Pandit Pran Nath 95th Birthday Memorial Tribute: Three Evening Concerts of Raga Darbari in the MELA Dream House

October 26, November 2 and 9, 2013, 9pm

MELA Foundation Dream House

275 Church Street, New York

Three Evening Concerts of Raga Darbari in the contemporary Kirana gharana (style) of North Indian Classical Music will be performed by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela with The Just Alap Raga Ensemble in a memorial tribute in honor of Pandit Pran Nath’s 95th birthday, Saturday Evenings, October 26, November 2 and 9, 2013, at 9 pm in the MELA Foundation Dream House light environment, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor.

La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and Jung Hee Choi, voices; with Naren Budhkar, tabla; will be accompanied by The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD. The Just Alap Raga Ensemble will perform Pandit Pran Nath’s special arrangement of “Hazrat Turkaman,” a traditional vilampit khayal composition set in Raga Darbari.

In 2009, with deep respect for Pandit Pran Nath’s arrangement of this great composition, “Hazrat Turkaman,” Young composed two-part harmony for the ‘sthayi and for the antara. As in his 2003 composition “Raga Sundara” set in Raga Yaman Kalyan, the harmony line for these compositions in Raga Darbari continues the introduction of two-part harmony into Indian classical khayal composition, reinforcing the contribution of this new element into Indian classical music. The harmony for the ‘sthayi of “Hazrat Turkaman” is dedicated to Jung Hee Choi and was composed as a present on her birthday, November 1, 2009; the harmony for the antara is dedicated to Pandit Pran Nath and was composed on his 91st birthday, November 3, 2009.

Young considers The Just Alap Raga Ensemble to be one of the most significant creations in the development of his compositional process in that it organically merges the traditions of Western and Hindustani classical musics with the knowledge of acoustical science to embody complementary forms in an encompassing evolutionary statement. Pandit Pran Nath has said, “Alap is the essence of Raga. When the drut [faster tempo] begins, the Raga is finished.” With The Just Alap Raga Ensemble, Young applies his own compositional approach to traditional raga performance, form and technique: a pranam (bow) of gratitude in reciprocation for the influence on his music since the mid-fifties of the unique, slow, unmetered, timeless alap, and for one of the most ancient and evolved vocal traditions extant today. The Ensemble features extended alap sections, sustained vocal and instrumental drones, two- and three-part harmony and counterpoint in just intonation over tamburas. Young, Zazeela and Choi premiered The Just Alap Raga Ensemble on August 22, 2002 in a memorial tribute to Ustad Hafizullah Khan, the Khalifa of the Kirana Gharana and son of Pandit Pran Nath’s teacher, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib.

The full program notes for the concert series can be found in PDF form here.

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