Tag Archives | India

Kerala’s Panchari Melam Ensemble

Let’s go to Kerala and percuss with Panchari melam….

A couple of days ago we sang “Dhe Dhe,” a rollicking song from India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. The recording of the song we made for the All Around This World: South and Central Asia CD features fantastic drumming that reminds me of Panchari melam — learn about them here — a percussion ensemble that is performed during religious festivals in neighboring Kerala. This video will make you feel like you’re there.

Ta na na na na na na na . . . DHE DHE!

One of our favorite songs this season was our version of a folk song from India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. We sing it as if we are a boisterous band of musicians, jamming and improvising and having a grand time, at the end of every verse exclaiming, exuberantly, as Tamil musicians might, “DHE DHE!!

Kids CAN Bollywood dance

In our online class we learn how to dance, Bollywood style, along to the song “Uden Jab Jab Zulfen” performed by legendary playback singers Mohammad Rafi and Asha Boshle. When we share a dance with kids in class we don’t reeeeeeeally learn how to do the steps — a whole lot of our little music class kiddos can barely walk, for heck’s sake. What we do is strive as best we can to capture the essence of the dance. In the case of Bollywood Dancing, the essence is JOY.

A Bollywood Classic — Uden Jab Jab Zulfein Teri

Don’t know where to start with Bollywood? You may try “Naya Daur.”

Bollywood is India’s Mumbai-based billion-dollar film industry. Most Bollywood films are lavish, epic musicals, full of lavish,epic musical production numbers. Though the industry is much more modern today we can never go wrong with starting our Bollywood exploration with the classics. There is no film more classic than the 1957 “Naya Daur,” an “old India” vs. “new India” exul of song and dance. ENJOY.

Amit Trivedi’s Sound of the Nation

Indian super-composer Amit Trivedi helps us meet folk music from almost every corner of India in this “Sound of the Nation” mashup.

Bengali, Punjabi, Ragisthani, Gujarati performers and more come out for this celebration of deep Indian musical traditions fused with modern Jazz and a substantial splash of modern Bollywood pop. Start touring India the Amit Trivedi way.

Why not start with the best? Ravi Shankar and Allah Rakha

Yeah, a cliché to start an exploration of South Asian music with Ravi Shankar and Allah Rakha, but they’re so very extraordinary, so close to the core of Indian classical music, that how could we not?

The classical music of India, which masters like Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha exemplify, underlies its extraordinary diversity of traditional folk music, which musicians perform using a vast array of instruments. From classical and folk foundations Indian musicians, both in India and around the world, have branched out to modern forms like Indian jazzIndian rock (infused with a healthy dose of Indian metal), and pulsating techno-based dance music known as “Asian Underground.”

“We are the children of fisherman, we have no fear of the sea”

This week in class we sing “Walhav Re Nakhwa” is an Indian boating song in the language Marathi, most likely sung in the seas near Mumbai, located in the state of Marharastra. “Walhav Re Nakhwa” is a tune sung by the children of seafarers on the Indian Ocean: “Sailor, you please row the paddle, please row the paddle, We are the children of fishermen, We have no fear of the sea.” I love the sing-song nature of the melody as it evokes the sing-song motion of ocean waves.

Look at all the kids in the house today

On our best days All Around This World welcomes kids to class during the South and Central Asian season with, “Ilelele,” a rollicking east Indian welcome song — specifically from Assam, a far eastern state of India.  We first heard on the Smithsonian Folkways recording, “Songs of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and the Andamans” (listed as “Abor No. 4”). According to the album’s liner notes the song “is usually sung on occasions when some guests are received by the village folk,” and summarizes the lyrics like this: “Many people from outside are our guests this evening. The people of our village have also gathered. So you girls should now sing loudly and entertain the assembly here with whatever music they want to hear.” This video is a treat — the Sand Family band performing the song at the Wild Rose, Wisconsin, public library in 2018.

In Assam We Dance Bihu

This week in class we sing “Ilelele,” a song from the far eastern Indian state of Assam. Nestled at the foot of the Himalayas between Bhutan and Bangladesh, Assam is a center of eco-tourism in India, promoting itself as the home of Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, and the almost-but-not-quite extinct one-horned Indian rhinoceros. Assamese culture is a fluid mix of influences from the many ethnic groups that have mingled in the region, like North Indian Vedics, Tibetans, Bamar, Shan and many others from as far east as China’s Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. We don’t do the Assamese Bihu dance in class, but, watching this video, we can’t think of a good reason why not.

Preeti Saagar’s Boogie Woogie

Yesterday we the All Around This World version of “Diwali Aayee,” a song that celebrates the most popular holiday on the Indian Subcontinent. We first heard the song a CD “Hindi Nursery Rhymes” performed by Bollywood playback singer Preeti Sagar. In this video Preeti Sagar and her cast of young accomplices delight us with the “Boogie Woogie,” which we may know at the “Hokey Pokey.”