Growing up, I went through a phase of listening to ghazals and Hindi film music. That proved to be the exception rather than the norm. The last twenty-five years I focused solely on Carnatic – or south Indian classical music. I suspect I avoided delving too deep into Hindustani music, lest it influence my own rendition of Carnatic ragas. Luckily the last four months I’ve taken a different trajectory listening, even immersing myself into a variety of Indian music genres across languages and regions.
RaagTime, my show on Indian music that launched recently on Columbus community radio, airing on Sunday afternoons, is the primary reason for this major change. When my friend Shoba Narayan and I launched HumRaag last year, was when I listened to (and began appreciating) Indian film music. Now with RaagTime, which intends to introduce Indian music to a wider audience, including one that may never have heard any Indian music I’ve had to explore the facets behind many an Indian music genre — from classical to bhajan to Bollywood and more.
Every episode of RaagTime begins with a peppy movie song and revolves around a theme. The introductory episode of RaagTime begins with the song Jai Ho from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. This A.R.Rahman number went on to win an Academy award that year.
In one episode we hear the sounds of musical instruments played in Hindustani and Carnatic music concerts while another episode taps into folk songs from different regions. A couple of episodes takes us on a tour of India while we listen to movie songs from every state and learn about local cuisines and history. For example a Rajasthani movie song is preceded by references to deserts, royal palaces and dhaal baati churma.
Do join me in this journey as we discover the fascinating musical heritage of India. Once the episodes are broadcast, they can heard as a podcast at the following link WCRS-RaagTime.