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“There is no other knowledge, no other learning, no other art, not even yoga oraction that is not found in dance.”
Dance and music cannot exist without one another; in any song there is dance, and in any movement there is music. The body is a musical instrument like any other, creating what I like to call ‘visual music.’ A tarana is a type of composition suited for Indian classical dance that features syllables based on the sounds of the tabla and pakhawaj drums, and it is often the highlight of any dance performance. This album is a collection of taranas and lyrical compositions arranged and adapted for dance performance. The melodies intertwine with rhythmic compositions that come from the repertoire of the North Indian dance style of Kathak, and there are some pieces suited for the South Indian style of Bharatha Natyam. I hope you enjoy this recording, and that it provides a glimpse into the majesty and depth of how rhythm, melody and movement come together to make dance a complete art.
Vinayaka - This piece pays homage to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Based on the Raga Hamsadhwani, this song describes how the elephant-headed god bestows auspiciousness and fulfills wishes. This piece is dedicated to my grandfather (Ajoba), the late Vinayak Vaze.
Composition: Bageshree Vaze, featuring Ganesh Paran by Pandit Kishan Maharaj, recited by his disciple Vineet Vyas.
Tarana- In this tarana in Raga Jog, the melody is interspersed with rhythmic passages from the Kathak style.
Composition: Pt Balwantrai Bhatt, additional melodic composition by Bageshree Vaze, rhythmic compositions by Pt. Kishan Maharaj, Pt, Birju Maharaj, Shri Jai Kishan Maharaj, and Vineet Vyas.
Yoga - this piece feature the free rendition of notes (alaap) in the Raga Yaman, and two shlokas from the Bhagavad Geeta, as told by Lord Krishna to Arjuna, that describe the essence of Yoga philosophy. This composition is free of percussion but has a rhythm of its own, and allows.
The dancer to choreograph and improvise in the open spaces of the melody.
The meaning of the Bhagavad Geeta verses:
Chapter 2, Verse 48:
Yogastha kurukarmani sangam tyaktwa Dhananjaya
Siddhya siddhyo samobhutwa samatwam yoga uchyate
“Perform action, steadfast in Yoga, abandon attachment and be balanced in success and failure. Such evenness of mind is the essence of Yoga.”
Chapter 6, Verse 5:
Uddharet atmanatmanam natmanam avasadayet
Atmaivhyatmano bandhur atmaivaripuratmanah
“One should raise oneself, not lower oneself. For the Self alone is the friend of one’s self, and the Self alone is the enemy of oneself.”
Composition: Bageshree and Damodar Vaze.
In Akbar’s Palace - Classical dance was performed in palace halls during India’s royal court era. King Akbar was a major patron of the arts in the sixteenth century, and it is said that one can still hear the echoes of Ghungroos (dancing bells) and music in the palace ruins. This selection is a tarana in Raga Madhukauns.
Composition: Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe, additional composition by Bageshree Vaze.
Doot (Messenger) - In Indian dance, the ‘sakhi’ or friend is a popular abstract motif in love songs. The heroine often confides in her friend about how she pines away for her lover. In this particular song, the heroine describes how she cannot be at peace without him, and asks her friend to deliver a message to him. Often in these scenarios, the very friend/messenger in whom the heroine confides beings her own tryst with the hero. The arrangement of this song allows for choreography to depict the heroine’s imagination as well as her doubts and apprehensions.
Composition: Pt. C.R. Vyas
Devi - This song pays homage to the Goddess of strength, Parvati. It opens with a sargam (solfege) composition in Tevra tala (seven beats), and is followed by a shloka (hymn) that describes how Narayani (another name for Parvati) is responsible for the creation, preservation and destruction of the world. The piece finishes with a composition in praise of Durga, another form of Parvati, the mother of the universe who protects the world and destroys evil.
Composition: Sargam and shloka by Bageshree Vaze, Durga song by Pt. Kashinath Bods.
Lucknow’s Jewel - Based on the Raga Kalavati, this piece begins with a tarana, followed by Gat Nikaas, the court dance that is a signature item in the Lucknow gharana of Kathak. In the gat nikaas, one sees the everyday walk, known as the chaal, and other common movements of the hands and eyes. This particular gat nikaas features the stances of Krishna, the flute-playing God.
Composition: Tarana by Pt. Balwantrai Bhatt and Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe, tukda by Pt. Kishan Maharaj
Janabai’s Dream - In the state of Maharashtra, Krishna is worshipped as Vitthal, and this song pays homage to the god in his female form, Vithabai. The devotee Janabai describes how the rivers Bhima and Chandrabhaga are like the holy river Ganga at the Goddess of Pandharpur’s feet, and she calls Vithabai to dance in her garden and bring joy into her life.
This song is dedicated to my grandmother Shantabai Vaze, who at 95 years of age still lovers to sing Vitthal songs.
Composition: Saint Janabai
Kathak - This piece consists of compositions in the rhythmic cycle of teentaal (16 beats) that appear in the repertoire of Kathak rhythmic vocabulary, such as uthaan, thaat, paran ahmad, tukdas, tihais, paramelus, and parans.
Composition: Pt. Birju Maharaj, Pt. Kishan Maharaj, Shri Jai Kishan Maharaj, and Vineet Vyas.
Thillana - The Thillana is the South Indian form of the tarana. This particular composition was the result of a conversation with Harikrishna Kalyanasundarm (Vikku), who told me about a 10-and-a-half beat rhythmic cycle (thala) known as Anga thala. I was intrigued by this concept, and I composed a melody in this rhythm, using Raga Bageshree as the base. Vikku composed additional passages, including a verse in praise of Lord Natraja, the king of dance, and this recording is the result of our collaboration.
Composition: Bageshree Vaze and Harikrishna Kalyanasundaram.
‘Khanak’ is a collection of songs adapted and arranged for Indian classical dance. This album of ‘visual music’ captures the beauty of melody, rhythm and movement in the North Indian classical tradition.
Homage to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.
2. Tarana -
A tarana in Raga Jog, interspersed with rhythmic passages from the Kathak style.
3. Yoga -
Two shlokas from the Bhagavad Geeta that describe the essence of Yoga philosophy.
4. In Akbar’s Palace -
A tarana in Raga Madhukauns, interspersed with rhythmic passages from the Kathak style.
5. Doot (Messenger - )
In this bandish composed in Raga Bihag, the heroine asks her ‘Sakhi’ to deliver a message to her lover.
6. Devi -
Homage to the Goddess of strength, Parvati.
7. Lucknow’s Jewel -
A glimpse of the court dance in the Lucknow gharana of Kathak.
8. Janabai’s Dream -
A Bhajan by Sant Janabai calling the divine Vithabai to dance in her garden and bring joy into her life.
9. Kathak -
Compositions in the rhythmic cycle of teentaal (16 beats) of Kathak rhythmic vocabulary, such as uthaan, thaat, paran ahmad, tukdas, tihais, paramelus, and parans.
10. Thillana -
The South Indian form of the tarana, in Raga Bageshree.
Vocals, Recitation: Bageshree Vaze
Tabla, Recitation, Manjira: Vineet Vyas
All tracks produced by Vineet Vyas