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      Megh - Raining beauty

      Megh - Raining beauty

      Megh is an experimental North Indian classical track performed by emerging classical singer Aizaz Sohail. This bandish is composed in Raag Megh, a raag associated with the monsoon season while the word “megh” itself means ‘cloud’ and has Sanskrit origins. Along with the mood of love, romance and longing associated with this rainfall raga, this song has a psychedelic, bluesy feel accompanied by a lot of ambient sounds. While many different classical raags were explored with the singer, producer Rohail Hyatt found this one to be an interesting exploration of fusion with Western tonality.

      “This song is a five note (sur) raag; sa-re-ma-pa ni-sa and sa-ni-pa-ma-re-sa. It belongs to the kaafi thaat (family of raags) and the Megh raag is associated with rainfall. It is because of this raag that dark clouds form in the sky, making it rain. Those are the feels with which this raag has been made; the raag encapsulates you in the vision of serene rainfall atop a mountain,” explained Sohail.

      The second part of the track is a bandish in classic vilambit, an  slow tempo or laya, between 10 and 40 beats per minute. For major ragas, the vilambit portion generally takes up two-thirds or more of the performance and vocalists use a slower definition of time than instrumentalists in this raag. This is then followed by a short drut (fast tempo between 160 and 320 beats per minute) to conclude the performance. Megh has been composed on 15 beats per minute in ektaal which is the slowest fused with a 12/8 western beat pattern, and the drut part (or third part) is in jhaptaal which is in 10 beats per minute rising into a crescendo to illustrate the heavy monsoon rainfall. This is accompanied by a 16 beat cycle on the drums throughout the first two parts of the song.. Never before has Coke Studio experimented with a vilambit before in this manner; the song includes the alap (an introduction to the pattern of ascending and descending scale – defining the raga, its mood and the emphasized notes), vilambit and drut portions.

      “The words used in this bandish are from old Hindi, Sanskrit and Urdu. The bandish is, ‘garje ghaa ghan, kaare re kaare, paawas ritu aaye, dulhan man bhaaye’ meaning that there are many clouds coming together above us and with them they bring rainfall. The poet describes the serenity of the rainfall and nature by comparing it to the beauty and excitement of a new bride arriving.”

      “Garje ghaa ghan

      Thunder-clouds rumble in the sky

      kaare re kaare

      Dark, dusky clouds

      paawas ritu aaye

      The rainy season has arrived

      dulhan man bhaaye

      Like a lovely bride”

       

      “In the lyrics, the poet attempts to mimic the feelings of affection and tenderness one feels when seeing a new bride with the serenity and beauty of God-gifted rainfall.”

      Megh has producer Rohail Hyatt on the acoustic guitars and keyboards along with Serbian musician, Goran Antovic, Asad Ahmed on electric guitar; Turkish musician Volkan Öktem on the drums; Shehroze Hussain playing the sitar; Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar on bass; Nawazish Nasri on rabab; Siddhartha Maharajan (Nepal) on bells; Abier ‘Veeru’ Shan playing the percussions and Babar Khanna on Eastern percussions: the tabla and the dholak. The backing vocals have been given by Kumail Jaffery, Nimra Rafiq, Shahab Hussain and Wajiha Naqvi.

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