Folk Instruments, Raag Jog & Nattai, Bharati’s Cats

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Folk Musical Instruments
Folk music has been a part of all our lived experiences. Yet it is only in these last few months that I’ve begun learning about Indian folk musical instruments. Some instruments have made a transition to classical and film music. I discovered an amazing array of ones that I had never heard of—from the Alghoza to the Thonkru. These instruments are strongly intertwined with India’s regional cultural identities, as you can see in this short guide on some folk instruments which tells us how music is strongly intertwined with the cultural identity of a region.

Raag Jog and Nattai
India’s two classical music traditions, Carnatic and Hindustani, despite their distinct presentation styles have many common features. The best way to experience this commonality is to hear similar ragas ideally sung by the same musician. Sriram Parasuram a seasoned performer helps us appreciate the beautiful play of musical notes in two similar sounding ragas Nattai (Carnatic) and Jog (Hindustani).

Bharati’s Cats
Indian poets from Avvaiyaar to Kutti Revathi have a long tradition of addressing social issues. That Subramania Bharati would address social inequity should surprise no one. His Vellai Nirathoru Poonai forces us to contend with colorism and other ways we divide ourselves. You can hear Vikram Raghavan’s rendition of this thought-provoking poem here

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