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Remembering Ustad Allah Rakha: Music Concert in Pune to celebrate Maestro’s 97th Birth Anniversary

'Drums of India' will feature all the genres of music from classical to folk, and from Carnatic music to jazz

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Zakir Hussain and Ustad Allah Rakha in jugalbandi. Image Source: YouTube.com
  • With the concert, Qureshi aims to give drummers a platform and endeavours to bring the talent from across the country under one roof
  • He also believes that the presence of such a diverse platform reflects the diversity of musicians and the forms of music the country boasts of
  • Ustad Allah Rakha Qureshi, famously known as Allah Rakha was a legendary tabla maestro

In a bid to commemorate the 97th birth anniversary of  Ustad Allah Rakha Khansaheb, his son, and disciple, Fazal Qureshi, is all set to organize a percussion concert ‘Drums of India – The Journey Continues’ at Annabhau Sathe Auditorium, in Pune on July 13 from 7 pm.

With the concert, Qureshi aims to give drummers a platform and endeavours to bring the talent from across the country under one roof.

Talking about the event, he said, “The idea is to bind the drum style of India through rhythm.”

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What makes this concert stand out is its unique concept. ‘Drums of India’ will feature all the genres of music from classical to folk, and from Carnatic music to jazz. It has also welcomed various forms of fusion, which will be presented together with percussion instruments.

Ustad Allah Rakha. Image Source: onemusic.tv
Ustad Allah Rakha. Image Source: onemusic.tv

Talking about the show Qureshi pointed out, “This will also be an opportunity for the younger generation of musicians to carry forward the legacy. Of them, many are those who are continuing their musical tradition like the dholki player Vijay Chavan who is the son of renowned singer Sulochana Chavan. So in a way, he’s carrying forward his own heritage and culture.”

He also believes that the presence of such a diverse platform reflects the diversity of musicians and the forms of music the country boasts of.

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Speaking to The Indian Express, he reiterated, “Musicians from all around the country are coming together, some of their instruments may have whatsoever no connection with each other, like the khadtal and the mridangam, but will still come together as one, just like India.”

Qureshi has been organizing such events from the last six years in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. While it is the first time he is geared up to organize the concert in Pune, he hopes to put together these shows in other parts of the country as well.

Ustad Allah Rakha Qureshi, famously known as Allah Rakha was a legendary tabla maestro, who frequently accompanied sitar player Ravi Shankar for most of the shows.

-prepared by Bulbul Sarma, a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Allah Rakha was a great Tabla Maestro. It is sad that we have lost such a great talent. But it is good that we are remembering him to inspire the budding artists.

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Festival of India in Brazil kicks off with Carnatic Music and Gandhi Exhibition

The exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated by Ambassador of India in Brazil Sunil Lal

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Festival of India
Carnatic Musical. Wikimedia

September 2, 2017: In the opening of the 10-day Festival of India,  an exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and an enthralling performance of Carnatic music by renowned Indian musicians in Brasilia, that was attended by senior Brazilian government officials, ambassadors, media, culture lovers and friends of India.

The event, on August 31, was held at the University of Brasilia (UnB).

Also Read: Navratri is a Festival which can be Celebrated by all, Irrespective of their Caste or Religion

The Festival of India is being organised in Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro by the Indian Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of India in Brazil to celebrate the completion of 70 years of India’s independence, an Indian Embassy press release said.

The exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated by Ambassador of India in Brazil Sunil Lal. The bilingual exhibition in English and Portuguese familiarized the Brazilian visitors with fascinating aspects of the Mahatma’s life and his decisive role in India’s independence. This was followed by the soulful performance of Indian Carnatic music by Anuroop Sugathan on the violin, Govindarajan and Palakal who were the vocalists and Viswanathan on the Mridangam.

In an evening marked by patriotic fervour and invocation of the divine, the Brazilian audience were treated to renditions of Vande Mataram and devotional and classical Carnatic numbers, reaching the crescendo with a rendition of the Indian National Anthem.

The group of musicians are to perform in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilian friends of India would be treated to another stellar evening of a Kathak performance by an 11-member group led by Nandini Singh in Brasilia on Friday. This would be followed by Kathak performances in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The widely appreciated exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi would also be on display in São Paulo.

The final leg of the festival would celebrate Indian literature with renowned Indian poets Siva Reddy Kolli, Shauq Mohammed Shafi Lone and Monalisa Jena sharing gems of Indian literature in Telugu, Kashmiri and Odia languages, with their translations, to introduce the Brazilian audience to the fascinating world of Indian poetry, in all the three cities. (IANS)

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Ragas for Preschool Children: Combining Classical Music with Fun Exercises

A unique model has been introduced by SPIC MACAY in which can lead to the all-round brain development of children between the age group of 3 to 6 yrs. old

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School Children, teachers, mobile phones
School Children in India. Pixabay
  • There are various benefits of learning classical music at an early age like it improves memory, emotional intelligence, and concentration, suggests a research.
  • The preschool module will have the young children learn classical music through different bodily movements like stomping, marching swaying, jumping or shaking. It will start from basic techniques like learning seven svaras of Indian classical music by teachers.
  • Each raga taught to the students in the module is linked with fun physical exercises or basic yoga techniques like padmasana and will help them memorize sooner. 

