Friday, October 14, 2005

Ahir Bhairav

सावन के झरने लगे हैं ।
मेघवा सताए मन सजन रे । सावन के ...
का रे का रे मन अब बरसन लागे ।
दामिनी दमके जियरा धडके । सावन के ...

Sanjeev Abhyankar has got a gift. Rich voice and extreme control are his plus points. And when he renders every swara in this Monsoon Melody, the rain comes alive. Literally.

Usually the rain song is associated with the Malhar raagas, such as Megh, or Miyan ki Malhar, Gaud Malhar etc. Or even Sarang, which has swaras almost the same as in a Malhar, only the chalan or sequence is different. This rain melody, however, is composed in raaga Ahir Bhairav, let's say, a cousin brother to Bhairav! A morning raaga would indicate the rising sun, yet, this bandish so clearly showers rain, and acute complaint of a lover : मेघवा सताए मन सजन रे!

The first time I heard songs from the movie, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, the most catching tune I thought was, "alabelaa sajan aayo re", sung with distinct hindustani classical style and nuances. Later when I got addicted to classical music, I could recognise Ahir Bhairav in the song. There is a traditional bandish with the same words, generally performed at a bit slow laya.
Ahir Bhairav has the same swaraas as in Bhairav. The only difference is that DH is shuddha in Ahir Bhairav (komal in Bhairav) and NI is komal in Ahir Bhairav (shuddha in Bhairav). A change of two notes, however makes Ahir Bhairav quite different from Bhairav. Even to an "untuned" ear, the difference would be noticeable.

This is a popular raagaa amongst male vocalists. A prolonged version of khyaal-drut bandish by Sanjeev Abhyankar is quite popular. Ut. Rashid Khan's Ahir Bhairav (a shorter bandish that I have) is quite enjoyable. As far as my listening experience goes, almost always the drut bandish is, "alabela saajan..." Ismail Darbar's filmi-conversion of "alabelaa" remains quite remarkable anyway.

The most soothing point in the raagaa is when one reaches the komal RE from PA-MA. e.g. when one comes back to "aayo RE" in "alabelaa saajan aayo re..." A similar shade is evident in the "jharane lage hein"

You could understand how mere words fail when it comes to describing music!
The Hariprasad Chaurasiya-Pt. Shivkumar Sharma's Call of the Valley is a famous composition collection. The first track is based on Ahir Bhairav. Ut. Bismillah Khan's Ahir Bhairav is gold. There are many others. You could add my performance if you like :)

I guess the antara of the Monsoon Melody describes not only the rain but the raaga as well,
का रे का रे मन अब बरसन लागे । दामिनी दमके, जियरा धडके ।. And when Sanjeev Abhaynkar sings, it comes alive. Every drop of it giving pure satisfaction. And peace too!

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