Friday, October 9, 2009

2010 + 20 = 2030 End of Gujarati Light Music?

Light music is popularly known as ‘SUGAM SANGEET’ – name given by senior officer of All India Radio – Thakur Jaydevsinhji. Sugam Sangeet is a blend of two words – Sugam – Simply, easy to understand and, Sangeet – means a music which is easy to understand. Here, ‘Understand’ stands for easy to enjoy. You need to understand to enjoy, but here, this “Understanding” should be very simple. Sangeet means Music. That means, this music is “easy to understand and enjoy”. This definition is for ‘Music’. Here, music is in the centre and as words (of Lyric) accompany music – their togetherness should also be “SUGAM’ – easy. This definition was established by the work of Late Avinash Vyas. His music – (Composition) and workds were very easy to enjoy. They are very popular even today. Avinashbhai’s contribution – both in Quantity and Quality – Covers a great amount of ground! He wrote for every occasion, relations, seasons, festivals etc. He wrote for Gujarati Films more than 100. He is the only one ‘PADMA SHRI’ in this field from Gujarat. He wrote and he composed. So, his words are in tone with his composition. His language is very simple. His tunes are very melodious. His expressions are less complicated. It reaches to mass. That was his goal too!

The generation which loved his songs is above 70. the next generation which liked Gujarati songs has reached 50. We see a listener group between 40 onwards in program of Gujarati sugam sangeet these days. The third generation of 25 to 40 is missing and the forth one does not know Gujarati! Many of our children are English medium students. Though, there are Gujarati schools, still very popular, but their students hardly come to Gujarati music programs, except garba.

It is not that nothing had been done in the field of Gujarati sugam sangeet since Avinash Vyas left this world. Many composers have shown their best. Late Neenu Mazumdar and Kshemoo Divetia composed very good songs. Shri Dilip Dholakia is our senior most composer, whose songs are popular among two generations. Late Ajit sheth and Rasiklal Bhojak did their best. And Ajit Merchant is still known for Aankno Afine….

New Gujarati songs came with Ashit Desai and Late Paresh Bhatt. New generation of composers S/S Uday Mazumdar, Saumil-Shyamal, Naynesh Jani, Soli Kapadia, Amar Bhatt are still in full form. There are very talented composers in Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Mumbai also. They all are here to stay. The new lot of singers have shown their mettle.

But where is a new listener? What will bring him to theatre to listen to Gujarati sugam sangeet?

When will we accept the importance of mother tongue and understand a difference between language for business and language for expression of emotion? Language carries culture. If a language dies, culture dies too! If a Gujarati youth can enjoy (understand?) a Panjabi song, lyric in English – why can’t he enjoy Gujarati? What does he or she wants from Gujarati Sugam Sangeet?

When the youngest of today’s listener will turn to 60! Than? I had been to U. K. and U.S.A. Situation is same – or even worst! Only handful of listeners wants to listen to ‘New’ songs, even in Ahmedabad or Mumbai. This group is not increasing…. (even decreasing due to obvious reason of age etc). They are the same, who I saw since years! I thank them for their support and Love and patronage. But we need to do something at the earliest.

Can we not think together and find out the way? We have only 20years to save Sugam Sangeet, remember!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blog-Writing is very personal. Here, I may peep now and then. But, it is not for a ‘show-off’, it is to express one’s own observations and feelings.

I had been to London (not to see queen… of course!) recently. We were to participate in a three day event at Leicester – Village India and Experience Gujarat. Many celebrated artists from Gujarat were there. We presented Gujarati music (Folk Songs, Devotional Songs and Gujarati Light music Songs) there. I will share that experience too but today I would like to write about a scene on Heathrow Airport.

It was evening. Heathrow is a very busy airport. There were many passengers and were waiting their turn at to reach to immigration counters. There were many counters and things were moving. Authority has made a special arrangement for the students. Their queue was also separate, and oh! It was a REAL long long queue. Many of them from my beloved country, India. I felt proud about their zest to study. Higher education in U. K. was a dream of many friends in my time. But only few could make it. Now things have changed and this Queue was a result of it. I was feeling happy for them.

But then, I saw an immigration officer trying to know the details from one of our Students… and the boy was silent. Officer tried his best but all in vein. The kid could not answer very simple questions, as he did not understand, what was being asked! All those who have visited UK / USA knew that, these officers are very polite but firm, very vigilant. They have got all the relevant details in advance, ready with them. They know about Colleges, Universities, their legal status, their capacity to accommodate students from abroad…everything! It is not advisable to lie with them. If you tell him or her your problem they will guide you, even, back home! (Which is good for you!)

Here is a student, who could not speak nor understand a word and had come to study in U.K.! There are lot many students who got VISA and now successfully entered U.K. few of them are real brilliant. We will be proud of them one day. But many of them had something else in their mind. They and their parents has a calculation of 1 Pound=80 Rs! They are still to know that earning even a pound here, is not any easy thing. But an average or even below average students have landed here. They talk about their dreams. They are ready to do hard work – but here hard work means real HARD!

Leaving 8 to 10 persons in a tow room apartment and run to earn one sandwich and a meal at night! This, they have never done in India. It becomes harder for them. Few of them want to go back but they remember those faces at airport, who came to say good luck and good bye! They have learnt know that.

Buckingham Palace is for Her majesty only!

I felt very unhappy for few of them whom I happened to meet. They have not groomed themselves as per requirement of that country and they suffer because of it. It is useless to come UK, if you stay in an Indian locality, speak Hindi and Punjabi and Gujarati and survive doing petty jobs! This day and night labor does not allow them to move out and look around London. They can not afford it.

I felt very sorry for that student and though he could enter UK as he was having legal documents, I am worried about the impression of Gujarat and Gujarati he will carry with him! As, rush towards UK has increased, it is in the best interest of students to come here, well-prepared. Conversion of Pound into Rupees may attract you, show your worth and stand with dignity as you are a representative of INDIA… Please… Please…