Sveta Hattangdi Kilpady is a Hindustani Classical Vocalist. She started learning at the age of three from Gurus like Pandit Jialal Vasant, Shrimati Manik Bhide (of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana) & Dr. Aneeta Sen (of the Purabi gharana). She is currently taking guidance in Thumri from Smt. Manju Sundaram of Banaras. She has taught North Indian Classical music in India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and Singapore. Sveta is the founder of Aarohan Sangeet Gurgaon and co-founder of ‘The Baithak Experience’ Gurgaon.
Editor’s note: This is Sveta’s first episode for The Slow Movement in which she talks of the calming effects of Raga Darbari Kanada and sings the famous ghazal Mere hamnafas mere hamnawa which is set in this raga.
How would you describe your day today? Chances are that it was full of stress, pressure and uncertainty. Life today is a hyper-active 24×7 race, live-streaming in front of our eyes. The conflict that constantly occurs is a desire to escape and do nothing.
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How can one overcome this and fulfil our desires of relaxing after a stressful and tiring day? Through Music. Music is known to have healing, meditative and relaxing powers. Especially, Indian Classical music. One such Indian Classical raga that is the perfect antidote to the pressures and challenges of daily life is Raga Darbari Kanada.
You may ask, Darbari who?
Before I describe this raga, let me ask you a question. Imagine your favourite food. Does it really matter that you understand how your favourite curry or pasta was made? You just enjoy it.
It’s the same with music.
The best way to enjoy any type of Indian Classical music is to sit back in a comfortable posture, shut your eyes, breathe slowly and listen. It really doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the nuances or intricacies of the raga. Music has been used as a conduit to relaxation for years. Musicologists and social scientists are still studying the effect of music on human beings.
Some North Indian classical ragas were specifically sung at a certain time of the day to evoke the right dose of emotion and mood. It is said that once the raga notes reach the human ear, the right vibrations are created to give the desired effect.
Back to Darbari Kanada
Darbari Kanada is a late-night raga. This raga originated in the Carnatic or South Indian music genre and was brought into the Hindustani tradition by Miyan Tansen. Tansen was the legendary composer and musician in the great Mughal Emperor Akbar’s court. Darbar in Hindi means court. Tansen would perform this raga for the Emperor to help him relax and calm down after a stressful day.
The raga is usually sung deep into the night. Darbari Kanada has a distinctive tone that separates it from other ragas. The raga uses the notes of the lower octaves which gives it a haunting and sonorous effect when you hear it. Darbari Kanada is a pure, pristine raga that avoids the use of ornamentation. Some call it a serious or ‘gambhir’ raga.
You will instantly recognise the raga when you hear a few popular Indian film songs that have been composed to this raga.
Do you remember the following songs?
O duniya ke rakhwale from the film Baiju Bavra Music by Naushad, Tu pyaar ka sagar hai from the movie Seema by Shankar Jaikishan, Dil jalta hai to jalne de from the film Pehli Nazar by Anil Biswas. Or the title song of Satyam Shivam Sundaram by Laxmikant Pyarelal and Agar mujhse mohabbat hai, mujhe sab apne gham de do from the film Aap Ki Parchhaiyan by Madan Mohan. And you must definitely have heard , Dekha hai pehli baar saajan ki aankhon mein pyaar by Nadeem Shravan, from the movie Saajan.
Can you spot the common element in the notations and tune?
Many ghazals have also been sung in this raga like Hungama hain kyun barpa by Ghulam Ali and Mere humnafas mere humnava, sung by many artists but by far the best rendition is by Begum Akhtar written by Shakeel Badayuni.
Listen to my attempt at this raga and this ghazal. I hope you enjoy it!
You can find more music by Sveta here: