Peaceful Raga Kirwani with Sacred Groves (Video)

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One of my favorite concerts from my tour of the Netherlands this past spring was at a beautiful old church called ‘the Lighthouse’ in Haarlem. The acoustics and ambience is perfect for a classical music concert. Here we are performing as the group ‘Sacred Groves.’ This is a project in which Kees van Boxtel, a great Dutch Bansuri (bamboo flute) artist, and I play in ‘jugalbandi’ or duet style. We are accompanied in this concert by Ganesh Ramnath on tabla and Josette Pangels playing tanpura.

The performance starts with ‘alap;, an slow unfolding of the notes of the raga without rhythm. Kees and I take turns showing the different sides of Kirwani. Then is ‘jor’, where the rhythm starts and gradually accelerates into ‘jhala,’ where the fast rhythm is punctuated by the constant plucking of my drone or ‘chikari’ strings. After all that, then the tabla joins us for the main composition. It is a beat cycle called teental (16 beats). The composition is the melody part you will hear us repeating and playing together, in between we improvise and return to the melody. While we are repeating the melody, you’ll hear the tabla improvising. This is the basic format for a classical music concert.

I’d love to know what you think of the performance and if you have any general questions about ragas and rhythms; please don’t hesitate to write.

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