Dagar Brothers • Darbari Kanada
Khansahib Nasir Mohinuddin Dagar,
Khansahib Nasir Aminuddin Dagar
Gramophone Co. Odeon - MOAE 135 - P.1965
(also EMI India - EALP 1291 - P.1965)
A1 Darbari Kanada - alap 18'55
B1 Darbari Kanada - dhamar 8'25
B2 Adana - dhrupad 9'33
Finally I get to post this LP by two wonderful singers that could have been enough reason for this whole blog (I am exaggerating just a little bit...) and as I have two copies of different pressings and catalogue numbers I will post both of them. Both of them have merits and shortcomings and the EALP 1291 that I think overall is the best copy, has a flaw in the beginning minute of side one. A "rotation counter" as we used to say, that gives a mild but annoying thud for each rotation, it does however go away rather quickly. There is no such thing on the MOAE 135, but I think there is a bit more surface noice on that one. But since you can have both, you can judge for yourself!
I have yet to hear a perfect copy of this LP if such a thing exists, but suffice it to say, these copies look perfect and have very little wear and are to my ear decent enough but as most vinyl goes, the sound is always a little flawed. OK, OK, Don't get all jittery now! I said most vinyl! I do have a few, a very few if I may add, that are of extremely good quality but that does not make it a norm.
There is unfortunately not many recordings on LP by the Senior Brothers and apart from the Bärenreiter [BM 30L 2018] Musical Anthology of the Orient; India III, [Philips 6586003] North India Vocal Music; Dhrupad and Khyal. Their may also be an AIR Archive LP but I have not seen it!
Fortunately there are also some CD's, like the [Auvidis D 8076] North India • Dhrupad & Khyal and the three CD's [RAGA 220] Todi, 1957 & [RAGA 221] Bihag, Kamboji, Malkosh, 1955. These early recordings from Calcutta were graciously published, with some good information, by Raga Records. Not to forget the Royal Collection of Mewar on 6 CD's put out by by EMI and the privately issued "unfinished" jaijaivanti, the "registrazione senza fine", when the tape ran out for Alain Danielou. You see how every piece is so very precious that any fragment will cause a big stir among devoted aficionados. Whenever it happens, it really should be on the news! ;-)
Recently there was also this release from the All India Radio Archives (AIR) [AIRH 28] Dagar Brothers "Dhrupad" • Ragas: Gunkali & Jaijaiwanti, recordings from Mid 1960s.
But this is just a rare luck, as they are not in the habit of opening up their vaults very often and we have to look for private transcripts from radio broadcasts and recordings of private mehfils to hear any more by them!
Another discography of most of the published recordings of the Dagars and extensions
is to be found here
I will also share some that I and friends have saved over the years on cassettes and open reel, but alas that will still have to wait a while as there is so many things I want to post. I will however post the above mentioned LP's. Hope you enjoy this one (two) they have been sitting here waiting for the right moment to appear and I hope it is now!
Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar (1919-1966) and Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar (1923-2000)
Nasir Moinuddin and Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, two of the greatest Dhrupad exponents of the past century, were born in Indore in one of the most illustrious musical families that India has ever produced. Their father, Ustad Nasiruddin Khan Dagar, was the court musician of the state of Indore and was widely regarded as the foremost Dhrupad singer of his age. Nasiruddin Khan was a stern disciplinarian and Moinuddin and Aminuddin began their rigorous talim under his strict tutelage at a very tender age. Moinuddin was blessed with a phenomenal musical memory and was known to repeat as grown-up bits and pieces of music that he had listened to while sitting on the lap of his grandfather Ustad Allah Bande Khan Sahab when he was barely one year old. Aminuddin too had imbibed this extraordinary memory which was tested to the limit in the talim they received from their father as he was loath to repeat any musical phrase more than once. Nasiruddin is said to have had a premonition of his early death ten years before he actually died. Thus he was eager to impart all the musical knowledge that he had perfected to his next generation before his death. As a consequence Moinuddin and Aminuddin received in mere ten years a quality of talim that usually takes more than three decades to acquire. When Ustad Nasiruddin Khan died in 1936 Moinuddin was 17 and Aminuddin only 13. The two brothers then received their next phase of talim under the guidance of their maternal uncle Ustad Riyazuddin Khan who was himself the great-grandson of Baba Behram Khan Sahab—the man widely regarded to be the father of dagar-vani Dhrupad music as it is now practised. They also received training from Ustad Ziauddin Khan, who was a cousin to their father. Finally however, it was the inherent musical genius of Moinuddin and Aminuddin that was responsible for blending these different musical influences into a style that was unique to them. It fused in itself the best elements of the various exponents of the dagar-vani tradition to form a blissfully harmonious style of Dhrupad presentation that would mesmerize the world for the rest of the century.
