Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pots of 29 July 15 by Prof Linda Hess

A Post by Prof Linda Hess , Head, South Asian Languages and Culture, Stanford University , Stanford, USA. aftr the sad demise of Vasundhara tai Komkali

Today with the rest of the world, I receive sad news of the passing of revered classical singer Padmashri Vasundhara Komkali, fondly known as Tai, head of a stupendous musical family in Dewas, wife of legendary Kumar Gandharva, mother and teacher of singer Kalapini Komkali, grandmother and great grandmother to singer Bhuvanesh, his wife Uttara and their son Alakh. Many others are posting pictures of her. I post this word-picture, from the book that the family helped me to produce, about Kumar Gandharva and Kabir. I asked her to speak about the nirgun voice, the voice of "no-quality" or shunyata, emptiness, that Kumarji had said was the way to sing Kabir. She replied (as translated from Hindi), "How can I say anything? I can only show you by singing. It has to do with how you throw the voice [phenkna]. That is nirgun. It's not classical. Sagun [with qualities] is also very different. In sagun there's a picture, a person. However you think about God, it appears that way in sagun. In nirgun here's no picture, no form. It's without outline, without substance. . . It's all in the way of throwing that sound." I asked how one should practice to produce that sound; she laughed, along with Kalapini and Bhuvanesh. "That is very difficult," she went on. "It is difficult not only for ordinary people but for singers like us. I try to experience that nirgun. I try. I haven't reached the high level that Kumarji reached. That phenk [way of 'throwing']. I try." Arvind SardanaSandip NaikAmbuj SoniUtkarsha Soni, Ajay, Purushottam Agrawal,Suman KeshariTara Kini, Rajiv Nema, Karla Nema

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