Thanks to everyone who sent in this link.

Dhanashree Pandit-Rai gave a talk on Indian classical music at TEDx Mumbai recently. It is fascinating — but only if you have no idea about Hindustani classical music. I’d even go ahead and say that some of the things are just wrong. That said, the approach she takes to introduce Hindustani music to a layman is the one that works best.

In a way, her talk is exactly how I was introduced to Hindustani classical music. The aha moment occurred whenever I discovered the raga of some known song or piece. I have no formal training, and most of the knowledge I have is courtesy the internet, watching concerts, listening to hundreds of hours of music and some academic projects where I got an amazing insight into the world of Hindustani music. My most treasured possession is a raga encyclopedia that has information of around 400 Hindustani ragas. I still carry it with me. I often use it as a reference to discover and play new ragas. It is incorrect to say that I play ragas — because I don’t think I do. I like to play and experience only a very tiny aspect of ragas which are the notes. Ragas are far more deeper, and I am not qualified to play or experience that depth.

This talk is not intended to show the depth of Hindustani music; it is meant to fascinate. And it does that well. Some bits are gimmicky too. I don’t necessarily agree with many of things she says, but I won’t hesitate to recommend the talk. So here you go :

P.S. : For those interested, some specific bits that I talk about in the post :

Saying Dhoom Machale is in Bhairavi is incorrect. So are some other examples, because ragas — as she herself elaborates later — are much much more than notes. The gimmicky bits are English songs sung in a classical base.