Weddings are occasions for bliss and happiness, escorted by love and great rejoicing. What could be bigger than two people pledging to be loyal and promising to love and be together for the rest of their lives in the presence of holy deities and family and friends?
According to Vedic scriptures, a pledged union of a man and a woman with the intent to follow the path of Dharma or righteousness is Marriage. “Vivaaha”, in Sanskrit, means ‘to support and sustain. ‘The importance of a marriage ceremony with all its rituals is to remind the couple and reiterate the advantages of living righteously and adhering to the code of behaviour to support and sustain Dharma.
Marriage is a life – long pledge of one wife and one husband, and is the strongest social amalgamation that takes place between a man and a woman. Hindus believe that a family should be together during auspicious occasions, and it is like these traditions, like marriage rituals, that are like the glue that holds families together.
The sacredness of the wedding is portrayed by different ceremonial acts that include the participation of both sets of parents of the bridal couple and these rites that completely express the uniqueness of the event, and above all brings a sense of austerity, seriousness and soberness to the occasion.
The distinctive sound of the Shehnai is considered particularly auspicious. For this reason it is an indispensable component of almost any Indian wedding. All of us have been part of the joyous atmosphere which has had the streaming Shehnai playing for hours on end, throughout the various ceremonies. A collection of Shehnai music has been compiled together on this unique album.
The Shehnai is a North Indian oboe. Although it is sometimes referred to as a double – reeded instrument it is actually a quadruple –reed instrument. In reality, it has two upper reeds and two lower reeds. The reed is attached to brass tube which is wrapped in string. It usually has eight or nine holes, and made of dark, close grained black wood with a brass bell from its end. The length of the instrument is one and a half to two feet. The reed is fixed at the narrow blowing end. The reeds used in the Shehnai are made of pala grass. Spare reeds and an ivory needle with which the reeds are adjusted are attached to the mouth piece.
The Shehnai is one of the most sensitive sounding instruments. It is actually the way the lips and tongue play upon the reed mouthpiece and the manner in which the holes are opened or closed with the fingers which render the semitone and quarter tones very effectively and attractively and requires a lot of skill on musician’s part to play. It is considered one of the most difficult instruments to play.
The legendary Ustad Bismillah Khan, an awardee of the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in India, is perhaps single – handedly responsible for making the Shehnai a famed classical instrument.
Ustad Bismillah Khan was born in 1917, in a small village in Bihar, and learned the Shehnai from his uncle who played in the renowned Vishwanath temple of Varanasi. He brought the Shehnai into the limelight of Indian classical music with his hypnotizing concert in the Calcutta All India Music Conference in 1937, and since then it has been no looking back.
1. Raga: Todi (1969)
2. Raga: Ahir Bhairav (1969)
3. Raga: Jaunpuri (1969)
4. Raga: Bilawal (1959)
6. Raga: Basant
7. Raga: Malkauns (1961)
8. Mishra Khamaj (1982)
9. Light Dhun (1961)