Saturday, November 10, 2007

Crafts Fairs/Holiday Bazaars

My yearly ritual. Check out the church holiday fairs, to see what's to be had. Went to Branford mostly, and Madison, and saw a lot of junk, but did manage to score a few inexpensive and nice things for gifts. Got myself four new placemats from Malaysia from the Fair Trade holiday fair, at the Mercy Center, then Bindiloo and I took a walk on their small beach which was so fine.

Had a dream last night about a beautiful beach and rock area, in Florida, a place that I've never seen. A dreamscape. Smooth rock outcroppings, small eddies and pools, clear water, such loveliness. An enchantment. The beach at the Mercy Center was in the most vague ways similar, but the water was cold, the rocks were jagged, and there weren't any small pools. But possibly I was having a bit of precognition, because i did not plan to go to that beach today. Perhaps it called me. Another dream had me in a shop trying on dressy sweaters, and I finally settled on a black close-fitting one, with sequins in the front. It was not expensive. Then I was in a very large carpetted room, singing or dancing I think.

I went to hear the musicians described below last week. Mudgal in addition to vocalizing to complicated rhythms used his hands in the most evocative and stunning ways, even while sitting on the ground while performing. His chanting made me feel stoned. When I walked out of the performance space, it was as if I was entering back into a harsh reality. I had been transported.

Pandit Madhup Mudgal is one of India’s best-known Indian classical vocalists. Born into a family of musicians and singers, he has trained with maestros Pandit Jasraj and Pandit Kumar Gandharva, and has developed his own unique style, maintaining a fine balance between classicism and innovation. He has experimented with various musical forms and has performed in fusion concerts with eminent Jazz musicians from Brazil, as well as composing original music for dance.

From the Vedic chants of the 1st millennia through the Persian and Sufi music of the medieval period and the folk and Bhakti traditions of the 14th to 17th centuries, Indian classical and folk music has a very strong tradition of honoring the sacred. The monophonic, melodic mode of the raga seems almost designed to explore the inner depths of the mind and emotions. In Madhup’s rendering they embody the fusion of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh music in a tradition of mututal respect. Madhup follows these syncretic traditions, singing Hindu Bhajans, Sufi Kalaams and Sikh Shabad Kirtan with equal fervor.

Madhup conducts the Gandharva Choir, a renowned music group that has given performances all over the world. He also heads the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in Delhi, a leading institution for training in music, dance and the arts of India. In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri by the Indian Government for his contributions to the field of Hindustani music.

Accompanied by Ray Spiegel (Tabla) and Stan Scott (harmonium)

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