Raag Multani depicts power, veneration and submission in the same light, much like Albrecht Durer's sketch of "Praying Hands" from 1508. It is sung during the fleeting hours between light and darkness in the evening. Dusk, also known as the “cow-dust hour” in India, was coined to portray a glimpse of the agricultural lifestyle in India. The tired farmer returns home after the day’s toil with his herd of cows treading along an arid path, giving rise to clouds of dust against a setting sun. Having completed work in the relentless heat of central Indian summer, he is tired but pauses to take stock of the entire day with wisdom, prayers, prudence and courage. Raag Multani’s somberness evokes such emotions akin to a common, toiling man’s life.
With his rich voice, Pandit Venkatesh Kumar infuses succinct heroism and sincerity that are characteristic of this twilight raga. Raag Multani derives from Thaat (scale) Todi. It has a pentatonic ascent (SgMPN) and uses seven notes (SNdPMgr) in its descent. Although Dha and Re are used sparingly, the premonition of ‘Re’ created from various notes portrays the core calmness of Multani despite its heroic personality.
Pandit Kumar sings a motley of styles with Gwalior gharana as his forte. His gayaki is also influenced by the Kirana gharana and he is a self-confessed follower of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Nazakat and Salamat Ali Khan. Traces of Carnatic music are evident from the patterns of his taans.
This is his first international debut performance at the Darbar Festival, 2010, at the King’s Place in London. Pandit Kumar performed Raag Multani, Raag Patdeep, Raag Durga and a Thumri in Raag Khamaj in sequence. Satyajit Talwalkar's tabla accompaniment empowers the emotional contours of the raga. Murad Ali Khan perpetuates this trend with the heart-wrenching sound of his sarangi. Tofail Ahmed impacts the melodic flow with simple and captivating phrases.
Recorded at Darbar Festival 2010, at London’s King’s Place.
Venkatesh Kumar (khayal)
Satyajit Talwalkar (tabla)
Murad Ali (sarangi)
Tofail Ahmed (harmonium)
Roopa Panesar & Gunwant Dhadhyalla (tanpuras)
Raag Multani, Thaat: Todi, Samay: Late afternoon
Raag Patdeep, Thaat: Kafi, Samay: Late Afternoon
Raag Durga, Thaat: Bilaval, Samay: Late evening
Thumri in Raag Khamaj