August 3, 2017: The left and right side of the brain, both are important for a balanced and rounded education of the child. This is why the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth (SPIC MACAY) is introducing a new module for preschool Children and caters to the children between three and six years of age to imbibe classical music in them through the use of interactive and fun-filled educational activities like yoga and music.

There are various benefits of learning classical music at an early age like it improves memory, emotional intelligence, and concentration, suggests a research. The effect of learning music on the child’s brain in the formative years can contribute a lot to the development of their brain. It has proven to relieve tension, alleviate boredom and strengthen the child’s core, mentally and emotionally beneficial. Thus, SPIC MACAY is utilizing the power of music in order to educate young children through interactive sessions.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

The preschool module will have the young children learn classical music through different bodily movements like stomping, marching swaying, jumping or shaking. It will start from basic techniques like learning seven svaras of Indian classical music by teachers. It will help the students to improve phonetic control and language skills. The students will also be taught different basic forms of yoga with naadyog, a meditation of sounds or mantras. According to a report by The Pioneer, Dr. Kiran Seth (who created this module) said, “This will inspire children from a young age of 3-5 years to become better human beings.”

The schools can introduce the module in whichever way they want. Any school can adapt by following the required procedure. First, they have to register at the SPIC MACAY office offline.  After which that they can choose amongst two options. As per the first option, they can send their music teachers to Aarambh (the beginning) School for five days for training under the supervision of Dr. Seth, to learn the methodology of teaching basic classical ragas and interactive techniques to young students. In addition, the cultural society’s volunteers will regularly visit the schools to oversee the progress. The second option is that they can opt for a visit thrice a week by SPIC MACAY trained volunteers-teachers.

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Children will be taught to play it like a game, putting their right and left leg forward to Sa Re Ga Ma, for the arohan (ascending) and avrohan (descending) notes, which will be done at different speeds. It will be done with the tanpura music in the background. Modules like these are designed to increase their meditative capacity and bring back focus amongst children, which can be lost due to overuse of electronic gadgets.

The module was designed after a five-year long research into child behavior. By mapping the change in their responses, post subjecting them to varied modules. Each raga taught to the students in the module is linked with fun physical exercises or basic yoga techniques like padmasana and will help them memorize sooner.

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The society has a large network of volunteers throughout the country. So, this module can be implemented pan-India. The society also aims at regularly organizing its cultural events with the schools that opt for this module. These events which will have various artists performing will boost children’s interest in music. They are also providing several classical music CDs to schools free of cost.

At their 5th International Convention, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated Dr. Seth for reviving our rich music, culture, and heritage. This move can bring a qualitative change in elementary education.

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08

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The Need to Introduce Music Education in our Schools: Why is it Underfunded?

Most of the Schools don't Include Music Programs due to Budgetary Pressure

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music education
Music programs for schools are essential. Pixabay
  • In the US the music programs for schools are facing budget cuts and is heavily underfunded at other places
  • In India, according to a research paper, it was observed that music education is not available in every school
  • The scenario is far better in countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark that has well-developed and funded music school programs

June 23, 2017: Is ‘Music’ a universal language? Yes, it is! But, the current scenario will stir thoughts and make you think otherwise. Music is cherished worldwide but why people are not motivated enough to introduce it in schools?

Music has been with us for centuries and it is one of the activities that we associate with emotions and passion. We all have some music on our phones which we listen to while driving to work, or at the gym or at times while we are working. It is a composition of many vibrations that refreshes the mind. Music improves cultural integration and music is also used as a motivating factor to people.

Music Education is what is required to make the new generations take music up as a career but sadly, the present scenario of music education is not at its best. In the US, the music programs for schools are facing budget cuts and is heavily underfunded at other places. Countries like England and Australia also face the similar problem of funding of music in schools.

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India too is facing problems in managing music programs at school levels. According to a research, it was observed that music education is not available in every school, it is not for every student, the teaching quality is not satisfactory, no music rooms. Over the years, this has cornered music and now children who are willing to learn, go to private tutors. Unfortunately, this becomes a burden for some due to the financial crisis- it costs high because it is not subsidized by the government.

Therefore, students feel demotivated enough to choose music as a career option. Also, students who are willing enough to learn music have opted for online music schools but ICT (Information and Communications Technology) but it is not well structured as well.

However, the scenario is far better in countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark that has well-developed and funded music school programs and the students believe their schools take extra measures to develop music programs for schools.

But the scenario in the overall world is precarious because music education is considered not important in the education system though music has a vast scope in the practical world.  One can choose careers in Production, Music direction, Instrument specialists, Music in Tv and Radio, music in journalism, music education jobs and many other things.

One story that recently surfaced was the usage of music as a trauma therapy for the children in Syria. Project Lift works for the benefit of the Syrian children to counter their trauma through creative arts therapy which includes music therapy as one of the measures.

Listening to music has an effect on not just human beings, but also on their surroundings. Even dogs react to music. In 1994, there was an experiment done by a Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto, who believed that water reacts to human consciousness in which he observed the formation of ice crystals in water when different kinds of music vibrations hit them.

The results found to have a different composition of formation of crystals in each ice crystal. This means music can influence water and also humans. An average human body consists of 6o percent water and therefore needless o say that music can have a positive impact on the mind of human beings and therefore it is essential to introduce it to children from school levels itself.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi