Sunday, April 30, 2006

Jagjit in Concert - I

(My e-mail from a year back)

In April I went to Jagjit Singh's concert over here in Jersey. It was great to hear the maestro himself. He was pretty witty and got the audience involved. Some grouses as usual - people are so stupid that they kept coming in even 30 min after the concert started, damn irritating, we Indians seem to be stuck with the tag of late-comers. Jaggi did not sing any of the Ghalib/Gulzar ones, maybe it was because that he thought that people are stupid (which I won't blame him for thinking) and would not grasp all that "deep" stuff. So he stuck to his usual 'poppy' ones. Then in the end due to the large overwhelming 'Punjabi' pressure, he ended the concert with a medley of the same songs, with people would you believe it dancing in front of the stage.... in America! Infact the security guard (non-Indian) tried to stop it initially but gave up after ummm 100 people got crazy and started the ghazal version of 'headbanging'!

But in all it was a great experience, and one thing off my list of "Things to do before I conk off".

Here is the complete list in exact chronological order:

Hoshwalon ko khabar kya
Woh dil hi kya jo tere milne ke
Mein nashe mein hoon
Baat niklegi to door talak jaayegi
Kaagaz ki kashti
Koi fariyaad
Huzoor se ehteram
Chand bhi dekha
Kal Chaudvin ki raat thi
Tera chehra


Sarakte jaaye rukh se
'Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye'
Tum ko dekha to yeh khayal aaya
'Ek pyaar ka naghma hai'
Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho
Pardes mein dard ko dard
'Chithi na koi sandes'
Punjabi songs...
Jagjit in Concert - II

On Apr 22nd, I went to a Jagjit Singh concert here in New Jersey. This was the second year in a row that Jagjit was on a N.A. tour and even though I went to his concert last year, a chance to go again was simply irresistible. So here is my brief update about the same.

Well as usual the concert started late, with the friggin’ desi junta coming in their sweet time. I swear the next time I am going to turn up 30 min late, rather than 30 min early.

There seemed to be more musicians with Jagjit this time, numbering eight in all. There was one on the guitar, and another on a flute/clarinet as well. As a consequence there was one thing that I found to be bad, and one that was good. The bad part was that at times the Ghazal itself was being drowned out by the accompanied music. The best Ghazals have minimal music, maybe just to fill a pause or, to give some sort of slow rhythm to the Ghazal; think Ghalib or, even Marasim. For example, for “Hazaaron khwahishen”, extra music did not make it as enjoyable as it would otherwise have been if kept in the original format. So overall the excess music was not such a good distraction. But the good part was that there were frequent jugalbandi between the musicians. Like the one on the tabla jazzing with the one on the flute/clarinet. At another time the tabalchi was doing the same with the percussionist. And once there were three doing it together. So that was pretty cool. Though in all honesty I was there for the Ghazals – music did not and probably should not have mattered.

Anyways, let us get onto the actual Ghazals. We were pleasantly surprised at some choices this time. Compared to last time (see year-old e-mail below), this time there were less of what I like to call, the poppy-Ghazals, and more of the “old vintage stuff”. When Jagjit started with “Hazaaron khwahishen”, our evening was made right there. Interstingly, that was the only Ghazal in which Jagjit was explaining the words/meaning while singing it. Hail Ghalib! Then “Tere khusboon” was another good choice. He also sang a Ghazal he said that he had composed almost 40 years back, when he was in college; this was “Rukh se parda utha de”. Of course, Jagjit had to take care of the majority of the (inane) audience, and sing the poppy ones like the one from “Sarfarosh” and “Tum Bin”, but overall we did not mind it as much as last time.

The first half went on for an hour and a half, followed by a break. After which, Jagjit basically repeated the Ghazals [and some “geets” x-(] from last year. Another good Ghazal post-interval was, “Na koi dost hai”.

Overall the concert was great, cannot complain much – Ghazals rock (that seems like a cheesy contradiction!), and Jagjit rules. But somehow, I felt that since the thrill of the “first time” experience was missing, it was not as exciting and fulfilling by the end as last year – felt kind of deflated by the end. Well can’t complain that much… kyunki Ghaliban hamesha yahi hota hai ke, “…hazaaron khawahishen aise…”

PS: No Punjabi songs this time prevented the end dissipating into a ruckus – yippee!

Kaun kehta hai ke mohabbat ke zabaan hoti hai, Yeh dastaan to aankhon se bayaan hoti hai
Rukh se parda utha de aye saakia, Abhi rang-e-mehfil badal jaayega
Hazaaron khwahishen aise ke har khwahish pe dum nikle
Kabhi yun bhi to ho… Aur tum aaon
Tere aane ke jab khabar mehaki, Tere khushoo se saara ghar mehake
Tum se yeh jahaan hai
Kaagaz ki kashti
Koi fariyaad
Jhoom ke jab rind one pilaayi


Hum to hai pardes mein, Des mein nikla hoga chand
Hoshwalon ko khabar kya bekhudi kya cheez hai
Tere khusboo mein base khat mein jalata kaise
Na koi dost hai na raqeeb hai, Tera shaher kitna ajeeb hai
'Chithi na koi sandes'
Sarakte jaaye rukh se naqaab ahistaan
Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho
'Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye'
Tum ko dekha to yeh khayal aaya
‘Hoonthon se choolo tum’