Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao is a pioneering flautist, trend setting composer, spell binding choreographer, unforgettable musicologist and a conceiver of rare thoughts in poetry that philosophize on social domains from a perspective of solitude. Rooted for majority of the last decade away from his roots (in Bombay and Hyderabad) in Virginia, Georgia and California, his is a persona that wanes and grows with the beat of a generation gap, teaching subtleties of Indian music to distant yet sensitive foreign ears. For perennial connoisseurs and performers, he stands for all that is best about Indian culture - the vitality of dance, the beauty and technique of Hindustani music as demonstrated by him on flute and the magnificent commonality in global cultures emphasized through his writings and demonstrations that glorify Indian classical music.
"I am no different here than anywhere, in a very positive way... I create, I discover, I appreciate, I perform, I pray. My music is a catalyst between hearts of diverse molds, between societies of different temper. Spending time away from my roots makes me come full circle. I am even more of an artist; even more conscious of who I am..."says Panditji.
Talking of music, he says, "Music is the universal language. It is invested with such simple and absolute power that it can engage the minds of even those who know nothing about it. It is like perfume. Spray it on anyone, and a little bit comes back at you pleasingly. It is futile to look for components of a total expression, like music"
Pt> Vijay Raghav Rao writes
The quintessential embodies the source of all things big and small; all life, now and in the future. It is but the net essence of knowledge; born of truth, bred in the pure and sustained by energy. It gives rise to the beautiful, the colorful. To multivariate worlds, throbbing with a multitude of energies, seething with a billion forms extending well into the reaches of time and space. The process of making art opens the doors to the quintessential. Genuine art meshes with the grand order of the natural process - that ultimate work of art.
Through my music, I seek the quintessential. The elegant principle of creation; that living, throbbing, vibrant work of art. Like the notes of a Raga, or the strands of a genetic code, the quintessential perpetuates new, wonderful worlds of splendour and surprise. Where what was is as fresh as what will be. It is truth, and it is tinged with dreams.
Ranjayati iti Raga – That which colors the mind is a Raga
To me, time is a blank canvass.
As I improvise, I imbue the canvass with colors and forms born off the Raga.
The nature of the improvisation reflects who l am.
It is my aesthetic as an artist.
One – Raga Janasammohini
Arohi (Ascent) — Sa, Shudha (Sharp) Ri, Shudha (Sharp) Ga, Pa,
Shudh (Sharp) Dha, Komal (Flat) Ni, Sa
Avrohi (Descent) - Sa, Ni, Dha, Pa, Ga, Ri, Sa
I love this Raga For its romanticism. It allows for unabashed, lyrical improvising. When I do any justice to this lovely Raga, images of youthful exuberance in the dusk cross my mind. I present two compositions in this Raga set to rhythmic cycles of 7 and 12 beats respectively.
Two – Raga Maru Behag
Arohi (Ascent) - Sa, Shudh (Sharp) Ga, Tivra (Sharp) Ma, Pa
(Shudh (Sharp) Ni, Sa
Avrohi (Descent) - Sa, Shudh (Sharp) Ni, Shudh (Sharp) Dha, Pa,
Tivra (Sharp) Ma, Shudh (Sharp) Ga, Shudh (Sharp) Ri, Sa.
While performing this Raga, an artist should - at his / her discretion - judiciously use Shudh (Flat) Ma at some points, specifically to enhance the emotive spirit of the Raga. In the repertoire of Indian Classical Music, there exist Ragas which flower, flourish and spray their fragrance in all the three Saptaks (Performance Octaves) : (Mandra - Low, Madhya - Middle, and Tar – High/ String)
I feel this is one such beautiful nocturnal Raga. The pentatonic ascent is complimented by a resonant, complete descent.
Visualizing this in the Gayaki Ang (Vocal music style), I present two Compositions - a Khayal (Slow, pensive exploration) in Vilambit Ek Taal (Slow tempo of 12 beats), and then a Drut (Fast tempo composition) in Teen Taal (16 beats).
Through notes and expressions there of in each of the 3 octaves, I have tried to express yearnings for a beloved, which I believe is the primary emotive spirit of this Raga.
Three – Raga Bairagi Bhairav
Arohi (Ascent) - Sa, Komal (Flat) Ri, Shudh (Sharp) Ma, Pa, Komal (Flat) Ni, Sa
Avrohi (Descent) - Sa, Ni, Pa, Ma, Ri, Sa
This is a quintessential Raga of early dawn. The serene tranquility of this pentatonic Raga often takes me to the roots of introspection. I preferred to improvise this Raga only in slow tempo (of 12 beats) to experience an exalted personal expression of union with the infinite; slowly, gradually and peacefully — note by note.
Performing this Raga places me in an ascetic spirit, particularly when I dwell on the Komal _ Rishabh (Flat 2nd note). It reminds me that music is both a microcosm of the divine energy that surrounds all of us, as well as a medium that lets us communicate with it.
Raga Maru Behag
Raga Bairagi Bhairav
Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao – Flute
Dr. Vijay Vardhan Elchuri – Tanpura
Smt. Lakshmi V. Rao – Tanpura
Ustad Sabir Khan Pt. Mahadev Indrokar, Pt. Sadanand Nayyammpalli – Tabla
Sound Executive – Dr. Vijay Vardhan elchuri
Executive Producer – Dr. Sanjay Kumar
“I dedicate this album to my poojya guruji Bharat ratna Pt. Ravi Shankar Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao special thanks to the red & Green Company.