Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Raga Gorakh Kalyan – emerging as a Bageshri variant

This essay is now published in my fourth book:

Removing it from here was considered proper, though not contractually obligatory, in order to protect my publisher's investment in my book.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Khayal Vocalism: Continuity within Change

Author: Deepak Raja
Foreword: Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar
Introduction: Lyle Wachovsky
Paperback: Rs. 460.00. Hard-cover: Rs. 760.00


“Deepak Raja’s work is surely the most important contribution to literature on khayal vocal styles to come out in recent times. His minute and colorful analysis is astounding testimony to decades of deep aesthetic and intellectual engagement. His parsing of the formidable variables of Khayal style here is a real gift to those of us who have puzzled over the elusive qualities of this beautiful music. His essays on selected musicians are both enlightening and entertaining. I recommend this book to anyone who listens thoughtfully to India's classical music.”

Prof. Allyn Miner
Department of South Asian Studies
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphi, USA

Deepak Raja has adopted a unique kind of systematic analytical approach to the study of Hindustani music, which yields original and intriguing insights. Students and lovers of Indian music will find much that is compelling and thought-provoking in this book.

Prof. Peter Manuel
Professor of Music, John Jay College, New York,USA

“This book is a pioneering effort in the study of Hindustani Music. I know of no previous work that pays as much attention to detailed analysis of the individual stylistic characteristics of the great vocalists of the past. Moreover, the analysis is firmly grounded in an extensive study of a large array of recordings. This feature by itself is a huge departure from the established norms in past writing on this subject, in which the treatment has been with a broad brush, thereby often leading to generalities that are not objectively sustainable. Here an attempt is made to impose some rigor in this process, by relying on material that is available for detailed analysis – such as recordings, interviews and so on.

“Here, Deepak Raja applies to stylistic analysis a metaphor he previously originated, applying ideas from the plastic arts to the study of khayal styles. This metaphor involves looking at the total phenomenon of creativity in khayal styles as a meld of three facets: an architectural facet, a sculptural facet, and an ornamental facet. This point of view is original, stimulating and effective, and provides a conceptual and analytical framework for understanding Khayal stylistics. The reader will find much here that is of interest historically as well as musically. This book should be required reading for every serious student of music whose vision goes beyond performance alone. We are in Deepak Raja's debt for an outstanding book.”

Prof. Ramesh Gangolli.
University of Washington, Seattle, USA

“Basing the findings and conclusions on pointed instances from audio-recordings, using physical parameters for analysis and yet treating the art as an organic form, keeping the discussion restricted to the musician's music alone, the felicity in the use of language – impart objectivity, dignity and intimacy to Deepak Raja's writings on music. His deep knowledge of the music of the stalwarts and his eagerness to recognise and understand the music of the most recently risen artist have carried this book ahead of and beyond the earlier writings on the Khayala music.”

Prof. N Ramanathan
Professor of Music (Retd.), University of Madras
Currently, Adjunct Professor of Music, Chennai Mathematical Institute.

Deepak Raja has achieved a unique synthesis of articulate musical description and thoughtful cultural background. He supports and respects the traditions of Hindustani classical music; but manages to achieve the personal distance necessary to avoid the emotional and analytic excesses of many volumes in this field. “Khayal Vocalism” offers scholars an important alternative perspective on Indian musical priorities and thinking; it is essential for the interested listener (Indian or foreigner) who wishes to reach a better understanding of the most important vocal form in the classical music of 20th Century India.

Prof. Gregory Booth, Department of Ethnomusicology,
University of Auckland, New Zealand

“I am not an authority on Indian Classical music to ably judge the scholastic quality of “Khayal Vocalism”. But I know Deepak Raja and the dedication with which he works on a chosen project. Going through “Khayal Vocalism” I was highly impressed by Shri.Raja’s expertise and deep passion for the subject. I am confident that readers will find his analysis of great value”.

Mrs. Vijaya Mehta
Executive Director, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai

“Scholarly and meticulously researched, this is an extremely valuable book on Indian classical music.”

Namita Devidayal
Author of “The Music Room” (Random House, 2008)

"Like all Deepak Raja's writings on Hindustani music, including his earlier work, "Hindustani Music--a Tradition in Transition", the present work too impresses with the knowledge, information, candour, analytical acuity and felicity of expression that he has brought to it. Art music is rarely written about in such a clear, readable manner."

Shanta Gokhale
Culture columnist and theatre personality

“Assimilate like a student, analyse like a master, express like an artist. This has been the hallmark of scholar-musician Deepak Raja’s approach, making this wonderful book a seeker’s destination and a reader’s odyssey”

Ashok Roy
Author of “Music Makers” (Rupa, 2004)

To me Deepak Raja or Deepakbhai as I call him, is a senior disciple, a talented musician, a respected journalist, a critical analyst of Indian music and a close family friend.

As an author, his first book “Hindustani Music: a tradition in transition”, written in lucid and scholarly language, is much in demand. His second book -- “Khayal Vocalism: continuity within change” -- projects profound analysis of the vocal form of Khayal. His conclusions which maintains “Continuity within Change” is indeed thought provoking. I am sure it will be extremely useful to academically interested musicians as well as aspiring students.

Pandit Arvind Parikh
Eminent sitarist, and
President, Indian Musicological Society

I have known Deepak Bhai for a long time. I have seen his association with my Ustaad and father, Ustad Vilayat Khan and we have spent some wonderful times discussing music. His thoughts on our music and tradition I have always found to be very refreshing and I feel that he expresses them with a great amount of clarity. I always look forward to our meetings and our long chats.

Ustad Shujaat Khan, Sitarist

“As in his earlier book, -Hindustani Music – A tradition in transition”, Deepak Raja continues to provide a fresher and analytic evaluation of the changing profile of the khayal style in this book, covering all the major khayal gharanas of Hindustani music. Continuity and change is profoundly explained by the author. Scholar, performer and connoisseur –all will benefit from the reading of this valuable book.”

Prof. RC Mehta
Prof. of Music (Retd), M.S. Univ. of Baroda,
Founder – Editor, Journal of the Indian Musicological Society.

"Deepak Raja's book on Khayal vocalism is a remarkable output of research done over the years. He is one of the most outstanding musicologists I have ever come across, not only because of the depth of his scholarship in the field, but also because of his ability to think like a very sensitive performer. I am definite there will be wide appreciation of this masterly work"

Prof. Sugata Marjit
North Indian Classical Vocalist and
Director, Centre For Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkatta

“During my work in the Musicology department of the National College of Arts, Lahore and in the Sanjan Nagar Institute I have found Deepak Raja’s commitment to our classical music and his painstaking scholarship to be a very valuable asset. We have benefited greatly from his past writings and looking at his latest work I find it an even more valuable link in our fund of serious writings. We extend our gratitude and look forward to a further continuation of his important work in the realm of Indian Classical Music.”

Raza Kazim
Director, Sanjan Nagar Institute of Musicology,
Lahore, Pakistan

“Deepak Raja’s contributions to Sruti magazine have been weighty in substance but also very readable, addressed to the serious music lover, not the scholar. He is an editor’s delight; his copy needs no editing, and he has perfect understanding of the ideal length for the extremely readable profiles of khayal musicians, which we serialised in Sruti, and appear in this book. Here’s a role model for all aspiring writers on the arts—analytical and completely focused on the art and the process, not anecdotal like much writing we see in this genre.”

V Ramnarayan
Editor, SRUTI Magazine, Chennai