The overcast skies and the pitter patter of the rain evoke several emotions. Perhaps that’s why ragas like Malhar, Sufi songs, and even devotional compositions have waxed eloquent about this time of the year. To celebrate the many emotions stirred up by the monsoon, Pancham Nishad Creatives will host the fourth edition of Rain Raga, a two-hour event featuring nearly nine compositions across genres that celebrates the magic of the rains.
The line-up includes percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee, Sufi singer Indira Naik, vocalist Jayateerth Mevundi, tabla player Satyajeet Talwalkar, pianist Vishal Dhumal, South Indian percussionist Giridhar Udupa and flautists Akash. The event is a two-hour-long, non-stop performance.
Shashi Vyas, director, Pancham Nishad tells us more, “The South-West Monsoon that originates from the coast of Kanyakumari and travels west to Central India, and the North-East Monsoon that originates from the Bay of Bengal and travels north to central India evoke different expressions.
As a multi-faceted country, the rainfall in Rajasthan and Delhi differs from that in Goa and Kolkata. Every region has its blend of music reflecting the kaleidoscope of nature, soil and monsoon of that region. Hence, a Khamaj (scale of Hindustani music and raga) from West Bengal differs from a Khamaj in Maharashtra.
” He goes on to explain that the Rain Raga will capture the classical, semi-classical, devotional, folk and fusion sounds that feature monsoon as their backdrop. “So, while the poetry and the compositions may be similar, the expression will be different,” he suggests.
Percussionist Taufiq Qureshi says that the concert focuses on the simple emotions created by the monsoon. “It includes anger when stuck in a traffic jam and devotion where you picture a Sadhu in a village walking in the rain strumming on the iktara and singing abhangas. We will have an introduction to the rains which will be a rhythmic piece featuring the sounds of thunder, rain drops through the sound of the flute and the sound of the Sitar will be used to evoke rainfall,” he says, adding that his main challenge would be to connect with the audience.
“Being an Indian classical concert, it will focus on spontaneity and improvisation but we will also meet and chalk out ideas on August 30 and 31,” he explained. Sufi singer Indira Naik who will perform Amir Khusrau songs on the rains, says: “There are very few songs on rains so I had to research to zero in on the ones I would sing. I have taken the original lyrics and ragas to create original compositions. It includes a song which talks about how even the soothing rainfall can turn into fire when the beloved isn’t around.”