Music has great power. It touches the innermost recesses of our being. It invigorates. When we attend a concert and soak in music which is uplifting and rich, there are moments when we can hardly bear the sheer bliss. Mellifluous notes surround us. We float in an ocean of musical waves, enjoying its depth and grandeur. We just wish for the time to stop its relentless onward march. We wish to forever live in that frozen moment of inward happiness. We crave to be left alone in space and time.
We live in exciting times. We have geniuses who enthrall us with music of diverse genres. Scintillating dance performances, mesmerizing concerts and rapturous vocals keep us spellbound. Right from the snow-clad Swiss Alps to the lush green plains of India, one is fortunate to have heard and seen maestros who have perfected the art of touching our souls and made us appreciate the nobler aspects of our lives.
By way of a humble salute to some such maestros, one recalls some encounters of a musical kind.
Rythmic repartee on tabla, Ustaad Alla Rakha, Hyderabad, India, 1960
Ram Leela of Sri Ram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Mathura, India, 1967
Soulful notes of the strings, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Chandigarh, India, 1975
Soft mellifluous rendering of Hindustani Classical music, Pandit Kumar Gandharva, Dewas, India, 1978
A unique voice with a classical touch, Manna Dey, Chandigarh, India, 1983
A velvet-like voice and some exquisite Urdu ghazals, Jagjit Singh, Chennai, India, 1998
Fluid notes of the flute, Shashank, Tiruvannamalai, India, 2000
Swaying with the beats, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Chennai, India, 2001
Enchanting Bharatnatyam, Mallika Sarabhai, Auroville, India, 2004
Captivating and graceful Kathak, Uma Sharma, Auroville, India, 2006
Rapturous notes on the sitar, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar, Chennai, India, 2008
Flowing with the tide of Sufi music, Abida Parveen, Chennai, India, 2009
Rich tapestry of melody, Kalapini Komalini, Auroville, India, 2010
Haunting sounds of the flute, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pondicherry, India, 2010
Experiencing devotional ecstasy, Parvathy Baul, Pondicherry, India, 2011
Casting a spell with local folk music, Obwald Bhutan Appenzell, Sarnen, Switzerland, 2012
Sonorous chants of the monks from Bhutan, Sarnen, Switzerland, 2012
Mesmerizing harmony of St. Louis Symphony, David Robertson, Lucerne, Switzerland, 2012
Captivating notes of the violin, Christian Tetzlaff, Lucerne, Switzerland, 2012
Sheer bliss of virtuosity in Hindustani classical music, Pandit Jasraj, Chennai, India, 2012
Mesmerizing steps of Kathak, Mahua Shankar, Pondicherry, India, 2014
Improvisations on the santoor, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pondicherry, India, 2014
The spirit of perfection such artists imbibe is worth emulating for those who truly wish to excel in any field of life. They could be first-generation enthusiasts. Or, they could be from illustrious families with true blue artistic blood coursing through their veins. Invariably, their humility is praiseworthy. The magic latent in their fingers, vocal chords and lissome bodies leaves us spellbound. What they offer somehow resonates with our inner being.
Music is indeed food for the soul. The genre does not really matter. Our choices and preferences may differ widely. But what matters is the way it touches our hearts. We just need to feel it. We merely need to go with the flow. If we bring in our minds and try to analyze it, we just end up losing the charm and the essence of it.
Music makes us experience a glowing harmony between our inner and outer selves. It helps us to dig beneath the veneer of several masks that we wear in our mundane life. It also acts as a catalyst in our quest for our true inner selves. Indeed, it is a true friend of our souls!
Does this post remind you of the kind of musical encounters you have experienced? Would you like to share these with some of us in the blogosphere?!
(Some of the photographs appearing in this post are from the personal collection of yours faithfully. Others are courtesy the world-wide-web. These may not correspond to the specific live performance covered here.)