Ragas and Devotional SongsKakoli always starts her concerts with a salutation or vandana. This time, it is a joyful evening raga – Rāga Bhupali, salutation to Shiva. A rāga is a composition which aims at pleasing the ear as it delights and touches the innermost regions of both the audience and the performer.
We shall hear evening ragas (bhupali, yaman), late night raga (mālkauns), romantic raga (bhageswari), and morning raga (vhairabi). Among other songs, Kakoli will sing a holi, the celebration of the famous Spring Festival. This particular day is a very special event and it is celebrated all over India. Even Krishna, the God of Love, is said to have danced with his gopies at this party. It is also a festival of colours, since the tradition goes that everybody decorates one another with colours. Friends do that to friends and strangers to strangers.
Presenting ragas in solo is very demanding. It takes excellent vocal skills to develop long improvisations all alone, without tablas, violin, flute or other instruments that usually share the melodies. Kakoli accompanies her beautiful voice with harmonium.
After that the singer takes a break and gives the floor to the poet. The poetess Doris Kareva recites poetry written over 500 years ago by the XV-century North-Indian saint Kabir.
The rest of the concert is dedicated to bhajans or devotional songs. In addition to the texts of Kabir, Kakoli sings poems written by Meera, the legendary 16th century Indian queen, and Tagore. The latter is widely known as a Nobel prize winning writer. Many do not know, though, that this noble man was also a prolific composer, much influenced by mystic musicians or gauls and sufis.