shuddha
Rishab hid, I see Teevra Madhyam! Present in its own absence, glittering
when invoked, I bow to this note. Tears have flown down from unseeing
eyes, ecstatic with happiness. My feet disappear, my legs grow numb,
and my hands waste away. I do not know what is above or below, left
or right. Nothing has meaning anymore, because everything now is
understood. I float in a pool of music. There is no thought of an end,
of the passage of time. God has mercy on me now and allows Pancham and
Shuddha Gandhar to veil this note again. And with a slow flourish,
the explanation for this act of mercy is given: Shuddha Nishad,
Shuddha Rishabh, Pancham, Shuddha Rishabh and Shadaj!

My daughter lies asleep in my bed, an unnatural glow radiating from her.
Her innocent heart has heard and understood Yaman better than I possibly
could. I look at her with loving pride.

The movement of life has altered my ability to understand music and where
I find references to reality in music and perhaps miss the point altogether,
she easily understands grander things without being awed!

Is there now a rhythm, a cadence? My heart mimics it in vain, hoping to
understand Yaman this way. My eyelids grow heavy; my ability to think has
been taken away. The notes of Yaman reduce everything to irrelevance.
Can I understand Shuddha Gandhar? Can I understand its twin, Shuddha Nishad?

My blood runs cold for a second as a fleeting understanding invades my
soul. Finding me unable to withstand its import, ignorance floods in again
and I feel only the peace that I can handle without any destruction. I
lift my numb arms to heaven, in hopelessness. Oh God! Why did you do this?

I see a smile on my sleeping daughter's face. Then she shifts in her sleep
and turns her face away from mine. God has spoken through her again and I
have been spared. The echoes of Yaman must diminish to a level I can

Listen to Yaman

Shubra Guha - Yaman Kalyan

Rashid Khan

Girija Devi

Shujaat Hussain Khan (Sitar - very classy) Yaman Kalyan

Steve Gorn (yes!) Flute

Imdad Khan

Amir Khan

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Mohammad Hussain Sarahang

Aminuddin Dagar

Nasseruddin Sami

Ustad Halim Jaffar Khan - Yaman Kalyan

Malini Rajurkar

Pannalal Ghosh - the Definitive

D K Datar

Mehdi Hasan

Film Songs

One Two Three Four

Five Six Seven Eight