It was the 1940s that saw the meteoric rise of Moinuddin and Aminuddin on the stage of Indian classical music. After the demise of Ustad Nasiruddin Khan Dagar, the rich and ancient tradition of Dhrupad had fallen into neglect and disrepute but with the rise of these two Dagar Brothers there arrived a new dawn in the sky of Dhrupad and of Indian classical music. Theirs were two voices that would forever change the course of Dhrupad and redefine the foundation of this ancient tradition. In his later years Aminuddin used to joke that back in the 1940s he and his elder brother were usually introduced as two singers who were mad enough to try and sing Dhrupad which was considered a dead form of music. But within a time-span of mere fourteen years Moinuddin and Aminuudin breathed a new life not only to Dhrupad singing but also to the tradition of ‘jugalbandi’. Previously ‘jugalbandi’ or duet singing in the field of classical music had degenerated into a competition between two singers where each tried his best to outdo the other in exhibitionism. The senior Dagar Brothers on the other hand brought back the concept of a harmonious synchronization between the two singers. In a typical performance by the senior Dagar Brothers, the honey rich voice of Aminuddin would draw the audience into a deep meditative mood by gradually descending the notes of the lower octaves and Moinuddin would dazzle the listeners with his ‘alankars’ or ornamentations in the upper octave. Each complimented the other and each of them had a deep respect for the singing ability of the other.
The two brothers, though they were attached to each other with the strongest of bonds, possessed two very different characters; whereas Aminuddin was like a ‘fakir’ or a sage whose music was a form of worshipping the divine, his elder brother had the heart of an emperor who fearlessly treaded through the realm of music and never hesitated from experimenting with Dhrupad and opening up new horizons. Best instances of such experimentation are to be found in the internationally acclaimed ballets that the two brothers composed—namely Malti Madhav, Kumar Sambhav and Shan-E-Oudh. In 23rd September 1946, they gave a memorable performance for Mahatma Gandhi at Bhangi Colony, New Delhi. Gandhiji listened to their alaap and Dhrupad in Rag Ashavari for nearly two hours and was deeply moved by their performance. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Sarojini Naidu and such other eminent personalities also joined the programme. Subsequently by the invitation of Sri Rohit Mehta, General Secretary of Theosophical Society, Varanasi, they joined the Society and formed Bhartiya Sangeet Vidyalaya, which was inaugurated by Dr. B. V. Keskar, the then union broadcasting minister.
In the 1960s began their series of international tours. After having reestablished the tradition of Dhrupad on firm grounds in the soil of India they took the mission of spreading it throughout the world. In 1961 they extensively toured through USSR and in 1964 they visited Japan. It was in Japan that the eminent musicologist and the then director of UNESCO Dr. Alain Danielou came across the Dagar Brothers and was mesmerized by their music. It was he who organized the first Europe tour of the Dagar Brothers. Moinuddin and Aminuddin created history by becoming the first ever Indian artists to perform in Berlin, Venice and Paris at the UNESCO international festivals. Aminuddin later recounted to his disciples that after they had finished performing in Berlin's Candle Hall a storm of claps and ovations rose from the audience as mighty as a huge sea breaking into waves. The European press acclaimed them as the foremost musicians of India and whereas they had went to give three performances they ended up giving thirty in a span of nine weeks. A review of their performance published in Le Monde of Paris dated 17th November 1964 perhaps best expresses the mood of the western audience: “...we will remain under the deep impression of an art of such greatness and intensity that... we feel touched and moved to the deepest of our being.”
Merely two years after this international triumph of the two Dagar brothers Moinuddin passed away on 24th May 1966. This was a great set back in Aminuddin’s life. Moinuddin had been to him not only an elder brother but also a surrogate father and a guide whom he referred through out his life as his ‘mahaguru’— that is the greatest of his gurus. Thus, with the death of Moinuddin, Aminuddin became an orphan for the second time. Even till the day of his death he could not stop his tears when singing a bandish in Rag Desi where Radha says to Krishna: "You have gone to Dwarika and it revels in your glory/But you have left me abandoned and alone." Through this bandish, Radha’s grief for being deserted by Krishna became imbued with Aminuddin’s grief at having lost his elder brother. However, in spite of the physical separation, the spiritual bond between the two brothers were so strong that in his later years Aminuddin was able to incorporate almost all the unique features of his brother’s singing in his own style and the audiences who had earlier listened to Moinuddin were often awe-struck at hearing such a close approximation of his voice in the singing of Aminuddin.
