pakhawaj

Aesthetics of heritage should never be compromised! 

This is a percussion instrument named ‘jori’ meaning couple. The concept was taken from the Ancient Indian barrrel shaped drum called the Pakhawaj the barrel was made into two peices with skins and a bottom base so it can be played up right. 

The 5th Guru in the Sikh tradition Guru Arjun Dev Ji blessed Sikhs with this drum and carried out the actions of the above mentioned. The tonal qualities are of the same kind against Pakhawaj.

The smaller drum 'pura’ has a diameter of anything between 6" - 71/2" and the larger anything from 8" - 10". The 'pura’ has a real low pitched treble resonance. Larger drum 'Dhama’ gets its bass form the use of chapati dough mix which is applied in a circular shape. Too much dough will block the sound, too less will make it sound trebly, and just the right amount will give you near enough perfect bass! 

Today, we have almost lost the “jori” in defeat to the well known tabla. A blessing from the 5th Guru almost lost as well as the melodies and beats played on Jori especially with the sung prayer of Sri Asa Ki Vaar.

In Sri Asa Ki Vaar there are certain speeches of Jori which come in to intuition and presence whilst the Vaar is sung. These syllables of speech produced from the Jori create a sensation in the atmosphere in the air and uplift the inner connection of the spectator, taking us back in time where we may experience a grain of what life was in that setting where this first started. 

It is only in the last 60 years or so that we have begun to stray away from the tradition of singing styles in the Sikh tradition along with the style of accompaniment on Jori. 

Here are some recordings with Jori being played in them. 

The first is of Ustad Nihal SIngh Ji playing a Jori solo and towards the end a clip Jori accompaniment in Sri Asa Ki Vaar.-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=550I8wio_No

The next is of Maharaaj Bir Singh ji Namdhari, respected son of the Namdhari Guru, Baba Partap Singh Ji and brother of the next Guru, Baba Jagjit Singh Ji. Baba Partap Singh Ji was very well known to take care of the Ragis (ones who sing Raag) and Rababis (ones who play Rabab, Muslim devotional singers who played Rabab as Bhai Mardana Ji did)  of Sri Harmandir Sahib at a time where the Ragis and Rababis were not appreciated by many. Baba Partap Singh Ji got these skilled practitioners of devotional Dhrupad singing to teach at the Namdhari base of Sri Bhaini Sahib, there for acquiring very vast knowledge and holding the baton for this ancient style. Ustad Nihal Singh Ji was one of those who was bout to Sri Bhaini Sahib. Here, they are singing a Gurbani composition in Dhrupad form, an ancient form of singing which was once sung daily in Sri Harmandir Sahib, Ustad Nihal Singh Ji can be seen on the left hand side towards the end of the clip. -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iRSAjNO9OM

The last is of Bhai Baldeep Singh a man of many skills and talents. One of his main aims I feel is to preserve the Sikh heritage, as a 13th generation descendant of an unbroken lineage to hymn singers dating back to the time of the third Guru he has bought instruments such as the Taus, Rabab, saranda and Jori back into the eye of the Sikh community by learning the art of luthiery for these instruments. Here is a clip of him playing a Jori solo.- 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xvnoNIAE3I

Photo taken in film. 

youtube

Amazing Kirtan! Bhai Balbir Singh with hes brothers Baba Chattar Singh Ji Farla Dhari and Bhai Mohinder Singh Ji on Jori! 

Bhai Mohinder Singh JI plays some amazing pakhawaj bols on the jori at about 9.00mins where this jatha singh a short Dhrupad!

This footage is from the Barsi os Sant Kartar Singh Jis barsi at manjhi sahib

youtube

Amazing Jori pakhawaj Solo! If you know what this is…then you know…if you dont then sorry. 

Anatomy of Applause.

5th December 2016. Monday

Ghatam, Kanjira, Moorsing, Mridangam, Pakhawaj, Ghungroo with Drums, Cello, Piano. Techno beats and Vedic Chants

Sitar at center stage with Shehnai and western percussion and bass the music represents the modern citizen of India. Indian at heart but with a lot of western influences. An amalgam of cultures, of sounds, of thinking, of ideas. Absorbing the best of everything.

The strings of the sitar build a sound stream, a cello enhances it and the wave finishes off in style with the Shehnai and the drums. Just four artists on stage and with a little technology the effect is of a full orchestra.

Anoushka Shankar is playing her latest album Land of Gold, her musical response to the refugee crisis of 2015 where images of refugees in a boat fleeing their homes in Syria and hoping to find their land of Gold somewhere else. Sitting in the concert hall, my mind wanders off.

I must be around 8 or thereabouts, if I remember right. My father took me to a Hindustani Classical Concert at Town Hall in Ahmedabad. Those days they would begin post dinner and go till Raag Bhairavi would welcome the first rays of the sun.

Thoroughly bored, I had drifted off to sleep as you would imagine any boy of eight would. I would have forgotten the evening had it not been for a horror I witnessed early morning when I was woken up. I saw blood on the stage! Pandit Ravi Shankar’s fingers were bleeding even as his closed eyes and half smile talked of an inner ecstasy.

Then it came. Thundering applause. A standing ovation from a mesmerized crowd who had just woken up from their magical reverie. From a world created by the fingers and lips of these gifted geniuses. In it there was a lesson. A lesson the boy of eight would never forget. Applause comes at the end of a long journey dotted with blood, sweat and tears. The journey is quiet, dark, anonymous filled with frustrations, disappointments, self doubt and then after years breaking through it all it may come, or it may not! No guarantees on this journey.

Even as the musicians where soaking in the applause, someone rushed on the stage and bandaged Panditji’s fingers. The namaskar with two hands folded together with dots of red on the white bandage is a sight I still remember.

The applause doesn’t come easy. No matter what profession you are in. Applause has to be earned. It’s the culmination of long lonely hours of work. It’s the overcoming of self doubts, the sacrifices of a disciplined life where everything was given to something.

The sound is sweet, the feeling am sure must be heavenly but the road to it is arduous.