Thursday, May 20, 2010
Harmonium – my love, my soul! (Audio Post)
First things first: Slow internet connection waalo, put the audio below to buffer, so by the time you have read, you can listen to the audio track.
Now the post:
In one of my 2009’s last blog posts, had casually announced a resolution that next year I will make sure that I experience the magic of making the music in a recording studio with great acoustics. What seemed like a raw resolution has actually come true. Since last few days, sitting with the best in music business (and art) has been an eye-opener on how music is produced and most importantly the programming and mixing – in other terms – how everything is brought together.
Now it’s very common knowledge that a harmonium is the base of every song that is composed in movies. At least in this part of the world. But what struck me the most was the sound of harmonium and how I personally have always felt so much in love with it. Its twin brother ‘Accordion’ is another genius in its own league.
The French must not have anticipated the kind of mesmerizing response this wonderful but simple instrument called ‘harmonium’ would receive in India. Yes, it was invented in Paris, but like Cricket, it is India that reinvented its potential. So much so that if a harmonium is played as a part of a song, we automatically tend to think that this sounds so ‘Indian’. Infact we gave it our own pet names. “Baja” and “Peti”. I remember my music teacher holding the two black keys of Peti – Sa & Pa and constantly playing the bellows with her four fingers. What came next was – pure magic. The sound of harmonium and its resonance in that room. Any song could be set to the tune of ‘Sa’ and ‘Pa’, if played together and sung to one’s heart content. I did that so many times during my class 12, it was a huge relief to get out of those books, shut the doors & windows to avoid the ire from my neighbours(coz the aunty who lives opposite to us is a well-trained classical singer!)
Last night I was just doing a random re-collection of my recent favourite songs and surprisingly almost many of them had a harmonium included in its orchestration. If you take out good six minutes, I promise you some wonderful music pieces in this audio post that will make your day.
Now a lot of music directors tend to use the harmonium as a part of the background arrangement of the song. So of course I haven’t included them, but would love to make some noteworthy mentions. Also, the obvious qawalis, where harmonium is omnipresent in popular hindi songs. Almost any and every qawwali or maula/khwaja/allah type of a song, our instrument is there in background. But why in background ‘else’ the song will loose popularity. Anyways a quick recall and some of the qawwalis/songs where our harmonium is in background are:
1. Arziyan (Delhi 6)
2. Piya Haji Ali
3. Ru-Ba-Ru (Maqbool)
4. Raat ke Dhaai Baje (Kaminey: note when Suresh Wadkar sings)
5. Chupke se (Saathiya: the start chorus)
6. Ishq bina (Taal)
7. Haa Rahem (Aamir)
8. Duniya (Gulaal, why the hell in background always, it needed to be upfront here)
9. Tashan Mein (the title of Tashan. What energy while they both sing)
10. Chham Chham (Striker)
11. Luka Chupi (RDB. Its very low in volume, but its there. One can here at Re ga re ga sa.. starts.
12. The baap of all devotional songs: Khwaja mere Khwaja.
So here they are, some of the most beautiful renditions in recent times with our dear harmonium upfront. Don’t mind my brief commentary between the pieces.
Warning: it’s a 7 min audio, but entertainment assured. Make some coffee and sit back. What! You haven’t put on your ear phones yet?