On Wednesday October 2, 2019 the Raag Shaam series for the semester began with a session on Thaath Behro’n. The series was started by the Gurmani Centre in Fall 2018 in order to introduce the LUMS audience to classical music and its continuing influence on our musical sensibilities. The sessions are led by Imran Jafri, and will be moderated by professors Aamna Khalid and Moeen Nizami this semester.
The first session centered around the discussion and demonstration of Thaath Behro’n. Ustad Imran Jafri began by explaining the relationship between a thaath and a raag, and went on to talk about each raag contained in Thaath Behro’n. He also elaborated on its association with contemplation, and with the morning. "Behro'n is an early morning raag with a deeply contemplative and introspective mood. It can be considered a metaphor for deep self reflection in the morning hours," he said. "It invites you to pay attention to the real purpose of your life." He then touched upon its association with Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology.
Accompanying Imran Jafri was tabla nawaz, Nomi John. They demonstrated the different raags in the family of Thaath Behro’n including Behro’n, Kalingra, Jogia, and Gunkali. Along with its classical forms, they also demonstrated each raag with examples from contemporary compositions.
Throughout the discussion, Imran Jafri recounted anecdotes about people and places he had gathered his musical knowledge from. He placed special emphasis on the way knowledge is passed down in musical families. Before performing raag kalingra, he recounted a story about a fakīr who played the raag for him when he was a student living in the hostel of GC college Lahore. “He told me to keep it safe,” Jafri said, “and I am performing it only now for the first time in this mehfil.”
Ustad Imran Jafri’s melodious voice, coupled with his poignant commentary on music and life, put the audience in a contemplative mood. Moeen Nizami succinctly summed this up by saying “If one were to write down his words, it would become a free verse poem.”
The next session of Raag Shaam, Shaam-e-Kāfi, will be held on October 23, 2019.