ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

I Heard It from Amit Chaudhuri

The Prakriti Foundation helps East meet West in a passion of fusion.

The multimedia musical programme by the talented and erudite Amit Chaudhuri, modestly titled “A Moment of Mishearing”, could have been more appropriately called “A Time for Profound Listening”. Part of Prakriti Foundation’s annual festival, which tours India’s metro cities, Chaudhuri created, in an all-too-brief hour of unique fusion music, sounds that led us from Indian ragas to Western pop, folk, and country-and-western. Chaudhuri rendered the Todi raga while his band also let us hear the Dominoes’ “Layla”, then the Blues of Jimi Hendrix mixed with a pentatonic raga, followed by the sentimental “Auld Lang Syne” within the strumming of a santoor! This may sound like tiresome fusion, but it is not, however world-weary one may feel. I was on the knife edge of genius, I acknowledged to myself, reluctantly.

For me, the moment of awakening to the truth of what I was witnessing was Chaudhuri’s malkaush while I was still in Gershwin’s “Summertime”, my summer time before Chaudhuri was born. Did the raga Malkaush cross the Arabian Sea from Africa? He throws out this comment. Maybe, I think, it is older, much older, as legend has it, from before the Aryans crossed the Khyber Pass...we do not know. Scholars have searched out the origin of languages, and even when they proclaim one to be an “isolate”, we know that all they mean is that they do not know since human communities have shamelessly borrowed from each other, from time immemorial. Art historians like Ernst Gombrich have shown us even the pedigree of designs, from ancient Egypt or Greece, that have found their way into the edges of our carpets, and the friezes on cafe walls. Then why do we know so little about the origins of musical sound, the very first sounds a baby hears in the womb? There is music all around us, animals have their own sense of music, but how did we get ours?

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.