By: Falu & Karyshma
Yara is a song from the golden age of classical Indian Cinema where music was the reason people went to see the movies.
The song depicts the pain of loneliness, and the beauty of it all in spite of that pain. This idea of seeing a deeper harmony between pain and joy, between darkness and hope, is also a theme across the album. The lotus grows only in the mud.
The song's underlying melodic theme comes from Rajasthan, a western state of India, known for its deserts, gypsies, and wandering caravans. To reimagine it, we added rare drums from India called Duff and Nagada. The rhythm structure is also unmistakably from that state. The bamboo flute evokes the mood of a small nomadic tribe resting in the desert on a full moon night.
Yara Lyrics Interpretation:
My friend this endless night of separation, burns gently, slowly
Can this be called living? Or am I just dying slowly?
I try to mend my slit wrists with these broken bangles
Who knows what I’ve left behind in the deserted backstreets of my past
Why do I keep arriving at the same crossroads I know I had already crossed?
Bhooli is a ghazal-- a poetic tradition that originated in Arabic regions in the 7th century and spread through South Asia in the 12th century as Sufi mystics influenced that region. Ghazals can be interpreted both in a romantic and spiritual context simultaneously, with the Beloved being a metaphor for the lover and for God or spiritual master. Ghazal finds no difference between the earthly and the divine.
A Ghazal is typically sung in an unplugged and intimate musical gathering called a Mehfil. The interludes and the end of a Ghazal in many cases includes fast and intricate solos by either a Tabla player or a Harmonium player.
Bhooli Lyrics Interpretation:
A handful of dreams long forsaken, a handful of desires long forgotten, revisited me today
They brought along the elapsed memories of you and of the era when you were with me
The cool breeze gently passes me by, only to leave me with the scorching agony of our separation
The new season arrives, fresh hopeful flowers bloom on aged trees, reminding anew our old struggles
Bheegi represents one of India's old folk music traditions known as Kajri, a form often used to describe the longing of a maiden for her lover as the black monsoon clouds hijack the summer skies.
As the thunder roars, she longs for the warm embrace of her beloved. These songs, aching with their soft sensuality, are hummed in the villages and towns of India by young women during the rainy season.
Bheegi Lyrics Interpretation:
I am soaking wet! Come rescue me from this rain oh my love.
These rain-bearing clouds ignite in my body a feeling I’ve never felt before.
My blouse is getting drenched and I’m embarrassed... all other women staring at me.
I plead you my love, tuck me away, somewhere where we can be alone.
Nadi is a folk song in a musical tradition called Thumri. That form of music is connected with dance, eroticism and evocative love. The tradition goes back to at least the 15th century, when poetry in rural dialects and folk rhythms accompanied folk dancers. These songs have survived for generations because the courtesans kept singing them and handing them down to the next generation.
Nadi, in particular, is a song with a slow-paced, relaxed lilt. It’s about a woman swinging on a swing by the riverside, with each swing reminding her of her beloved. The song borrows its lilting swing from a folk rhythm cycle of 14 beats. An ancient Indian drum called Pakhavaj makes an appearance here along with a hand-bell called Manjira and a South Indian bells called Salangai. Like a Ghazal, the traditional Thumri form also expects more intricate work from the Tabla player.
Nadi Lyrics Interpretation:
I’m standing on a swing at the side of the river, moving up, moving down
The monsoon rain is heavy, and passes quickly - and you are not here
I call your name, it is etched into my heart
I write your name in the sand, and read it over and over as the swing moves me up, and down
Barjori is a classical composition based on a set and sequence of notes called raga Bhairavi. This Indian classical raga employs the same note structure of one of the traditional European church modes. It is a two-part song that juxtaposes life’s highs and lows. The light and the dark. It starts with an intense and youthful explosion of infatuation and flirtation, ending with a somber recognition of the transient nature of life. The song connects the pleasures of our youth with the pathos of old age.
The song’s first part is a give and take between a boy and a girl, interspersed with recitation and the playing of traditional tabla compositions handed down from one generation to the next.
The rhythm section also includes many Indian drums from various corners of India, with Tabla, Thavil, Mridangam, Dholak, Ghatam and many others making their appearance. The North Indian string instrument Sarangi also adds to the mood in the second half.
The second part of the song strips off all the rich texture one step at a time to leave us with a feeling of impermanence of all things.
Barjori Lyrics Interpretation:
Why won’t you stop teasing me and distracting me when I have to do my daily chores?
I can’t even manage to carry a pot of water from the river to my house without having a sweet fight with you!
Letting go is heartbreaking… but, the time has come and I have to pack my bags… It is time to depart.