Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tum aaye ho, na shab-e-intezar guzri hai, with translation in English

Tum aaye  ho, na shab-e-intezar guzri hai           
Talash mein hai sahar, baar, baar guzri hai
                                                                                                  hear the musical composition here 
Junoon mein jitni bhi guzri ba’kar guzri hai
Agarche’h dil pe kharabi hazaar guzri hai

Voh baat sare fasane mein jiska zikr na tha
Voh baat un ko bahot nagavar guzri hai

Na gul khile hain, na un se milae hain, na mai pi hai
Ajeeb rang mein ab ke bahar, guzri hai
Chaman pe gharat-e- gulchin se ja’ne kya guzri
Qafas se aaj saba be-qarar guzri hai

Neither have you come, nor has ended this long  night of wait
Even the breeze has whisked about, time and again, seeking you.

Whatever time’s spent in frenzy is well spent,
Even if the heart has taken a thousand mishaps.

What was not intended in the tale
Is primarily that which has piqued him/her most.

No flowers blooming, no rendezvous, no wine-
How strangely has spring passed away this time.

Nobody knows what befell the garden, in the wake
Of the flower-gatherer’s pillage-

So restlessly has the breeze flit past the nest today.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bol....the final version finally reached me today

I am almost relieved to hear the sound of the final version of the Faiz nazm - Bol, which has reached me just now as an mp3 after being mixed for the first time. I now look back at how tired I was when I sang this and I was made to sing this twice, just to have a different treatment of the song. So if someone has two speakers, they will two different voices of mine, with minor variations, which may not even be discernible.

On the whole, since the music is the same as it was earlier, only very minor variations are audible. But what is audible to me personally is that my singing is sounding a little more relaxed, softer and more firm. And thank god the throat was fine, though not cough-free, so that the lower registers of my voice are very clear.

The people are who hearing the mixing are very appreciative of the voice and the music- and if this is the opinion of those who hear music day in and day out, i could think that this is finally that CD whose waiting time of ten years has been worth the wait, worth my efforts and worth all that has gone into making my voice what it is today.

I am hearing it many times over just to get the previous sounds out of my ears and get used to be full-bodied sound of my own voice! what a joke really. How I hear myself on the electronic speakers is so different from how I hear myself inside me. So different, yet each version having its own uniqueness and reasons for happiness.

By the current estimates we will be ready by mid- Aug with the CDs multiplied as per best standards. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

two links

Just found these two links on the internet. may prove useful in due course

Translating Urdu poetry into English is quite a challenge and i know for sure that the seven songs that are part of the forthcoming album surely have to be translated, so that more can connect with what the poet is trying to convey.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The recording finally got over

I recorded the dummy of the Faiz album on 7th March 2013 and it took over a month to do the final cut of it. Yesterday- 12th April, I managed to do the final recording at last. My throat is still not recovered from the cough. IT was particularly bad yesterday- the voice quality and tone were very pathetic. And yet these were my best ghazals- i was in utter agony yesterday and I realized how important it is to be in good form all the time.

Sometimes I even think it is a miracle that I sing to record and perform. Most of these songs were the outcome of my illness and suffering. Did i ever compose a single song in a state of happiness? When I look at any single poem, I may not remember the exact situations of my mind or my environment- but the lyrics remind me the anguish i must have been in. Did I ever think then that I would be singing this to others? Possibly yes, probably no. I was just trying to express my own pain- often without understanding the meanings of the ghazals. Oh yes, but there were things like 'darbar'-e-watan' that was sheer defiance and anger, as though hitting at the injustice of the powers that be.

As I write this blogpost my final cut is playing on the computer and i can hear my voice- sounding feeble and unsure. I have sung these songs in such a powerful voice in the past- that i am saddened to hear my own self. ON the other hand the musical tapestry woven by Arun is so beautiful and appealing, it seems to be hiding my flaw. Yesterday while in the studio, Rajkumar also said that his favourite was 'tere gham to jaan ki talash thi' and Arun had already revealed that. Tony's favourite turned out to be 'Tum aaye ho na shab-e-intezaar guzri hai'....and funnily my own favourite is sham-firaq. On the whole the album is sounding very decent.

Now is the stage for the cover design to be put in place, which is being worked upon. Simultaneously the mixing will be done, and then the master gets ready, thereafter the stamper and then duplication. For the first time in my life I have decided to sell my own music- personally. Nobody will get samples- they can hear my riyaaz for free if they want or come to the concerts.

I cannot help but quote Ramakant-ji here when I told him that I would give him a free copy anyways, out of my courtesy and regard for him. He said the kindest thing i have heard in a long time. He said, "Prateeksha you have already done the most for me by creating such music and making this great poetry accessible. Now you do not need to give it away for free." Then he asked me how much the CD would be priced at and told me to give him ten of them so that he could even present them to others- instead of a book, as he often does. I am so grateful for his kindness, who even without hearing my CD (barring the Hum Dekheinge song) is so supportive. But hasn't he always been for the last almost two and a half years that i have known him. (Ramakant ji retired as professor and head of  the Dept of Linguistics of Delhi University for those who do not know him)

Naseem bhai has already suggested a name for the CD cover and everyone has approved of it. Tony is yet again try to work on a portrait of Faiz- so it is Faiz ruling the home in so many ways. One of my most favourite poets anyways. Love him with deepest respect for his creative expressions, which then become my own

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mehfil-E-Rang-O-Noor: My first Ghazal Concert

So here we are

21st March 2013, 7:15pm, Thursday
Pyare Lal Bhawan,
Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi.


A program which features two artists, of whom I shall be singing ghazal and the other one Bhajans.

