Playing at FIU’s Wertheim Performing Arts Center, for the World Music Event, was an extraordinary opportunity for us to present a full length Raga. We are thankful for this educational institution’s commitment to the Miami community and students, in providing them the chance to hear and experience this very special form of ancient music.
The music is under the Global or Ethnic genre but it is more than that. This is traditional Hindustani Sangeet, or the Classical Music of North India and has roots in ancient India. The music heard today began from Vedic chants almost 2000 years past. The current forms heard today began developing hundreds of years ago from about 14th and 15th AD.
My studies began in India in 1979 and I presented Raga at Carnegie Hall in 1983 and also for my Recital at the University of Miami where I was to receive my Bachelors Degree. My pleasure has been in giving lecture/demonstrations of this ancient music, which has a great percentage of space for improvisation. I have been a translator of this music to Classical Western musicians.
There are rules to follow in the system of playing a Raga, however, within those boundaries there is much freedom. This music must come from within, from the players practice and there are no notes on staff paper to read.
Indian music has defied notation. In this aurally learned tradition, beyond a brief notation system for the short melodies, 95% of the performance is improvised.
There is a dignity, a depth of time and Gharana (musical lineage) and history that is recognizable to the trained listener.