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     Evening Performances
     6:30 to 9:00 pm at Siri Fort Main Auditorium

tuesday 24th february at 6.30 pm

 

Sacred Music from the Steppe

by Chirgilchin Master Throat Singers from Tuva, Russia

 

Aldar Tamdyn - byzaanchy, igil, throat singing, vocal

Aidysmaa Koshkendey - vocal, percussion

Mongoun-Ool Ondar - vocal, igil, doshpoulour, throat singing, khomus

Igor Koshkendey - vocal, igil, doshpoulour, throat singing, bayan

 

 

Throat singing is a type of overtone or harmonic singing common in Central Asia and Mongolia. The singer manipulates the resonances created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds and out to the lips to produce a melody. By changing the shape of the resonant cavities of the mouth, larynx and the pharynx the singer can create more than one pitch at the same time,( the fundamental and selected over tones), thus allowing the singer to sing simultaneously with 2,3 or even 4 voices.

 

The best-known of the traditional forms comes from Tuva,a small autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. Ethnomusicologists mark this musical technique not only to the vast open spaces of the countryside (where sounds carry to a great distance) but to an ancient culture of pastoral animism. The animistic world view of this region identifies the spirituality of objects in nature, not just in their shape or location, but in their sound as well. Thus, human mimicry of nature's sounds is seen as the root of throat singing. (An example is the Mongolian story of the waterfall above the Buyan Gol (Deer River), where mysterious harmonic sounds are said to have attracted deer to bask in the waters.)  Indeed, the cultures in this part of Asia have developed many instruments and techniques to mimic the sounds of animals, wind, and water.

 

The most popular style of Tuvan throat singing is known as "Khomeii." It is traditionally a softer sounding style, with the fundamental usually in the low-mid to midrange of the singer's normal voice with 2 or 3 harmonics that can be heard above the fundamental. Pitch is manipulated through a combination of lip and throat movement. Singing in this style gives the impression of "wind swirling among rocks."

 

"Sygyt", is a technique that utilizes a mid-range fundamental and produces a high-pitched, rather piercing harmonic reminiscent of whistling. The tone sounds very bright and clear and is also described as an imitation of the gentle breezes of summer, the songs of birds.

 

"Kargyraa" is a deep undertone technique. The fundamental produced by the vocal folds, and the mouth cavity is shaped to select harmonics of both the fundamental and the undertone, producing from four to six pitches simultaneously. This style can also be described as the howling winds of winter or the plaintive cries of a mother camel after losing her calf. Another writer describes it thus"to get an idea of kargyraa imagine a voice that resembles the roaring of a lion, the howling of a wolf, and the croaking of a frog – and all these mixed together."

 

Other styles are described as "chirping of crickets.", "throat humming" (Dumchuktaar) and "Ezengileer" a pulsating style, mimicking the rhythms of horseback riding.  Tuva's neighbours, Bashkortostan, the Altai Republic  and Khakassia also have traditions of throat singing. Tibetan Buddhist chanting is a sub-genre of throat singing. Most often the chants hold to the lower pitches of throat singing. 

 

 

Nirgun & Sagun

Hindustani Classical Vocal

by Madhup Mudgal

 

"One conventional way to categorize devotional feeling is with the terms sagun and nirgun. The nirgun deity is invoked in negatives such as invisible, indescribable, ungraspable, beyond form, inconceivable, and unnameable. Nirgun poetry evokes a deeper level of experience by cutting off normal ways of thinking, pushing the listener to a place that is no-place, to a consciousness where all analytical categories (including nirgun and sagun) collapse. It does so not with high-flown language but with everyday imagery. Kabir is the premier nirgun poet of North India. "
"The landscape of North Indian religion was dramatically transformed in the 15 and 16 centuries by a remarkable family of poet-saints. Among the most famous and beloved of these figures--in India and throughout the world--are Mirabai, Surdas, and Kabir.
These medieval mystic poets explored the emotional and passionate aspects of Bhakti. Their poetry shows a multiplicity of meaning from bliss to mystical unity as typified in the Nirgun Bhakti works of Kabir, Raidas, Dadu and in the hymns of Guru Nanak and other Sikh Gurus compiled in the Guru Granth Sahib
Musically this philosophy is expressed in the 'gayaki' style of singing of the sagun poets mirabai and Surdas and the more abstract softer style of the Kabir bhajans.
An interesting feature characteristic of both styles of Bhakti poetry is the 'oral signature', - the mention of the poet's name near the end of the poem.
The greatest disservice however to these poets says John Hawley ( author of 'Three Bhakti Voices') is the sagun-nirgun division itself, This was far less evident in the original poems. The idea of a difference between the two was probably the result of sectarian definitions that grew stronger over time.


Madhup Mudgal is one of the best known Indian classical vocalists of the present generation. He heads the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Delhi's leading and oldest institution for training in music, founded by his late father and first guru, Professor Vinay Chandra Maudgalya.

Madhup has also been a student of some great maestros of Hindustani music such as Shri Vasant Thakar, Pandit Jasraj and the celebrated Kumar Gandharva.

Madhup has won acclaim not only for his sonorous voice and individual technique but also for his numerous original music compositions

 

 

 

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