Thankfully, the world has gotten smaller for musicians. This has allowed me to not only perform classical music from around the world, but also to be paired up with musicians from a variety of styles. One instance of this was a few months ago when I got together with sitarist/violinist Rachel Golub and tabla player Dave Sharma for a concert in New York.
Since there is no repertoire for classical guitar and sitar, we were charged with the fun task of making our own. This led to some cool moments of fusion and original compositions, but as a performer, one always remembers the concert moments when things are just “happening.” Well, this concert had one musical moment in particular that I’d like to share with you.
Through the process of preparing for this concert I learned of something called a “Jhala.” Basically, after the raga has been established in the Alap and the ensemble is in full force on the theme in the Gat (Drut), the piece concludes w/ a Jhala by getting faster and switching to a sort of sitar strumming pattern that builds to a climax, and this is awesome. I think part of the reason that I enjoyed it so much was that there was a musical conversation taking place between the three of us that wasn’t rehearsed. And when you don’t know your exact way to the finish line, reaching it and seeing that all your teammates are there (and alive) is all the more satisfying! -Thomas
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