On October 23, 2019, The Gurmani Centre held the second Raag Shaam of the semester. The session centred around the discussion and demonstration of Thaath Kaafi. The discussion was led by Ustad Imran Jafri, and moderated by professors Aamna Khalid and Moeen Nizami.
Imran Jafri began the evening by briefly introducing the audience to the origins of Thaath Kaafi. “The composition of this Thaath was not done by any ordinary na’yak.” he said, “ The Sufi saint Bahauddin Zakariya selected the notes and frequencies that make-up Thaath Kaafi.” He then went on to talk about the Raags included in this Thaath: Bhimpalasi, Brindavani Sarang, Pilu, Megh Malhar, and Bageshree.
The first among these to be discussed was Raag Bhimpalasi. Imran Jafri, accompanied by Tabla Nawaz Nomi John, played the Punjabi song “Dholan Māndē” composed in this raag. He then went on to describe how Raag Bhimpalasi had emerged through the combination of two different forms, Bhim and Palasi. Imran Jafri also commented on the unconventionality of the Punjabi lyrics of the composition. "North Indian classical compositions traditionally featured only Hindi or Braj lyrics." he said, " The tradition of Punjabi lyrics was started by the Gwalior Family." He placed emphasis on how this infused the classical music tradition with the specific culture of Punjab, since “every language absorbs and carries the history of its place of origin with it.”
Imran Jafri then discussed and demonstrated Raag Brindavani Sarang. Elaborating on why Brindavani Sarang is considered a raag of anticipation, he said: “The state associated with Brindavani is hoping for rain while standing in the scorching sun. Listening to this raag is like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert.” He sang a ghazal by Mirza Ghalib set to a composition in Raag Brindavani Sarang, which he had composed himself.
The audience also had a chance to listen to Aamna Khalid performing a song in Raag Bhimpalasi. She sang “Zindagi Mai Tou Sabhi Pyar Kartay Hain” with Imran Jafri accompanying her on the harmonium. In response to the audience’s praise she credited Ustad Imran Jafri for having helped her learn and perform the song.
The final session of Raag Shaam for the semester will be held on November 6, 2019.