Confluence of music

'Ruhaniyat'

Confluence of music

At first glance, the long-necked string instrument could easily be mistaken for a crude construction of a ‘sitar’.

But on further inspection, the striking differences between the ‘kora’ and the Hindustani instrument are apparent. Despite its bulky appearance, the West African instrument emanates a sweet and melodious tune, ringing gently in the listener’s ears.

As Solo Cissokho’s fingers moved up and down the long stem of mahogany and traced the nylon threads with extreme expertise, the Senegalese ‘kora’ player enchanted the audience at ‘Ruhaniyat’, a concert at Jayamahal Palace Hotel. He performed three songs, all unique in their own way.

Beginning with an instrumental song on peace, he placed the ‘kora’ on his waist and strummed the threads delicately. He took some time to tune the instrument in between each song as he didn’t have any keys on it. Solo makes his own instruments and said that he likes to keep them traditional.

His second song was a number on peace. Singing in Mandinka, he sang about peace between countries, people and a time when there can be paradise. It was, however, the third song that was the crowd pleaser.

The Senegalese brought his music together with the works of Gullu Khan, Darre Khan and group. While the Rajasthani singers worked up their voiced with songs by Meerabai and her devotion for Krishna, Solo sang about an African king who was known for his generosity. The Indo-African confluence brought out interesting sounds that people enjoyed. Along with the ‘kora’, vocals of Solo and Gullu and kamaycha performance by
Darre, there were other seasoned artistes at the concert.

Avadhoot Gandhi and group, who came from Maharashtra, brought with them the works of Eknath in the form of ‘bharud’ and ‘abhang’. One of their songs spoke about the plight of a woman, who was being tormented by her in-laws. She begs god to free her from them, and compares them to emotions like ‘ego’ and ‘worldly attachments’.

Another song was called a ‘gondal’ (confusion) and is sung to newly-wed couples. It is a song to ask the goddess Ambika for blessings, in order for the couple to become one. They also sang a song by Ramdas Samarth on what ‘niranjan’ is. Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, along with Kuljeet Singh on the ‘tabla’ and Darshan Singh on back-up vocals, brought the audience ‘shabad’s’ from Punjab. Singing poetic verses on uniting everyone and peace, the Padma Shri-awardee enchanted everyone.  Vaibhav, an engineer, said that he enjoyed all the performances. “I really like Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa’s songs. I like to go to concerts like these as much as possible,” he summed up.

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