The Punjabi nuance of khayal music

The Punjabi nuance of khayal music

Soothing rhythms

On the tumultuous evening when a storm roared through the streets of Delhi, in one corner of the city an auditorium rang out with the lilting tunes of traditional Punjabi music.

In a two-day music fiesta, Punjabi Academy and Department of Art, Culture and Languages presented ‘Festival of Traditional Music of Punjab’ at the India International Centre. The mellifluous tunes of khayal bandish, thumri and sufiana kalaams cast their spell on the audience as eminent artistes and composers came together to celebrate the khayal style of gayaki in the Capital.

A mere mention of traditional Punjabi music and the beautiful repertoire of khayal gayaki, that has enriched the Hindustani classical music for more than two centuries, comes to one’s mind. So it was befitting that the Punjabi Academy brought together five Hindustani music maestros to relive the Punjabi khayal bandishes. The first day of the festival witnessed Baljeet Singh Namdhari and Pandit Somdutt Battu relive the art form. The second day began with the renditions of Ustad Mazhar Ali Khan and Jawad Ali Khan, grandsons of the legendary Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan of the Patiala Gharana. The Khan brothers were joined in by S Alankar Singh to enliven their musical performance.  Rekindling the spirit of khayal gayaki, the five musicians mesmerised the audience with their rendition. Khayal gayaki of Punjab evolved as a more flexible and azad form of expression, than its precursor, dhrupad. The process of evolution of khayal had begun in the 12th century with the earnest efforts of the legendary Sufi poet Amir Khusro. Niamat Khan Sadarang and Ferozkhan Adarang later developed this style while serving in the court of Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah Rangila. The two are credited with giving this music its present stamp and form.

On the occasion, Jawahar Dhawan, Secretary of Punjabi Academy said, “Punjab has always been renowned for its beautiful bandishes which have enriched the repertoire of Hindustani classical music. Punjabi is the only other language, apart from Braj Bhasha, in which khayal bandishes have been written over the centuries.”