Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Unsung Heroine - Chitra (Jagjit) Singh!

Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh, the famous ghazal singers!

 I did a post on Jagjit Singh's ghazals long back.  Our whole family is a great fan of Jagjit and Chitra Singh.  The post is here.  His wife Chitra Singh also is a great ghazal singer.  We have heard her solo songs and songs she sang with her husband too. But mostly people talk about Jagjit Singh and I haven't heard anyone mentioning Chitra Singh's name! I and my son love her voice.

She is born a Bengali and married Jagjit Singh and both of them started giving concerts.  Normally, ghazal singing was conducted in elite homes in those days (Mehfil). Slowly some singers like Mehdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali started giving concerts in public places.  And Jagjit modernised the ghazal singing by using unique instruments like guitar, santoor etc. So, he and his wife, became very popular.  Their songs were easy to follow and we could sing along too! He was particular about the lyrics being clear and simple, but with sincere emotions. He was interacting with the audience who were thrilled to get involved in the concerts.

Now, let me come back to Chitra Singh.  She is not a trained singer.  She developed singing just by hearing good music.  She met Jagjit and married him in 1969.  I am not going to write about her personal life.  I am an admirer of her and her husband's singing.  We will stick to it.

In the beginning, they were singing in jingles.  Later on, both of them started singing ghazals and their audio CD's became a hit.  They reached the homes of ordinary people who were used to hearing just film songs.  Our family includes in that category.  I have told you in Jagjit Singh's post itself how we started listening to ghazals.  His simple ghazals hooked us to hearing mostly his CD's plus some more, like Hariharan's.  We were fans of Latha and Asha and other singers' voices until then.  After we got used to hearing Chitra's voice, we started liking her's too.  My son used to say that we have to keep on hearing  and 'develop' liking to good music!  Their ghazal concerts became famous gradually.  I have never heard of them performing here, in Chennai.  Jagjit gave concerts alone later in his life but his voice was a bit shaky by then and my son wanted to keep his good voice in memory always.  So, we didn't attend his concert here.  It would have been nice if we had the opportunity to hear them live.  But we developed the liking for ghazals  very late!

She has got some good film songs to her credit and many ghazals which are memorable.  Let me give them here. Her voice is unique.

1. Tum aao to sahi...we can keep on hearing this:

2. Tuu nahin toh...tranquility:

3. Har soo dikhai dete...just admire her voice!

4. Aisa lagta hai...zindagi tum ho....lovely song!

5. Woh nahin miltaa mujhe...

6. Ishq mein...Chitra is singing...Jagjit Singh starts the concert with some humour.  This nature of his, has made the pair very famous.  They interact with the audience and so the concert is always lively! I have got this CD at home! This is one of my favourites!

7. A Punjabi song...typical concert atmosphere.  Jagjit is a Punjabi and Chitra is a Bengali, but she sings this Punjabi song, beautifully! This song is in the CD I have with me.  If you had asked me to hear a Punjabi song, just like that, I wouldn't have listened to it.  But when I am made to hear with other ghazals, I just let it play and slowly I started liking it! I have noticed in music reality shows also, when we hear Punjabi songs, we notice that have a kind of 'josh' in them which makes people dance! This is one of that type of song. I sing along this also without knowing the meaning and mostly the words might be wrongly pronounced too, I know! But this is good!

When other people sing Ghulaam Ali's or Hariharan's ghazals, we immediately recognise and say that this is Ghulam Ali's ghazal or Hariharan's ghazal.  The aalaap or sargam varies from each other's singing. Same thing happens with AR Rahmaan's songs or RD Burman's songs or SD Burman's song.  We recognise them with some musical notes or instruments or something.  Like that way, we recognise Jagjit Singh, Chitra Singh's songs also.  In some way, they sound similar to their previous songs...some thread is there in every song! Maybe, this is called 'Gharana'!

Whenever I played Jagjit and Chitra's CD, I used to think that Chitra is not recognised properly.  I like many of her songs.  I have compiled the songs I got in 'You tube'.  Some of my favourites were not available.  Now, watch the concert! Both of them look very young here and their voice at their best.  I am not very familiar with this song, though! Should keep on hearing it and then we will like it happens with AR Rahmaan's song!


I love Chitra Singh's 'Safar mein dhoop toh hogi' a lot.  You can hear that in my earlier post on Jagjit Singh here.

Which song do you like of Chitra Singh?

Picture Courtesy: Thank you!

EDITED TO ADD ON 28TH MARCH '13:  Rahul Aggarwal said in the comment section that Jagjit and Chitra Singh's Punjabi Thappe songs are very famous.  I don't have it in my CD collection, so I am not very familiar with it.   But I heard it now and it is interesting, though I don't know Punjabi! Have a look at the song.  Both the singers are very young and it is a live concert in London:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday!




Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Interesting Trip To Rameshwaram And Dhanushkodi - II

This is the second part of our trip to Rameshwaram. You can read the first part
here. The story continues...

 As I told you earlier, we went by jeep for 24 km.  14 Km were on tar road and then we reached the Dhanushkodi beach.  The jeep went on the beach sand for 10 Kms.!  Let me write about the passage at the end of this post.