It took a long time for this concert to happen and a huge amount of changes too. While it started initially as an album release program by the time we came around to it, became a Holi program, with the CD release happening possibly a little later, though certainly not in March. The CD itself underwent a change from being a public art production thing- with largely revolutionary poetry, some of which is also sung with male chorus with me, to a full seven song Faiz album. (Technically this is my debut ghazal concert)

So this concert is about introducing me as a ghazal artist, which i have taken the longest time to acknowledge, as I was unsure what sort of poetry I want to sing. I shall be singing mostly radical poetry which reflects the angst of society, the pain of discrimination, the voices of anger and protest and that poetry which rouses people to unite in a meaningful manner towards social change.

Naturally Faiz is high on preference- with Darbar-e-watan (tarana) having been set to a very strong tune and 'Bol' (nazm) too. For now I would not do a program without the Iqbal Bano- Hum Dekheinge. But since this is NOT a Faiz program alone, it may not be possible to do more than two or three of his. Nasir- badli naa uski rooh kisi inqualab main is among those I am still toying with or so many others are there (which i had composed at the time the Tsunami came in 2004)

Anyhow we are all getting ready, had the first rehearsal yesterday. I will probably have a tanpura in my hand on stage too as this instrument is the backbone of my music. The harmonium artist is very gifted and there is of course Kamaal Ahmed on sarangi, who does not need an introduction. I have yet to meet the tabla-artist for rehearsal, which would happen only next week now.

I do want to share here why i am calling this my FIRST CONCERT though last year that has already happened in Kathmandu. Actually last year I was not ready for it and I got invited just because the person behind it heard me singing Kabir at a small gathering in a friend's home...and upon hearing me invited me for two concerts, since I was on the panel of ICCR. But I was not yet keen to perform ghazal as I felt it needed more honing, more calming down, more discipline. So last summer I worked a lot on this genre. Over those few months my repertoire became bigger, richer and more close to my heart. Of course my efforts at learning  Urdu gave me more confidence, but I have still to take it up again as they got aborted after 8-10 months, for want of adequate resources.

October onward I got back to classical music and in November ghazal was simply not there on the horizon and it was bhakti music again for me. But the pull of the ghazal is too strong and no thanks to the anger on the streets and the angst of the times, I got down to thinking, "What sort of music would I be contributing to this, if i have to?" Can it be bhakti music, can it be khayal? Or should it be something more radical, which is NOT the stereotype ghazal of sharab/shabab- but the sort of poetry which challenges the existing structures- of gender, of state, of what is peace, what is war, what is nation, who are my people ....and so on. That is what my ghazal is all about. Taking the definition of art to 'art for social change'- THAT IS ME.

Last interesting bit is that the master of ceremonies of the evening...belongs to the lineage of Bahadur Shah Zafar!:)- the last emperor of India and the venue is also on a road named after him. For those who will come themselves he would be visible, for I do not want to introduce him here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Unfolding Faiz Album

We started this recording as part of the Public Art Production. But then several of us felt that the various strands of the recordings were not fitting into one another. So after recording the first eight songs, we decided to go all out and do a full Faiz album.

Faiz is among those poets who are dearest to me, and my personal repertoire of his poetry is quite big. I of course have all the songs sung by others that I like as part of my own repertoire. And upon suggestions the stock keeps on increasing. Fortunately for me several ghazals that I composed long back were also done by musical giants like Begum Akhtar and Iqbal Bano too! But i had not heard their versions before I did mine, else maybe i would not have dared to even touch them. I heard their versions much later.

Long back, I had once recorded Sham-e-firaq and it had to become a part of my first ghazal CD- soz-e-ghazal. But Naseem bhai (the poet who inspired me to sing ghazal in the first place) pointed out a minor error in diction and I held back that ghazal from going into the CD then. That was nearly ten years back. Now at every stage, the diction and everything else is being closely watched, ratified and modified.

Here is a list of the songs that would be part of this first Faiz album of mine. I say first here because my original compositions continue to happen. Already I have about six-seven others that are not a part of this album and yet are equally nice, but recently done ones. In this blog only i had noted a few posts back about new compositions in Bhimpalasi, Shudh Sarang and other ragas.

My list follows. The first three are ghazals, the next two are nazms and the last two are taranas

  1. Sham-e-firaq ab na poochh
  2. Tere gham ko jaan ki talash thi
  3. Tum aaye ho na shab-e-intezaar guzri hai
  4. Bol ke lubb azad hain tere
  5. Hum parvarish-e-lauho-qalam karte raheinge
  6. Darbar-e-watan 
  7. Hum Dekheinge (in the original tune of Iqbal Bano)
As I note this today- three of these are in the final stage- they are already being mixed by the expert. The other four have been recorded just yesterday and the nazm noted as number 6 here is among the latest of my compositions. Just did it last fortnight and completed it last week! A bit close to the recording but that's what life is all about, differently paced at different junctures.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Last year seemed now the debut concert

I was hoping that someday I would sing in Delhi and that too when I was comfortable in my skin as a ghazal performer. Last year when I got the opportunity by ICCR to sing in Kathmandu I was not yet ready for it, nor Kathmandu the place to try out serious Urdu poetry. (Imagine the harmonium-wala telling me that i should sing something in Nepali to win over the audiences!!)

Anyhow, now the time is ready and so am I. On the other hand there is the next album happening- the Faiz one unexpectedly and a concert is around the corner. So now I am ready to share my ghazal gayaki with the world. The reason for this delay is that it has taken me time to think whether this is really the thing I want to do for a long time ahead, and indeed with the sort of poetry i have in mind, this is the very work that I intend doing.  Now it remains to be seen what the response of the audiences would be- not that it worries me, for the ones who like serious poetry would surely like it, and the ones who are there for music would also not find it intolerable. But if someone is thinking I am going to do some sharab-shabaab gayaki...well they are in for a disappointment.