Eight Hindustani Classical Tracks I Discovered In 2021

by Arush Tandon - Dec 31, 2021 11:43 AM
Eight Hindustani Classical Tracks I Discovered In 2021 Pt Jasraj
  • Here's a list of eight Hindustani classical tracks that I discovered on YouTube in 2021.

Three things before we get to business. One, this is a list driven completely by personal tastes and serendipity while surfing through YouTube. Two, the numbering of the pieces is by raga-samay. So a morning raga is given first, and then so on. The list does not reflect any ranking in ascending or descending order. Three, I harbour a special loathing for speeches before a recital, so let's get straight to the music.

1. Nat Bhairav by Pt Shivkumar Sharma

Many moments of joy in an otherwise tumultuous year came from discovering and surfing through Prasar Bharti's channel, Raagam, on YouTube.

Through this, my humble, urgent, and constant submission to them on social media was that many tracks needed cleaning up and remastering.

However, this Nat Bhairav by Pt Shivkumar Sharma is amongst the cleanest and clearest it can get.

The sustenance of a swara is perhaps not as. . .as. . what's the word. . magical? Yes, as magical in any other instrument than the santoor.

But even so, I wasn't sure how a Nat Bhairav would sound on it. Until I heard this track, in my head, santoor was a perfect instrument to express ragas like Bageshri, Des, Jaijaiwanti.

Nat Bhairav is a raga dear to me. And hearing this track was like getting to know an old, old friend all over again; and in a way that reassures you that you were right about the person all along.

2. Madhmad Sarang by Ustad Bismillah Khan

A typical Madhmad Sarang gat.

3. Manj Khamaj by Pt Jasraj

Manj Khamaj is said to remove weariness from an inflicted body. Why don't you try it out for yourself?

4. Shuddha Kalyan, Tilak Nat and Bhairavi by Pt Niladri Kumar

One of the gems from the recently released videos by AIR Raagam.

5. Jaijaiwanti by the Senior Dagar brothers—Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar and Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar

One more from the AIR Raagam library. I hope Prasar Bharti puts out an opening for someone who needs to listen through their Hindustani classical library and classify the tracks. I am happily applying.

This is music in its purest form. Not punctuated or disturbed by language. Just music.

This track actually is a subject of an article on its own. I am sharing it here knowing well that it could well qualify for imprudence.

6. Bageshri (Abhang) by Pt Sanjeev Abhyankar

His is one voice that can hypnotise you and take you to a different 'state' from the first second. Take it from me, because something similar happened when I first heard this piece. All that is needed, is your undivided attention.

One day, I will learn Marathi and will also be able to appreciate the lyrics. Until such time though, I am not complaining, because the music itself is so expressive.

7. Bageshri by Pt Nikhil Banerjee

Out of all the tracks that I had the fortune of listening to this year, I am most grateful for this one. It would be a very, very difficult task to find a better Bageshri on YouTube.

The gradual building up of the raga. It seems that above and beyond swaras, it is expression by expression, gasp by gasp. One achingly beautiful phrase follows another, and the entire piece is a vision of Beauty. Capital 'B'.

8. Bhairavi by Pt Jasraj

There are two ways to look at it. One, what a shame that despite being a committed fan of Pt Jasraj, there were some tracks I hadn't heard before this year. Second, there are still some tracks of Pt Jasraj for me to discover and experience that feeling of hearing a beautiful melody for the first time.

I choose the second one.

On top of that, it's a Bhairavi.

Have a great 2022!

Arush Tandon is interested in icons of history, history of independent India and, Indian culture.

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