By Kiran Datey
Spring is in the air … hopefully LOVE is too …
Raga Basant is appropriate for this season…..
Don’t you think?
Spring, the onset of the season of hope, renewal and rebirth brings a new happiness in our lives. Blooming flowers, sunshine, tweeting birds, fresh green tiny leaves everywhere. A beautiful sight to sore eyes.
Let’s thus welcome the spring season with Raag Basant –
To begin with some technical info –
Basant is a raga that appears in the Sikh tradition from northern India and is part of the Guru Granth Sahib. Every raga has a strict set of rules which govern the number of notes that can be used; which notes can be used; and their interplay that has to be adhered to for the composition of a tune.
In the Guru Granth Sahib, there are a total of 31 raga compositions and this raga is the 25th raga to appear in the series. The composition in this raga appears on a total of 29 pages from page numbers 1168 to 1197.
The name Basant is from Sanskrit “vasant” meaning “spring” and during that season of the year Basant may be performed at any time of the day or night. Otherwise, it is reserved for the time between 9 p.m. and midnight.
The Ragmala gives Basant as a putra (son) of Hindol, also a spring raga. Today it belongs to the Purvi thata. The only variant noted in the Holy Book is Basant-Hindol. Basant is a very old raga dating from the 8th century. Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadar composed Shabads in this raga.
Performed in slow tempo, this gentle melody depicts quiet joy. The descending scale is usually found at the beginning of a composition with the ascending form follows later.
Aroha: Sa Ga Ma Dha Ni Sa
Avroha: Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma, Ga Re Sa
One of the most difficult compositions in raga Basant was composed in the recent times by one of our genius music composers Ismail Darbar!
He hails from Gujarat and his father owned a band which played in weddings! Ismail’s exposure to music has been from an early age which explains his understanding of musical harmony and outstanding usage of chorus. He has used different groups of people singing different pieces and brought them all together in harmony in this song! Our local amateur music group, in Michigan, could not get it all in sync after rehearsing for a month. This is a difficult composition even to conceive, leave alone sing.
Here it is for you –
Sar se mori chunari gayee sarak sarak sarak.