Urdu Academy hosts India-Pakistan Music Show
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The mission statement of the Urdu Academy of North America says: The objective of the Urdu Academy is to share our common heritage of music and literature in order to promote understanding and tolerance between the people of India and Pakistan.
Within this framework, the Urdu Academy hosted an India-Pakistan Music Show on Sunday, November 13, 2016 at the Chandni Restaurant, Fremont/Newark.
The colorful event was the brain child of Nagesh Avadhany, a senior member of the Urdu Academy who is himself an aficionado of Indian classical music. As MC of the Music Show Nagesh educated the audience with his explanation about the raagas.
The Music Show was divided into two sessions. In the first session Raag Bageshri & Ahir Bhairav were presented by Mrunal Dharmadhikari, Suruchi Alawani and Nitin Shah. Shaiq Chishty was on Harmonium and Surjit Singh Bawa was on Tabla.
In the second session Raag Des & Darbaari were presented by Mrunal Dharmadhikari, Suruchi Alawani and Nitin Shah.
Another feature of Music Show was a thrilling presentation of Chishty sisters. Shahrukh Chishty played Sitar, Mahrukh Chishty accompanied her on the Tabla while Ilham Chishty presented a light classical piece on the Harmonium. Shaiq Chishty presented an old song on flute.
While welcoming the guests, Urdu Academy president, Tashie Zaheer, said we are all children of God who has bestowed us with very special talents and one of the most significant talent is the fine arts which includes an important talent that is music. Tashie Zaheer pointed out that music is found globally in every country, every culture and every language. It is said that music has no language or that music's language is universal.
Urdu Academy president went on to say that music is a language which has no religion or faith, which has no geographical boundaries and which is not bound by the barriers of language. "With music we can communicate beyond culture and linguistic boundaries which we cannot do with common languages such as English."
It is said that music is like water, it flows, it has no boundaries no limits. Music expresses feelings that words cannot. Ludwig Von Beethoven believed that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. For Plato music is a defining element of character. Hans Christian Anderson says where words fail, music speaks. For Kurt Vonnegut, the only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.
Tashie Zaheer emphasized that here at the Urdu Academy of North America we not only talk about amity and peace but we prove it through our actions and this India-Pakistan Music Show is part of that action. "We are endeavoring to create a world which is above all beliefs, religions, cultures and languages where we can propagate the religion of humanity that encompasses care, compassion, consideration, fraternity and kindness."
The India-Pakistan Music Show, that was dubbed as Mehfil-e-Raag Rang, began with the beautiful presentation of Raag Ahir Bhairav by Mrunal Dharmadhikari. This was followed by an Indian movie song in the same Raag by Suruchi Alawani (Meri Beena Tum Bin Ro'e). Another classical singer, Nitin Shah, amused the audience with his presentation of a ghazal in the same Raag.
Suruchi Alawani thrilled the audience with her melodious presentation of Raag Bageshri. Nitin Shah presented Munir Niazi's ghazal, Chaman MeiN Rang-e-Bahar Utra To MeiN Ne Dekha, in the same Raag. Suruchi Alawani presented a movie song in Raag Bageshri - Radha Na Bole Na Bole Na Bole Re.
Suruchi Alawani also presented Raag Des. She also presented a movie song in the same Raag.
The secon session of the show began with a terrific performance by Chishty sisters who learnt music from their talented father Shaiq Chishty. Shahrukh Chishty played Sitar, Mahrukh Chishty performed on Tabla while Ilham Chishty played on Harmonium. Shahrukh Chishty also presented a popular song. An unexpected item at the music show was flute. Shaiq Chishty amused the audience with playing an old song on flute.
Right after the Chishty sisters' presentation, Mrunal Dharmadhikari gave a superb presentation of Raag Darbari. She was followed by Nitin Shah presented a ghazal in the same Raag. Nitin Shah drew wide applause with his presentation of Parveen Shakir's ghazal: Koo Bakoo Pha'il Gaee Baat Shanasaaee Kee. Suruchi Alawani entertained the audience with a ghazal of Faiz Ahmed Faiz: YouN Saja Chaand Ke Chhalka Tere Andaaz Kaa Rang.
Indian classical music is based on the ragas ("colors"), which are scales and melodies that provide the foundation for a performance. There are hundreds of ragas, but six are considered fundamental: Bhairav, Malkauns, Hindol, Deepak, Megh and Shree.
Bhairav is considered to be the most ancient fundamental Raag of Hindustani Classical Music. Also, it is believed that Bhairav was the very first Raag to be created by Lord Shiva. This raga is being used in worship by Hindus in their religious imagination of "Lord Shiva & Parvati".
According to well-known Sitarist, late Ravi Shankar, the "raag" is the melodic form and not just a scale. "There are roughly 72 parent scales. And each scale has hundreds of ragas, which can be pentatonic (five notes), hexatonic (six notes) or full scale (seven notes). The possible combinations are endless."
Certain raagas are associated with times of day — morning, afternoon, night and late night — and for centuries, these associations have endured.
The performance usually begins with a slow elaboration of the raga, known as alap. This may be very short (less than a minute) or up to 30 minutes depending on the preference of the musician. In vocal music, the alap is followed by a bandish, generally accompanied by the tabla, around which the raga is improvised. In the case of instrumental music, the alaap could be followed by a more rhythmical piece known as "jod" in which the artist provides rhythm with no rhythmic cycle, and subsequently a piece in fast tempo called ""jhala". The counterpart of the bandish in instrumental music is known as the "gat". The bandish or gat is initially sung or played in slow tempo known as "vilambit laya" to be followed by medium tempo known as "madhya laya" which in turn may be followed by a composition in fast tempo known as pop. [Wikipedia]
The India-Pakistan Music Show attracted more than 150 people from both countries. At the end Tashie Zaheer thanked for all the artists and guests for making this event successful. He particularly thanked entrepreneur Syed Sarwat for patronizing the cultural show.
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Watch the Music Show at You Tube