Friday, November 21, 2008

Fado + Ghazals = Kiran Ahluwalia

And I am going to meet this vocal gem from the Punjab ... tomorrow, in Amsterdam's Noorderkerk and in the precious company of dear dear friend Koosje and her daughter Roos.

Kiran will be touring a few other Dutch cities and then go back to New York.

"If yearning had a musical form it would be ghazals, the Indian and Pakistani sung poetry about unrequited love. If longing was a genre, it would be fado, the melancholic Portuguese song form also based in poetry. Singer Kiran Ahluwalia—a musical wanderer, who was born in India, raised in Canada, and now lives in New York City—unites the two on her latest recording, Wanderlust (Time Square Records/World Connection Records).
Source: Kiran Music

One of the first ghazals penned in Urdu in 15th century India appears on Wanderlust, “Tere Darsan,” written by Quli Qutub Shah. This sultan ruled over the city of Hyderabad, -- the place where Kiran received much of her ghazal training from one of the last living court musicians, Vithal Rao. “I’m constantly reading poetry in Urdu and Punjabi. That’s the way I live my life,”
Kiran explains.

Her passionate reading brought her to Qutub Shah’s words, crafted when Urdu was still emerging as a language. “The Urdu language of these ghazals is not the same dialect as we speak today, and so I felt a certain freedom to go further in my experimentation with other influences.

This feeling of freedom led Kiran to incorporate a bluesy feel and groove reminiscent of Saharan Africa, for another of Wanderlust’s serendipitous successes. It also marks the first time she has used the sounds of electric

About Ghazals
The Indian sub-continent, now India and Pakistan, has given many things to the world's culture: Hinduism, Buddhism, the Taj Mahal, tea, to name but a few. The region has also given the world some of the most accomplished celebrations of human love. One of these is the Kama Sutra, an epic description of physical love, named after the Hindu god of love - Kama.

Another is the poetic song form known as the ghazal. Ghazals are like polished diamonds - a single stone with many facets. Each ghazal is a single poem containing within itself a myriad of passionate smaller poems. When held up to the light they offer insight into much about the human condition.

painting by Navneet Parikh on Exotic India Art

Ghazals came to the Indian sub-continent from Persia in the 14th century. Unlike the physical love depicted in Indian erotic art, ghazals operate on the plane of poetic imagery and metaphor. They explore the many moods of love, from the ecstatic to the despondent. Ghazals also use human love as a mask to address many other aspects of the human condition.

For over six hundred years the finest poets of what is now India and Pakistan turned their talents to writing them and the finest singers and musicians used all their skill and training to interpret them.

Source: Kiran

painting by Navneet Parikh on Exotic India Art

Longing ... and ... yearning