This is the area where we did the concluding part of the Tila homa!  We didn't go the to tip which is visible from here, since we were told the waves would be too high.  It would have been a bit scary standing at the tip of the land, surrounded by ocean and sea on all sides except for a strip of the land at one side! The wind was strong too!

This area was lonely when we reached the place.  Later a jeep full of people came here...tourists.  The junior purohit did some pooja via my husband to the ancestors here and then carrying the tray  with the ancestors' images in steel plates (it is presumed that these images are our ancestors), along with the til etc. both of us were asked to go a little deeper into the sea.  There, holding the tray on his head, my husband was asked to throw  the contents into the sea from the back of his head.  It is said that if we do this here, our ancestors who are roaming between heaven and earth will reach heaven instantly.  We can do this 'tila homa' only once in a lifetime.  Once the ancestors are sent to the heaven, doing this homa again is a waste, the purohit said.  Then we were asked to take three dips in the sea.  My husband is always scared of water.  He never enters water even in Marina beach which is quite shallow!  Unlike the Rameshwaram sea shore, here, the waves were quite high.  So, it was a bit scary, esp. for my husband.  My brother in law and the junior purohit helped him...I was also holding him(!).  I was giggling when we were falling down and he was so furious.  It was very difficult to stand up and wade back to the shore! I started walking on my knees and again my husband was furious! He was also laughing loudly after sitting safely in the jeep on our way back to the town! He was really scared in the water. The junior priest poured the water in the brass pot which was kept in the pooja (kudam), on our heads  after coming out of the sea and the homa was complete!

Now, to a brief history of Dhanushkodi! This place is situated at the tip of the island of Rameshwaram.  Dhanush means 'Bow' and Kodi means 'end/tip'.  Rama after coming back from Sri Lanka, after the war with Ravana, broke the bridge in this area, which connected this place with Sri Lanka.  This bridge was used by  his sena to reach Sri Lanka. It is called Rama Sethu now. Sethu means, bridge. The whole of Rameshwaram is  connected with the Hindu mythology, Ramayana.  Sri Lanka is just some 31 Km from this place.  The tip joins the Bay of Bengal and the Indian ocean. You can read more about this place here.

It is said that the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram is not complete without visiting this place and doing 'tharpanam' here, for the ancestors.  We can see both sunrise and sunset from this tip of the island.  We didn't touch the tip on that day.  Husband was very tired.  I got one clear picture from google  which is shown below:

Sunrise at Dhanushkodi.  Literally 'end of the road'!

My husband's aunt, who is in her 80's now, said that their family had visited Rameshwaram, nearly 50 years back.  They got down at the Dhanushkodi railway station and went to Rameshwaram temple, by bullock cart, it seems.  This station got devastated in the 1964 cyclone.  This area was a famous tourist/pilgrimage centre in those days.  A Ram temple (Sethu Maadhava Perumal) went under the sea.  A train full of passengers got drowned here, during the cyclone. Nearly 1800 people were killed. Wikipedia says:

Dhanushkodi in those days had a railway station, a small railway hospital, a higher secondary school, a post office, customs and port offices etc. It was here in this island in January 1897, Swami Vivekananda after his triumphant visit to the west to attend parliament of religions held in the USA in September 1893, set his foot on Indian soil from Columbo.

Some remnants of the town are still there, but the whole area looks deserted.  Our jeep went on the old track marks, very close to the sea water, sometimes into the water.  The driver was not diverting from the track marks.  There had been a tar road earlier and so the jeep didn't sink deep into the sand.   We saw some huts  and a small church also.  Mostly fishermen live here.  We saw some children with plastic - blue, red crosses hanging in their necks.  I clicked some pictures on my way back from the jeep.  The road was horrible.  The driver was just 19 years old.  He does 3 trips max. a day, it seems.  He had finished an ITI course, but his parents didn't allow him to go out of the town for work! We paid him Rs. 1000/-.  The purohit had arranged for this trip.  It is really cheap. Now, to more pictures of Dhanushkodi!

We saw some jeeps (mostly) with passengers, on our way back to the town!

The road goes into the water in this area! My sis in law was scared! Husband didn't show his fear, though!

Here, the jeep is out of water, but still very close to the sea!

Look at the vegetation in the salty sand.  I saw some flowers too!

I noticed some horse also, here.  Might be for tourists!

Notice the small white church on the right side corner!

As I told you earlier, the jeeps go on the same tracks.  If one jeep is coming from the opposite side, this jeep waits and the other one crosses very closeby!

Noticed some birds too!

Are these flowers or cactus? Click on the pictures for a clear view please!

This place looks unreal! But I saw this soft sand and sea! The picture was taken from the jeep, by which we were going back to town!

The 'shops' started! It is clearly visible that the fishermen folks are very poor, here! The area is full of Sri Lankan refugees too!

Watch tower? The place looked deserted in the afternoon sun...around 1 pm

Typical sea-shore shops, selling sea-shell artefacts!

