Enjoy a traditional rudra veena performance sans microphones, amplifiers

Apr 12, 2016, 08:00 IST | Suprita Mitter

This weekend, soak in a traditional rudra veena performance that strikes a different chord, minus microphones and amplifiers

It's time to rewind to a different era, when baithaks would take place in courts of royalty. The dedicated audience would listen as a performer used the power of his voice or his music instrument sans technology or gadgets to create an ambience. Experience the same setting at Udayswar, an Indian Classical music concert of morning ragas uses no microphones or amplifications to create a rare acoustic experience. The concert is a result of a partnership between organiser Pancham Nishad and Prithvi Theatre and is held on every third Sunday of the month. This weekend enjoy a Rudra Veena performance by Mohi Baha'ud-din.

Mohi Baha'ud-din with his Rudra Veena
Mohi Baha'ud-din with his Rudra Veena

"Morning concerts have reduced. Indian Classical music has many ragas that are performed at a particular of the day. Amplifiers and microphones tend to colour the original tone of an instrument. Most Indian venues don't have high-voltage amplifiers and use the wrong ones that change the tone. When I perform with two veenas without an amplifier, they sound different and it's what the audience should be able to hear," says Baha'ud-din, the son of Rudra Veena maestro Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and nephew of the vocalist Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar.

"Indian Classical music and instruments were not originally designed for loud sounds. They were performed in darbars. The gatherings were intimate. Later, with large concerts becoming commercially viable and technology stepping in, things changed. People would sing in a khulla awaaz (open voice) earlier, which has changed to singing in dabaa awaaz (subdued voice) and muzzling the microphone, changing the original style. Previously, acoustics used the same concept like how elephants use a low frequency sound to communicate. This sound is clear but not loud," says Baha'ud-din, adding that such
concerts are popular abroad, and that volumes for such concerts are about 70% higher in India than overseas.

Baha'ud-din who teaches vocal and instrumental forms to students at the Dhrupad Gurukul at Palaspe near Panvel, established by his father, will perform an accoustic set for the first time at Prithvi theatre, and will be accompanied by Sanjay Agle (pakhawaj). "A silent and attentive audience is crucial for a show like this. We hope they don't suggest to increase the volume at the start of the show itself," he says.

On: April 17, 7.30 am
At: Prithvi Theatre, 20, Juhu Church Road, Janki Kutir, Juhu. 
Call: 26149546
Cost: Rs 200

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