“Reigniting fire in life through music.”
Awadh is one of the most diversity-driven regions of Uttar Pradesh in terms of its history as it has been ruled under various dynasties. Most importantly, The Hindu mythological story of Lord Rama, who was born in the region of Awadh is told here as ages-old folklore that holds a very high spiritual significance for everyone who resides here. Awadhi folk music captures the story of Lord Rama through a song called Chaiti – Ram Janam. Most of the music that has originated from here is spiritual in nature.
Using different Taals and Ragas to express various occasions, from the wedding ceremonies of Gods and Goddesses to childbirth being compared to the birth of Lord Rama in every household has been the essence of music in this region. While exploring these folk art forms, we came across a group of expert musicians who show nearly unmatchable talent in expressing their emotions and reciting the folklores solemnly.
They call themselves the Kamayani group. The name is ingeniously derived from the names of the duo of sisters who lead the vocals adeptly along with instrumentalists that are highly qualified in their respective fields. It was an honour and a privilege to meet both the sisters who are making a real impact on the world of music, using their talent to promote their local culture across the country. Conversations with them were vivid and informative as we learned about the folk forms of Awadh as well as Purvanchal. Their humility despite the possession of incredible talent was quite reassuring. The duo is so well versed with the intricity of the traditional Awadh folk song that they sang the ‘Chait mass mein’ only to explain about the song, which goes like this –
“Awadh maa Ram ji janam liyo Rama, chaita hi maase,
(It is the month of Chaita, Lord Rama took birth in Awadh)
Sab nar naari mil mangal gaawe,
(All men and women are singing happily)
Ghar ghar baajat badhaiya”
(Congratulatory songs are being sung in each house)
They also spoke highly of their fellow artists, Ankit Singh ji, who is a highly qualified musician and currently a researcher in the cultural arts focusing on the classical dance form of Kathak. His passion for music was commendable as he came with a broken foot covered in a thick plaster covering it and yet adjusted himself according to what the situation demanded just for his passion for music. The brilliant percussionist, Harshit Sharma, was one of the most exciting and witty individuals we would meet on this journey. His eyes sparkled as the singers took a snap decision on enhancing the recording experience with a song that involved a rare beat pattern known as “Dedh taal”, which involves a changing pattern in a single song.
A huge field of Mulberry trees located in a serene corner of the Janeshwar Mishra park was chosen as the location for their recording. The rustic ambience of the place generated a naturally instinctive and artful mindset in everyone present for this performance. As the artists began performing the first song called Chaiti, which is about the birth of Lord Rama in the spring season, the mellow winds began to feel like silk rubbing against the skin. The contribution of each of the artists coming in harmony was one of the most profound experiences one can get.
Being a multitalented musician, Ankit, also had an incredible vocal ability and supported both the sisters with his backing vocals beautifully in a song called Nakta which had beautifully written lyrics along with one of the most soothing melodies ever created. By the end of the performance, there was none who wished to wrap up, and yet they left us feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Recording with the studio-quality equipment for the first time, these artists gave us all a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will be cherished by each and everyone who was in the vicinity while it unfolded in the most peculiar yet graceful manner possible.