INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Raga Shuddha Bhairavi


Author Message
Raga Shuddha Bhairavi Apr 02, 2003 09:55 p.m.

I've been playing for about eight or nine months, and also studying sitar with Ashwin Batish. I've been getting as many awesome sitar CD's as I can get my hands on, like Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, Kartik Seshadri, Nikhil Banerjee, Vilayat Khan, etc. Anyway, Ashwin told me to learn the raga Shuddha Bhairavi really well. I can't find any recording of this raga in its "pure" form. I am able to find Bhairavi, but it's not exactly what I need. If there are any other sitar players out there, I wanted to know if anyone could tell me about a CD where I can find this hard to find raga.


Re:Raga Shuddha Bhairavi Apr 03, 2003 11:00 a.m.

Remember the thread on Kafi? This is a similar situation. Most recordings and performances of Bharavi are "tainted". Shuddha means pure...but there is no raag such as Shuddha Bhairavi to my knowlede. What Batish is probably trying to communicate is for you to learn the "pure" form of Bhairavi. Look up the SAWF archives.

You are correct it is close to impossible to find a "pure" Bhairavi - the track may be titled bhairavi, but not neccecarily be in its pure form. It is something that instrumentatlists are expect to learn (like kafi, pilu, khamaj) but VERY rarely perform as a main piece.

Your best bet is a vocal Dhrupad performance - especially the bandish Jagata Janani. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has a VERY short recording in either the "Garden of Dreams" or "Journey" I think it is in the latter.

Let us know if you find anything else.

Re:Raga Shuddha Bhairavi Apr 03, 2003 11:36 a.m.

Again paralleling the Kafi thread, there is a short recording of "pure" Bhairavi in The Raga Guide. The notes that go with it say, " there exist dozens of excellent recordings of Bhairavi by virtually all the great musicians of this century." They do not, however, say if these are recordings of the pure form. Wish they had a discography. (Not that I know what I'm talking about, but does anyone else find that the use of the words "pure" and "impure"-- at least in English -- seems to suggest that there is something wrong with combnation ragas? I suppose some people might conclude that the use of combiniation ragas implies that the cutting-edge players feel that audiences are tired of the non-combinaiton ragas and need something new?)
Re:Raga Shuddha Bhairavi Apr 03, 2003 01:23 p.m.

Bob, I look at your question this way. Before you learn how to put together an intelligent sentence, you need to have a good knowledge of the language, including its grammer, spellings, and use of vocabulary. That way you can pick the appropriate words, use correct grammer and spelling, and put it all together to convey the meaning and intent of your idea.

So by comparison, a simple sentence (pure raag by analogy here) can exist by itself and be perfectly fine. Many people only use simple sentences and are OK with that. But there are those that wish to go beyond simple, and use more complex sentences to express more complex ideas with greater meaning(combination raags, by analogy). Make sense?

I like Raag Yaman and Raag Kalyan, but I really like Yaman Kalyan. I guess in the end, its just whatever you are comfortable with (and your audience likes if you have one).

Re:Raga Shuddha Bhairavi Apr 03, 2003 01:30 p.m.

The afore mentioned stuff is just from the point of view of a university instructor. Just the way I think. Not meant to be a flame of any kind!
Re:Raga Shuddha Bhairavi Apr 03, 2003 04:28 p.m.

Russ -- I like your explanation very much. Makes sense and feels right. Just for the record, I certainly have no quarrel with any terminology that anyone uses. I was just bringing up an interesting subtlety of language. As a marketing writer, these things occur to me. An occupational hazard, I suppose. If I was trying to write copy to sell these ragas, I might call them single-name and double-name ragas rather than saying "pure" which might imply to some folks that the opposite was "impure" which could have a negative connotation. But whatever one calls them, the ragas certanly are wonderful things and I can't wait to get home and get my sitar out of the box! Cheers!
Re:Raga Shuddha Bhairavi Apr 03, 2003 06:55 p.m.

Gotcha. I'm certainly no expert on raag sangeet like some of the folks I've read on here before, but I'm at no loss for sheer opinion. Just keep on playing, and the blues won't come knocking on your door!
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