Hindustani classical music, also known as North Indian classical music, is the music of the northern regions of the Indian Subcontinent. Its origins dates back to the 12th century during the Vedic era. The central notion of this music is a melodic musical mode or raga, sung to a rhythmic cycle or tala with emphasis on improvisation through which all aspects of a raga is explored. In medieval times, this melodic system was fused with ideas of Persian music, particularly through the influence of Sufi composers like Amir Khasru, and later in the Mughal courts, noted composers such as Tansen flourished, along with religious groups like the Vaishnavites.
Samia’s main practice in Hindustani Classical music is Khayal. Moreover, Hindustani Classical music strongly influences her practice of Nazrul Sangeet, Bhajan, Lalon compositions, Folk/traditional compositions and New Age music.
Khayal: An Arabic/Persian derivative meaning “imagination”, Khayal is one of the main genres of Hindustani classical music. It is a musical form based on a Hindi or a Sanskrit song in two parts that recur between expanding cycles of melodic and rhythmic improvisation. In a standard performance a slow (vilambit) khayal is followed by a shorter, fast (drut) khayal in the same raga (melodic framework).
The khayal is usually accompanied by a tabla (pair of drums) and a tanpura (a string accompaniment) in a variety of talas (metric cycles). Khayal is generally performed by a vocalist. The rhythm of the melodic performance is non metric, but the percussion accompaniment is cast in a tala, and the time cycle is shaped by the repeated pattern (theta) performed by the accompanist.
Sample track: Khayal, Kaise Kaatay, set to morning raga, Ahir-Bhairav ⇓
2. Nazrul Sangeet: Steeped in the influence of the Hindustani Classical Music, Nazrul Sangeet or Nazrul Geeti, refers to the songs written and composed by the early 20th c. poet and composer of Bengal, Kazi Nazrul Islam. He is among those libertarians, who vehemently fought against all oppression and all forms of bigotry – political, religious, cultural and ethnic in his creative work. As a consequence Nazrul came to be referred to as “Rebel Poet” who has left us a gift of his vast creative work – a model of spiritual unity within religious, cultural and lingual diversity – an antithesis to orthodoxy. Nazrul’s musical work draws on his native Bengali music, his Muslim heritage, his respect for all religious practices and global music, and his passion for Hindustani classical music.
Nazrul Sangeet, Anjali Laho Mor Sangeete ⇓
3, Devotional/Bhakti-themed compositions: Bhajans refer to devotional songs with religious theme or spiritual ideas, specifically among South Asian religions, in any of the languages from the Indian subcontinent. The term “bhajanam” (Sanskrit), “bhajana” refer to reverence and sharing. A genre that developed with the Bhakti Movement, it includes concepts from the scriptures, legendary epics, the teachings of saints and loving devotion to a deity.
Sample track: Bhajan, Vaishnava Janato ⇓
4. Sufi-inspired compositions: Baul songs of Lalon Shah and other mystics of Bengal who through their soulful music have searched for the ever-elusive divine powers with the belief that these reside within oneself.
5. Folk compositions: From different regions of South Asia.
6. New Age: Intersections of Hindustani music with various forms of global music.
1. Live concerts: The goal is to provide the audience a meditative listening experience of the ancient musical art of Hindustani Classical music.
2. Lecture-demonstrations – 1 -2 hours duration.
These provide opportunities for audience participation and hands-on lessons. Participants learn about the building blocks, the history, the evolution and the contemporary form of this music. They also help to cultivate listeners’ appreciation and an interest in career development in Hindustani music.
3. Workshops – Duration: Half-Day: 2-3 hours; Full-Day: 4-5 hours; Series: 2-5 days.
Audience experience: Same as “lecture-demonstrations” (see above)
4. World Music/New Age – 1 – 2 hours duration.
Audience experience – The audience learns about the linkages between Hindustani classical and other traditional music such as African and Native American, and how the combination of Hindustani classical, African and Native American music is adapted to synchronize with contemporary Western music.
1. Samia is the solo presenter for concerts and lecture-demonstrations. Workshops are interactive and participatory.
2. Accompaniment: Tabla (percussion), tanpura (string), harmonium (keyboard), synthesizer, violin, flute, acoustic guitar and more.
Samia presents for a wide range of audience. She sings in languages such as Bangla, Hindi, Sanksrit, and select South Asian dialects, always providing English interpretations of her presentations for her audiences who vary in age, cultural background and geographic locations. Samia’s travel experiences have enabled her to present in Bangladesh, India, South Africa, UK and the US. She presents for:
1. Young children and adolescents – Elementary, Middle and High School.
2. Adults – in Universities and corporate settings;
3. Adults — individuals, groups or organizations involved in creating awareness and/or fund-raising for worthy causes;
4. Adults — individuals, groups or organizations involved in creating awareness of the historical evolution of the rich multi-cultural nature of classical, traditional and folk arts currently existing in the US and beyond.
5. Audiences representing different faiths, languages, and cultures who are interested to learn about the South Asian music and culture.
6. Senior citizens.
7. Audiences who seek to experience music as a therapy. The Indian Classical music is deeply entrenched in the ancient philosophy of the connectivity to the divine power through pure sounds. This is yet another form of meditation which assists in decreasing stress and experience inner peace.
The impetus behind Samia’s willingness to present to a very diverse audience is the belief that music is a universal language that is able to cross cultural, ethnic, racial, political and lingual borders and can unify people. As a global citizen, she feels that after years of training, no matter how modest, it is important to give back.