White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Arey Huzoor Wah Saaz Boliye

Was fortunate enough to see Ustad Zakir Hussain in concert today. The concert was marketed exactly that way, with Rahul Sharma's name appearing almost in fine print. However, as the concert started and with time, which flew by like an invisible being, it was quite obvious that Sharma was the literally the central attraction. Initially, I thought this had much to do with the tabla being a support instrument, rather than a lead one, which really shows my depth of Indian classical music, or rather the lack of it.

Rahul Sharma took some time to warm up, but once he had accomplished that, he seduced the audience with great finesse, taking them up to the crest of the musical wave, but not creating that explosion, alternating these with some troughs. In the first half of the recital, he played a purely classical raga whose name has been lost somewhere in those melodious pockets he created in my mind. In the second half, he played a lighter version of the raga Kirvani called Misra Kirvani. His performance reminded me of a deer out to fool the deadliest predators - elegant and enticing.

There is something about Zakir Hussain that will make you smile by just looking at him. He gives off that happy, warm feeling without stimulation that few people can boast of. At one point, you could see a smile of satisfaction light his already bright face up telling you "I love what I do, mate". He played the tabla like he was a lion - subdued for the most part, but roaring at times with some breath-taking hand action which has earned him the Grammy and world renown, almost as if to tease the younger maestro a little. Mind you, Rahul more than held his own during such moments. The humility of the great tabalchi was apparent as he sought to keep the limelight on Rahul at all times when the audience was applauding.

The jugalbandi between the two performers was akin to a long earned point in a tennis game between two equally good players - Zakir supporting Rahul first, then the other way around, sending each other volleys of musical notes, and each one equal to the challenge, and finally, what I had been waiting for - the fabulous fast rhythmic climax of a cathartic experience, in terms of treatment, which completely overshadowed the aalap in both pieces. During the alap, the mind, as trained by countless images of beautiful Kashmir against the backdrop of the sound of its santoor, did exactly that, but once the jugalbandi was in full swing, I felt like I was on a train somewhere warmer, looking out through the three horizontal bars of a non-AC berth into the passing greenery. I know it sounds clich├ęd but nothing else in the world mattered then. They even improvised a little - a flourish here and there, trapping the overall naive audience on more than one occasion by pausing, to be greeted by applause. The audience, which comprised of a lot of ABCD's (which speaks volumes of Zakir's international appeal and efforts at making the tabla a 'cool' percussion instrument), tried to unsuccessfully persuade the performers to do an encore a la rock concerts, thus again exhibiting their lack of knowledge of Indian classical recitals.

I was not too impressed with the theater logistics. My legs did not fit in the cramped space. And, it wasn't just my ogre ones that had a problem. Shorter friends were cramped for space too. Luckily there was no one to my left and I watched the entire concert sitting at an angle of 45 degrees. The lighting was very random. You would expect cooler colors initially when the performers were warming up and warmer ones once the jugalbandi got hot, but there was no such logic, and it seemed the lighting changed merely when the light guy was bored with his Solitaire game. Hot chocolate was over before I got to the cafe. Granted this is Bay Area, but it does get cold at night here in November, you know, and I have a cold, and didn't wear a jacket to show off my kurti and had to park three to four blocks away. Despite the bitching in the last paragraph, the concert was worth every penny I paid for my $25 balcony seat.


Anonymous said...

hahaha........apps...that last para cracked me up
"My legs did not fit in the cramped space. And, it wasn't just my ogre ones that had a problem."

I appreciate the reference to the fogretten days...even if it may have been unintended

ArSENik said...

Lol...yeah man, it was unintentional, but now that you mention it, the memories come flooding back. BTW, what ultimately happened to that bottle? I could use it in a court of law some day to prove the reason for my mental instability - you and Hanna.

Mala said...

Both of them my absolute favorites. I wish I had known about the concert. Next time - shoot me an email.

ArSENik said...

Umm...I don't know your email address, but I'll comment on your blog or something.

Amrita said...

good stuff. keep them shining my lost diamond!

ArSENik said...

Haha...thank you. This is unparalleled nostalgia. My very first muse (not counting Ganguly of course) speaketh! That one was what like 7 years ago?

DaduAmma said...

tomar je classical music sombondhe akta anubhuti chilo....latent chilo...tomar kaache thekeo bujhte parini...tumi je gaaner amon roshograhi jene khub khushi holam...Amma and Dadu

ArSENik said...

Aage chilam na. Aajkal ektu interest jagche, especially with classical instrumental and Begum Akhtar.