Saturday, August 25, 2007

vichitra vina (notes)

In several notes on my earlier blog kirwani, I tried to assemble some web-links for information pertaining to some topics in Indian classical music. One such topic is the instrument called vichitra vina.

For convenience, I am now parking a few further such links on this latter topic here.

Saying bye to Vichitra Veena by Vandana Shukla (article in The Tribune, April 25, 1999).
Now, it is only Shri Gopal Krishan in Delhi who plays the [Vichitra] Veena, sometimes for the AIR and Doordarshan. Ramesh Prem, who hails from Ferozepore, is now settled in Bombay is the other player.
Gopal Krishan passed away some time ago; but this article anyway concerns Ramesh Prem.
... Then, he listened to Ustad Abdul Aziz Khan, the court musician of Maharaja Patiala, playing the Veena on Lahore radio station. The sound of Veena with its deep resonance pulled him to this instrument like a magnet. He knew this is what he had been wanting to play all the while.He would listen to all the programmes of the ustad, which were quite frequent those days, religiously for about five to six years. It goes to the credit of Ustad Abdul Aziz Khan that Veena was revived in these modern times. Otherwise, it would have died long back. Ramesh moved to Lahore and decided to learn under the tutelage of the ustad. After five years of futile chase for the ustad, Ramesh realised he had to look for some other teacher. At the same time, he did not want to compromise on the choice of his instrument.When he met Mohammed Sharif Khan Poonchwale, son of Khan Sahib Rahim Khan, the court musician of the Maharaja of Kashmir, the ustad told him to pursue sitar, since he found his baaj good on the instrument. But at his insistence, he agreed to teach him playing the Veena.Ramesh learnt playing the Veena in gayaki ang. It was at his insistence that his ustad taught him the meend style of playing the Veena. Then came Partition and he had to leave Lahore, but he brought along his love for Veena....

Also --
Ajit Singh
Ajit Singh, my first teacher in India was a wonderful and humourous giving soul. Ajit performs on the rare and ancient instrument called Vichitra Veena, which is a slide veena in the North Indian style. He taught me for 2 semesters of my junior year while I studied at the Woodstock School in beautiful Mussorie, Uttar Pradesh.
-- from the My Masters page of California musician Paul Z. Livingstone's website.

An article (The American on Bhakti Trail) about Chris Hale also carries this passing note about Ajit Singh --
From Nepal to India — Chris’s journey was predetermined. It was at Woodstock in Dehra Dun that he picked up his first bits of fascination for the Indian classical music. “I joined the Indian Music Department at Woodstock and started learning sitar under the guidance of Ajit Singh, the greatest among vichitra veena players in the country. I vividly remember the recital of Pt Ravi Shankar at Doon. The magic of his recital solidified my desire to go on with the sitar. I now learn from Partho Mukherjee.”

Next -- in expounding about raag Todi (The Empire of Todi), Rajan K. Parrikar includes this:
We now reach for the instrumental package. First, an old recording of Habib Ali Khan on the Vichitra Veena -

Then, there's this unfamiliar (to me) assertion about the "creator" (presumably meaning, inventor) of the instrument:
In the field of music, Gujarat has made its own contribution. A number of Ragas bear the territorial names of Gujarat such as Gujaqri Todi, Bilaval (from Veraval), Sorathi, (from Sorath), Khambavati (from Khambhat, Cambay), Ahiri and Lati. These are invaluable gifts of Gujarat to the classical music of India. Jesingbhai, the creator of the Vichitra Veena, a musical string instrument, was from Ahmedabad.
If this is true, it's curious one doesn't find it mentioned in standard information about this instrument.

No comments: