The year 2020 holds as many meanings as the unique ways in which each of us experienced life in a changed world. For some of us, it entailed calling a strange land home for months; for others, it meant being home for months for the first time. Some settled into a new work-work out-cook routine while others longed to return to work. What seemed like a gift of time to most, gradually metamorphosed into insatiable ennui for many.
The year brought its own set of challenges for the NCPA, never having been closed for performances in its 50-year history. The initial setback gave way to collective vigour channelled into augmenting our digital presence and making concerts from our archives available to members, patrons and, as we were to pleasantly learn later, new audiences from around the world. This does not take away from the deafening silence of the stage and seeing it come alive with music, dance and drama is how we plan to usher in 2021.
The lockdown yielded another revelation — before Dan Brown went on to become the bestselling writer he is today, he studied classical music to forge a career in it. He brought his two loves together in a recently released book about which he spoke to the On Stage in an interview.
Closer home, along with Bengal, Punjab was an unfortunate sufferer of cultural partition, an outcome of what transpired in 1947. The percussive traditions of the Punjab gharana, therefore, remain shrouded in misconception. Jasdeep Singh, one of the few exponents of the jori and actively involved in archiving repertoire of the pakhawaj, jori and tabla across India and Pakistan, sheds light on the gharana’s trajectory in this issue.
For those readers who couldn’t bring themselves to peruse an entire magazine on their phone or computer, we have been republishing articles that appeared in our digital issues. Hope you are savouring them in the physical edition, one word at a time.
In this article I aim to shed light on the elusive Punjab Gharānā, which has been shrouded by misconception, due to the separation of Punjab into India and Pakistan, whilst highlighting the historical development of the jorī and tabla in the region. In particular I focus on the contributions of the Baksh lineage, rababis and Sikh ragis pre-partition.