Today’s lesson

I was fortunate to have a lesson today with the great Abhijit Banerjee. We are restarting lessons after several weeks break due in part to his being in LA for a few months and also due to an ongoing hand injury I had been contending with. 

In our last lesson he had given me a Paran that he had learned from his guru, the great Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh. We were discussing the origin of Parans, they are mostly derived from Pakhawaj material. I have always liked Parans. There is a certain lilt, asymmetry and drama in them that I find enjoyable. Following this brief discussion into the origin of Parans, Panditji had given me a Paran to learn. The first line was:

Dha ~ KraDhan DhaDha | KraDhan DhaGhirNagaTigaNaga

(Out of respect for my gurus, I will generally not be posting the full compositions that I learn on this blog. To learn that I would ask that you seek this instruction from the gurus themselves)

The Paran was not too difficult at first glance, but took me quite a while to commit to memory, the second and third line in particular had some intricate bol patterns that took a lot of repetition to get right. So, we went through that Paran and guruji was satisfied that I had learned it correctly. Following that, he took the lesson in an unusual direction: Laggis. 

Laggis are short phrases normally associated with light music or bhajans. Repetitive and somewhat “funky” sounding. I would compare them to a “riff” in a rock guitar context, a small musical phrase repeated over and over again for rhythmic effect. Panditji asked if I knew any Laggis – I don’t know many. He said we should go through a few as they are useful phrases that one should have in one’s repertoire. They are also good practice phrases. So we did to through a few, in Keherwa (8 beat) taal. I have enjoyed playing them. I have found that good tabla players do use Laggis to good effect even in a classical context, they can often be interjected to liven things up a bit, and they are also useful to know if one ever needs to play something in a light music context. 

Over and out for today. 

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