Thanks again sriram for that wonderful comment on my previous post.
I have been thinking about writing about this topic for quite some time now, and I must say that Sriram's comment comes as a direct initiation for me to write this one. Ofcourse, I was planning to write this in an entirely different context earlier, now I am writing it in continuation to my previous posts..
I would like to take a small example from my times at BITS, Pilani. I used to be part of Music Club, which had a group of people from various cross sections of the country trying to play myriad styles of music. I still consider that my association with Music club has helped me grow into a better musician that what I used to be 6-7 years back. Music club organizes this event called "Music Nite" twice every semester. Music Nite is a 3 hr long event where popular indian film music is played and a few western numbers. Due to various reasons (which i wouldnt want to elaborate on this post..) there is a vast majority of students from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in BITS, Pilani. One point in time , few of us thought, why not play one tamil and one telugu song for the nite along with the hindi numbers? The idea sounded good as the crowd would love it!!! We decided to go ahead and play one tamil and one telugu song for the event. The Tamil/Telugu junta tripped over the songs... There were "Once moree...." requests resounding in the auditorium... all looked good....
The next day, my hostel room sidee, came up to my room and said... Harish, the music nite was amazing... except for two songs... I dint understand a word of those tamil/telugu songs that u played it sounded so silly to me... Now, The tamil song was pacchai Nirame from the movie alaipaayuthey. (which later became Saathiya... when the movie was remade to hindi!). I dint comment on what he said, but neverthless was forced to think why did he make such a statement? 1 year passed, Saathiya was released... and we decided to play the title song for another music nite.... The day after , my friend came back again... and said.. the Saathiya song was out of the world... what a great "tune"..
Okay that was just a scenario I had to quote to say what i feel about the need of knowing the lyrics of a song to appreciate a tune... This is one point which I vehemently disapprove of. I strongly agree that Lyrics contributes a very important part of the song and it adds a lot of value to the song as a whole... But, Lyrics is absolutely not a requirement to appreciate a piece of music. Its just the language oriented mind set of humans that makes one believe that i wont be able to appreciate the song if i dont understand the lyrics.. It tops the list of paradoxes when the same set of human beings can appreciate a flute or guitar recital where there is absolutely no lyrics.
I feel (this is again my personal opinion no offenses meant!) Lyrics or poetry has a very small role to play in the overall beauty of a musical composition. Its the music, the notes and the formations that make a piece really admirable. So, I feel one need not necessarily know the meanings of every song that he sings to make the song sound good. Its the internal bliis that one experiences while rendering a composition that translates to a good rendition.
Now, This particular line from sriram's post really interested me...
"A person who enjoys bhakthi
soaked music may not enjoy the saaki & shabaab music, and vice versa."
Agree!! Thats whats been happening all around me also. I just want to go and ponder a bit deep into this particular reference coz, I still have my grandfather visibily expressing his dislike to me playing "Saaqiya jaaye kahaan.. hum tere maikhaane se..." during the pooja times at my home... He says "all this songs deal with courtesans, immoral life, alchoholism and adultery....Why cant u play a thyagaraja kriti which is so rich in bhakti and positive energy?"
Well well... I beg to differ here... for me , till the moment he reminded me that the song actually deals with alcohol and women, I dint quite realize it... I was enjoying the subtle nuances of misra charukishi and some breathtaking harmonium interludes of this stupendous ghazal! Now - Bhakti- The term-No one uptill now has been able to give me a convincing definition for the term bhakti (yeah, i know, u can probably go read gita or upanishads or .....) I always found it quite perplexing as to why bhakti is always linked up to a religion or belief or god? I refuse to accept the argument that only a song sung in praise of Rama or Krishna or Jesus or Allah can invoke Bhakti... From my understanding, Bhakti leads u to a state of sublime happiness and all those great saints Tyagaraja Swamy, Jayadeva... they have all experienced it..
I experience sheer joy of life when i listen to music. I dont categorize it into carnatic , hindustani, ghazals or Rock.. I listen to what gives pleasure to my mind.. I dont care if it has lyrics or not, I dont care if I completely understand the lyrics or not , I dont care a bit if the lyrics has got to do with Rama Bhakti or Shabaab... For me, its all music, and personally those forms of music which dont bind you to rules or conventions... because, I belive music is also a force of nature... No body puts restrictions on the directions of wind flow or tides...
If you insist on looking at it scientifically also... language is constiuted of various syllables put together and uttered together... similarly even music is made up of various syllables uttered together, when for a human being the latter does not make sense in the liguistic point of view, he starts retorting saying i dont understand this... What i would say is... Dont even try to... Just listen to the sound it generates... if its good to your ear, u will surely experience happiness and thats exactly what bhakti also gives u. So Rama, Krishna, Allah, jesus, Saaqi, Sharaab, Shabaab, Maikhaana... all are just mere words and its the music that encompasses them that generates the feeling of sublime happiness or bhakti
Long live Music!