HH KKS: So these instruments that you are seeing of course are not entirely originated from India because what you see here in front of me is an organ which came from the west originally but then it went down to the floor instead of like pedals which we had in the west traditionally……. in India it became simplified and gradually the organ went down to the floor with a simple handle for pumping like this and it maintained the keyboard which is the same as a western keyboard so in that way we play… I must say I don’t play entirely Indian style, there is a little bit of a western touch in there …what can I do …it is still in the blood!….it doesn’t go away!
We have on the drums… these drums , this is a two headed drum also not entirely traditional because the traditional ones are made out of clay ..but clay drums when they come all the way from India and surviving all the way to Australia is not easy and once they are here , they usually break in the first week ..so therefore we have those and they are locked up, we don’t bring them out, they are locked up in a glass case!
So this one is made of good old solid fibre glass …that’s right nothing ever goes wrong with that …you can bounce it on the ground and it bounces right back up! It’s good and it still has the effect of the traditional drum, it has two heads ..one for the bass ( Maharaja hits the bass)….and the higher one ( Maharaja hits the other side of the drum)… there are many many bauls, different mantras that are produced with these instruments and all that is part of an ancient music…
The first time I was introduced to Indian music .. was that .in the concert that George Harrison organised for Bangladesh, at that time he had invited Ravi Shankar….there were big floods in Bangladesh and they were trying to raise funds and then he introduced Ravi Shankar who was going to play the sitar …and he said that “the music that we are playing this evening is now a little different to the normal music that we are used to in the west, it is of a more serious nature”
Right, then it started Ravi Shankar started to produce certain sounds and afterwards there was a big applause and Ravi Shankar said “if you like the tuning so much I am sure you are going to love the concert!”… that’s how it was introduced!…….
If anyone understands anything about music from India …it is true it is of a more serious nature because there is a meditational aspect to it and all the different melodies are based on old ragas…… so it is not just anyone’s concoctions ..they are traditional musical arrangements on which these songs are being sung ….and they all have a different mood naturally,…the music has its own mood but then all these ragas are having different moods and they are meant for different times of the day ….like there are morning ragas..very light and kind of slow to break into the day, evening ragas are little bit more passionate… like that different times of the day has it’s own nature.
Morning in the Vedic time is considered to be the hour for peaceful meditation, morning time everything is peaceful and very calm and as the day catches up passion sets in and the evening is just to forget …to forget all the busyness of the day, to get it off the mind, the mind is full and now we want to relax….so these natural tendencies are there and we recognize it also in our own culture, in our way of life……
The morning we are fresh and we absorb things and in the day it gets really busy and at night you just want to switch off, let go and put your mind on something else …take it off, all the work of the day….so in this way the music, the ragas have been designed for different moods for different times ….so we can sing the same song …but this time we are now going to do this in the evening tune , we did the morning one and we will now give you a demonstration of the evening one ….same song but with a little different mood, little faster and…we can drag it on and we can get more instruments also …we forget some of the instruments to tell you the truth ..we have usually some cymbals also to add to the rhythm…so now it is just clapping ..
(Maharaja Leads a Kirtana!)
So that was a little bit of our demonstration of chanting …it can be done in traditional tunes or it can be also done in more modern tunes so this is ………when east came west ……(More to Come in Part 2)