Saturday, February 04, 2006

Everyone's Friend

I will get back to the basant ki var transcreations next time. However, we need to talk about this rare video. My friend, Nampreet Singh sent this to me today. Goto the link for a sample of a rababi rendition of a bandish in dhrupad, tal is dhamar. The sabad is taken from maru ki var on page 1096 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

First of all, I have been replaying the sample all day today. Notice a couple of things. First, Bhai Gulam Mohammed Chand is so "into" the singing. He moves around, smiles, is excited, has perfect voice balance, its just amazing. Secondly, the bani comes through so gracefully and smoothly - he has it memorized.

Recently, I spent some time with Gyani Dyal Singh in Boston and he mentioned to me that you will notice the difference in the ras of kirtan between those that sing from memory (bani kant) versus those that sing from the pothi or from a piece of paper. He said, Bhai Randhir Singh ji's kirtan or Baba Attar Singh's (Mastuane vale) kirtan was not classical or always in raga, but it had ras (depth and beauty) because they used to sing from memory and with love and devotion...only then was it also pleasing to the ears of the sangat. He mentioned that back in the day, no ragi was allowed to sing on stage until they had gone through atleast 5 to 6 years of training.

Anyway, here is the sabad link for the rababi kirtan sample.

ਮ: 5 ॥
ਸਜਣੁ ਮੈਡਾ ਚਾਈਆ ਹਭ ਕਹੀ ਦਾ ਮਿਤੁ ॥
ਹਭੇ ਜਾਣਨਿ ਆਪਣਾ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਠਾਹੇ ਚਿਤੁ ॥2॥

Nanak V
My friend-Vahguru is everyone's friend.
Vahguru's heart is brimming full with love for everyone.
Everyone knows, their friend-Vahguru will never break anyone's heart.

Okay, this is a salok in maru ki var. There are two vars in raga maru. This one is solely by Guru Arjan Sahib (Nanak V). Notice the language of the salok. It is in a language called lehindi. Words like "mainda, habh, habhe etc. are from this language. If I am not mistaken it is more west panjab language, around rawalpindi etc. Also remember, saloks in the vars of Guru Granth Sahib are supporting material for the pauri. A collection of pauris is a var. Well, guess what: salok is in support of the pauri that a lot of us know about. "ja tu mere val hai ta kia muhchanda, tudh sabh kich mainu soupia ja tera banda...". It makes so much sense when we read the whole section. Oh yes, another interesting thing. A salok and a dakhane is the same thing. In this maru ki var, Guru Arjan Sahib has used both saloks and dakhanes - dakhane is the word for salok in lehindi. Understanding the bantar (the make up - system) of the saloks and vars gives a better understanding of the bani and the message. Fascinating isn't it? Well to me it is :-) !

Now listen to Bhai Ghulam Mohammed Chand again once you know what he is saying and where it came from.