After Moinuddin’s demise, Aminuddin single handedly continued with the task of popularising Dhrupad through out the world. In 1971 Aminuddin toured Europe and USA and gave forty performances which met with great success, winning the heart of millions. In 1976 he was invited to the prestigious Shiraj Festival in Iran and then in 1978 to the Rome Festival. Each of these programmes established more strongly his claim as one of the greatest Dhrupad singers India has ever produced. In 1982 the government of India invited him to take part in the guru-shishya parampara programme with his disciples, in London.
Awards and accolades came from various quarters to Aminuddin acknowledging his enormous contribution to Dhrupad and to the field of Indian music in general. The most important among the awards were the Swami Haridas Award which was presented to him in 1979 by the then honourable vice-president of India Sri B.D. Jatti, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1985 and the Padmabhusan award, one of the highest civilian honours in India, in 1986. He was also honoured with a D. Litt degree by Rabindra Bharati university in 1991 and held the prestigious position of Producer Emiritus of All India Radio and Doordarshan between 1986-1989.
In the last year of his life Moinuddin had given his brother the permission to shift base to Kolkata where Aminuddin was invited by the famous industrialist Sri B.K. Birla to join Birla Academy Swar Sangam as its founder Principal. Kolkata with its vibrant cultural life suited Aminuddin perfectly and he made it his home for the rest of his life. It is in this city that he was able to found a Dhrupad institute that would fulfill his dreams to propagate Dhrupad among the younger generation. He named it Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar Dhrupad Sangeet Ashram in the memory of his elder brother. This institute stands today as the proud legacy bearer of Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar and Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar carrying aloft the beacon of Dhrupad music in all its resplendent glory. With the demise of Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar on 28th December 2000 an era came to an end. Though his physical body is no more here, yet his memory will live on forever through the music of Dhrupad to which he has so richly contributed.
unceremoniously snipped from the Dhrupad Sangeet Ashram here
Dagar Brothers • Nasir Mohinuddin Dagar, Nasir Aminuddin Dagar
(also known as the Senior Dagar Brothers)
Ustad Moinuddin Khan and Aminuddin Khan, sons of the late Ustad Nasiruddin Khan, the doyen of the Dhrupad style, are better known as Dagar Brothers in the music world. At a very early age they were initiated into the art by their father. After the untimely demise of the latter, their uncles took over the young boys' interrupted tutelage and groomed and shaped them as able exponents of the Dhrupad and Dhamar styles. Dhrupad and Dhamar are very difficult to master and hence their exponents are very very few. These styles demand a vigorous voice and highly imaginative but massive mode of utterance and expression. Both brothers have proved to be most eminently suited for the exposition of these styles in the traditional manner.
The Dagar Brothers enjoy an international reputation, having travelled extensively both in the West and in the East, as cultural ambassadors of India. For several years they were on the staff of the Bharateeya Kala Kendra which is run by the Sangeet Natak Akademy, Delhi to impart tuition in classical music.
Side One • Alap — Raga Darbari Kanada.
Tradition demands that before the rhythmic rendering of a Dhrupad or a Dhamar, a complete and comprehensive picture of the Raga is woven with slow and ponderous movements from note to note. This side is entirely devoted to such an elaborate exploration of Raga Darbari Kanada and both the brothers share equal honours for building up an enchanting euphonious structure within the framework of the Raga.
Raga Darbari Kanada is a night melody. It has a very sublime mood and its exposition is usually full of majesty and grandeur.
Side Two • Dhamar — Raga Darbari Kanada, Dhrupad — Raga Adana
This side opens with a Dhamar piece. Usually in a concert a Dhamar is sung after a Dhrupad. But since the composition of Dhamar is in the same Raga as is featured on Side One, i.e. Darbari Kanada, the maestros have preferred to render it as the first item on this side. The performance is confined to a rhythmic cycle of 14 beats known as 'Dhamar Tala'.
This is followed by a Dhrupad in Raga Adana. which is an immensely popular night melody. It has a lively character and the performance is mostly confined to the higher notes of the octave. The rhythm cycle of this composition consists of 12 beats. This rhythm is particularly apt for the accompaniment of a Dhrupad and hence it bears the name of Dhrupad Tala.
The rhythm accompaniment on Mridanga, an oval shaped percussion instrument, is provided by Mr. S. V. Patwardhan, a reputed master of this instrument. The entire performance is marked by melodic and rhythmic jugglery created by the most fascinating mathematical combinations employed both by the singers and the percussion player vying good-humouredly with each other and displaying their virtuosity and proficiency.
equally snipped, but from the back of the record sleeve.
Music ▼ + (MOAE 135)
Music ▼ + (EALP 1291)