“Pitch perfect to the colours of Braj.”
From the lanes of Mathura and Vrindavan, the spirit of Holi has spread all over the world. Holi is a celebration of not just colours but also life and love. In Braj, Holi is celebrated to commemorate the divine love of Radha for Krishna, which can be found in the folktales and folk music of Braj. Holi in Braj is famous in the entire world, and on this trip, we experienced the different colours of Braj and its diversity. But the trip wouldn’t be complete without listening to the region’s famous holi geet, which is also known as Faag at times, as it is also celebrated to welcome the arrival of the spring season.
To experience phaag, we ushered in to meet the very charismatic singer and performer of Mathura, Shri Jagdish Brijwasi, 54, a brilliant harmonium player and singer. He excels in playing the tabla as well. He started his musical journey as a ghazal singer but could not hide away his devotion to folk music and the divine, which got him into Braj Lok geet and bhajans. He has a strong Hindustani, classical base with a visharad degree credited to him by North Central Zone Cultural Centre (NCZCC), Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.
He leads a folk group that has Ravi Joshi, 35, who sings as the chorus, a self-taught musician. He regards Jagdish very highly and considers him as one of his prime inspiration, who has guided him thoroughly in his musical journey, Amarjeet, 50, plays Dholak, Nakkara and is also a part of the chorus, Suresh Chand, 55, plays Manjira and Percussions, Parvez Ali, 25, plays harmonium and Brijwasi Nagar, 23, plays Tabla and Dholak.
Jagdish Brijwasi made this group around 4-5 years ago, and since then, he is managing and taking care of the members. The groups have performed everywhere in India and Africa, Nepal, etc. The group is fluent in various folk forms from the region of Braj, but expertise in Holi geet and Mayur Nritya. From Folk songs to light music, the group gives mesmerizing performances every time they are on the stage. They love to sing in Darbari and Shivranjini raga. The group has strong classical knowledge, which can be seen in their performance. For the group, music is like God, whom they worship every day of their lives. The group aspires to go around the world and share more about the rich cultural heritage of the Braj region.
“Jo saiyan aaye Braj me ulat ke,
Hori me khelungi Shyamso daatke.”
“Faagun beeto jai taanak gori,
Rasiya te batarai lijo.”
Jagdish expresses, “Music is my god, my worship. And I owe everything to music”. On asking what prompted him to get into music, he said he once heard someone performing, “ Maa ke parivaar aur saraswati ke darshan” and “Tu mehelo ki Rani from Dharamveer, and that just changed his life. He considers Mallu Bhai, Ameer Sahab, Ghulam Sabir Sahab, Rajendra Krishna, Dr Hari Charan Verma as his gurus, and speaks very highly of their teaching as well as calibre in the field of music. Most of his songs are written in a similar style. He has also sung in films like Sajan Tere Pyaar Mein, Sun Meri Soniye with singers like Vandana Vajpaiy.
“Phagun beto jai sakhiri,
(The season of Phaag will get over, friend)
Phagun Beto jai tanak gori “
(The season of Phaag will get over, lady)
From Folk songs to light music, the group give such mesmerising performance every time they are on the stage. They love to sing in Darbari and Shivranjini raga. The group has strong classical knowledge and one can see the same in their performance. For the group music like God whom they worship every day of their lives. The group aspires to go around the world and share more and more about the rich cultural heritage of the Braj region.