The warning board asks people not to take bath here...many people have died while doing it!

The usual Indian picture...plastic bags everywhere!

This is a new trend in Tamilnadu! People display their wedding in posters with their favourite actor or saint(!) on main roads! I saw more than 10 posters like this!

They call this town a 'ghost town'.  For us it was a town full of poor fishermen.  But they say that this is a rich fishing belt in India.

I would have liked to see the ruins of the town, but all of us were tired this time.  There might not be another time.  We came back to the hotel, took some rest.  Went to the ancient temple once again and left for the train at night.  Next part will be about the Pamban Bridge.  I might write about the 4-5 temples we visited, which were full of Ramayana stories later! All were ancient temples, which was the attraction here!

I am tempting my son to visit this place for the thrilling experience of watching the ocean and sea meeting point!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ohm Sivoham...Sanskrit Song! Music By The Famous Ilayaraja!

'Ohm Sivoham'...I heard this song by the great music director Ilayaraja for the famous director Bala's film, 'Naan Kadavul' in my blogfriend, Destination Infinity's post,  for the first time.  Playback singer, Vijay Prakash has sung the song.  Today I was watching in Vijay TV,  a concert by Ilayaraja which was held in North America.  The whole song is in Sanskrit and starts with  Rudra Mantra. I had goose bumps while hearing the song.  Playback singer Karthik was singing on the stage here with live full orchestra.  Vijay TV's transmission was very clear.  I wanted to post this song from the concert,  for the orchestra! No, it is not available. The song is based on raaga Purvi/Panthuvaraali. Hear this song without the film's distraction.  

Vijay Prakash is singing the same song with some classical touch here.  We can see his knowledge of classical music very well here.  I have heard him singing ghazals also in some TV channel.  He has got a booming voice unlike many playback singers of current times, after our Kishore and Abhijeet.  He has sung many Hindi film songs too.

Now, to the filmi version.  This movie was a hit movie.  The hero was a muslim and became famous through this movie, thanks to Bala's direction.

I heard this in the morning in the TV.  The orchestra was very good.  Now, I must have heard 4-5 times today.  I am not bored of the song at all.  Hope you too will like it.

This is a sanskrit song! 

EDITED TO ADD ON 17TH MARCH, '13: At last I got the video I was looking for and I got it today! Ilayaraja is singing a song first and then the 'sivoham' song is here.  The live concert is too good:

The lyrics:

Hara hara hara hara hara hara hara hara Mahadev…

Om Sivoham.. Om Sivoham.. Rudra naamam bajeham..
Veera bhadraya agni nethraya ghora samhaaraka..
Sakala lokaaya sarva bhoothaya Sathya saakshatkara..

(chorus)Sambo sambo Sankara..

Om Sivoham.. Om Sivoham.. Rudra naamam bhajeham..

(Chorus) Hara hara hara hara hara hara hara hara Mahadev…

‘Namah somaya cha Rudraya cha
Namah stamraya charunaya cha
Namah shangaya cha pashupataye cha
Namah ugraya cha bhimaya cha
Namo Agrevadhaya cha dure vadhaya cha
Namo hantre cha haniyase cha
Namo vrukshebhyo harikeshebhyo
Namah staraya Namash shambhave cha
Mayo bhave cha Namah shankaraya cha
Mayaskaraya cha
Namah Shivaya cha shivataraya cha’

Anda brammanda koti.. Akhila paripaalana..
Poorana jagat kaarana sathya deva deva Priya..
Vedha vedhartha saara.. yagna yagnomaya..
Nishchala dushta nigragha.. sapta loka samrakshana..
Soma soorya agni lochana..Swetha rishaba vaahana..
Soola pani bujanga bhooshana.. tripura naasha narthana..
Yoma kesa mahaasena janaka..pancha vaktra parasu hastha namaha..

Om Sivoham.. Om Sivoham.. Rudra naamam bajeham..

Kaala trikaala nethra trinethra soola trisoola dhaatram..
Sathya prabaava divya prakaasha manthra swaroopa mathram..
Nishprapanchaadhi nishkalankoham nija poorna bodha ham ham..
Gathya Gathmaagam Nithya Bramhogam Swapna Kasogam Hum Hum

Sachit Pramanam Om Om Moola Pramegyam Om Om
Ayam Bramhasmi Om Om Aham Bramhasmi Om Om

Gana Gana Gana Gana Gana Gana Gana Gana
Sahasra Kanta Sapta Viharaki

Dama Dama Dama Dama Duma Duma Duma Duma
Siva Damarugha Nadha Viharaki

Om Sivoham.. Om Sivoham.. Rudra naamam bajeham..

Veera bhadraya agni nethraya ghora samhaaraka..
Sakala lokaaya sarva bhoothaya Sathya saakshatkara..

(chorus)Sambo sambo Sankara..

Hope the shloka is correct.  'Aham Bhrahmaasmi' means, I am Tamil, 'Naan Kadavul' means I am god, is the name of the movie.  By the way, I have not seen the movie, yet!

I must do a post on the great Ilayaraja one day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday!


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