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In Union

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Customer Reviews

Vocals that take us into a divine abode

Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty's voice conveys the spiritual and peaceful message of Indian Raga music, the music of the human soul, the abode of the divine. 'A Chapel or any place of worship is a house of God. People assemble there for a blissful awareness of their relation to the Creator and Preserver. This awareness is a pressing need of the present, as violence and destruction of a global magnitude imperil human civilization and culture.' - Ajoy Chakrabarty. Vocal music remains at the heart of classical music in India, where the human voice is considered a divine musical instrument, expressing the most intimate secrets of the soul. Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty is one of the most popular and influential vocal musicians from the Indian sub-continent today. It is said that the young Ajoy could sing before he could talk. At a time when a career in music was not looked at favourably in the aspiring social circles of Calcutta, his father Mr Ajit Chakrabarty recognised the potential of a musical genius in the making, enduring hardship rather than sacrificing his son's music training. Initially, Ajoy was sent to study with Pandit Gnan Prakash Ghosh, the most influential Bengali music teacher of the twentieth century. His rigorous training with Ustad Munawar Ali Khan, introduced him to the distinctive Patiala style of singing made famous by the legendary Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. The Patiala gharana, developed in the state of Punjab in the nineteenth century, is characterised by the use of a full-bodied, resonant voice over three octaves. This album features a full-length live performance recorded at Union Chapel, London on 25th May 2002. It demonstrates Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty's consummate vocal skills and his command of several genres of Indian music including Khayal, Thumri, Bhajan and Bengali light music, capturing the true spirit of both the ancient and the modern. Shib Shankar Ray is the most sought after UK based tabla accompanist, and a fellow disciple of Gnan Prakash Ghosh. Raga Shudh Kalyan - Khayal (track 1-2) Khayal is the most popular vocal style in Indian classical music offering the artist great flexibility for improvisation. India's classical music seeks to establish a close correlation with natural cycles and phenomena and evoke the emotions associated with them. Ragas are classified according to the times of the day and the seasons of the year, and are rendered according to the moods that are considered aesthetically compatible to them. Raga Shudh Kalyan is associated with the early evening, and strives to induce a serene and devotional state of mind. The performance begins with a short alap, introspective in nature, gently introducing the notes and characteristic phrases of the raga. The composition is accompanied by a slow tempo rhythmic cycle of twelve beats (ektaal). Through this part of the performance the soloist explores the raga in depth, initially creating combinations centred on the lower notes of the octave, gradually incorporating higher notes. After establishing the mood, the singer develops more complex and demanding permutations, exploring limitless musical possibilities using the syllables (Sa,Re,Ga,Ma,Pa,Dha,Ni,Sa) with apparent ease. Track 2 is a traditional composition in the faster tempo 'tintaal', comprising of sixteen beats. Raga Jog -Tarana (track 3-4) 'This raga expresses and evokes a joyful albeit quiet perception of the union with the Absolute' Tarana incorporates nonsensical syllables and phrases like 'na, ta, dhum, tirakita and dhiredhire', borrowed from the repertoire of the tabla and pakhawaj drums, and the kathak dance rhythms. Track 3 features a Tarana composed by Gnan Prakash Ghosh set to Jhaptaal, a ten beat rhythmic cycle. Raga Jog is a relatively recent raga, which has become increasingly popular in latter part of the twentieth century. 'Paiyan Padu Tore Shyam'- Thumri. (track 5) Thumri in Raga Desh composed by Darasha Piya alias Mehboob Khan 'Desh is generally considered a Raga of the rainy season, but ideally it expresses and evokes emotions caused by the separation and distance from the beloved. The beloved one may be God Himself.' The composition is sung in a rhythmic cycle of eight beats called Yat (or Jat), which is used mostly to accompany Thumri. This musical style often portrays the various romantic episodes from the lives of the divine lovers Lord Krishna and Radha. Thumri (track 6) 'Ke Sang Kheloon Mein Bhag' (trans. 'Who should I play with') This a thumri based on Raga Sohini made famous by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Sohini is traditionally a popular raga in the Punjab area of India and Pakistan. This track features two compositions, the second 'Aur Mari Abir Gulal' is a celebration of the throwing of colours at the Festival of Holi. 'Aye Na Balam' (track 7) Dadra composed by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (taal - Keherva 8 beats) The rendition of this song reveals elements of Arabian music along with those of Jazz music. Moreover, elements of a number of Indian Ragas have been happily synthesized here to express and evoke the urge for union with the supreme object of love and devotion. 'Ghum Ashey na' (track 8) A Bengali modern song composed by Shri Amalendu Bikash Kar Chowdhury. The song is not predominated by any Raga. There are elements of folk music in it. Bhajan (track 9) Bhajan is a popular Hindu devotional song type. This composition was written by Kabir, a saint of India. The song ends with incantation of Sanskrit verses signifying the unity of all religions truths and the most vital role of preceptors including one's mother in leading the aspirant from darkness to light. Kabir here stresses the syncretic spirit of Indian religion. There are many sects and cults, but God is One. Therefore, religious difference which is the cause of so much violence should not blur the truly spiritual vision of man.' Notes: John Ball


Born: 1953

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Born in 1953 in Calcutta, Ajoy Chakrabarty is one of the finest classical vocalists of today. His style of singing follows the teachings of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the doyen of the Patiala gharana. From 1969 he learned with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan's son, Munawar Ali Khan and he applies these...
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Top Albums and Songs by Ajoy Chakrabarty

In Union, Ajoy Chakrabarty
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  • $19.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Asia
  • Released: 2002

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