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Saroj Verma and Group

By May 28, 2021February 26th, 2023Uttar Pradesh

“A galvanizing accord of melodies.”

Uttar Pradesh has various parts, each with its speciality in culture, food, and people. These parts have different colours, architecture, and other things for which they are recognized nationwide. The one thing common among these is their rich history, which shows in most of their cultural art forms of music and dance.

The region known as Purvanchal is no different, especially the ‘cultural capital’ known as Kashi, or more commonly, Banaras. It has been a hub of all languages and religions like Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhism that were the most noticeable ones. These have persisted in their presence in the region during different periods in history. At present, people of all religions stay in the city in harmony and participate in many kinds of music and dance forms that originated here.

Primarily, in the city of temples, one such temple was built by Maharaja Jay Narayan Ghoshal, who was the ruler of the empire of Bengal in 1814. This temple is mesmerizing in its architecture and art, showcased in the form of beautifully designed sculptures.

This location makes it one of the best and most serene places in the middle of the city to record folk musicians perform art forms such as Thumri, Sohar, and Chaiti. While making our journey through the city, we were fortunate enough to come across an artist, Saroj Verma, who is highly experienced and possesses an excellent vocal ability. She has been performing these art forms for a long time and has the experience of collaborating with many different instrumentalists.

As we spoke to her about these art forms, we learned new things and understood the musical culture of the place much more closely.  She entered the premises along with Bijay Sharma on the Harmonium, another coveted musician from Banaras, and holds decades of experience. Accompanying them for the Shehnai was Ustaad Fateh Ali Khan, an artist who believes that the talent for playing Shehnai is vanishing and needs to be saved, along with one of the most knowledgeable artists and Dholak player from the region, Pt. Subhash Kanaujiya. The songs that groups encompass the traditional Purvanchal folk songs, out of the 2 tracks the one which we enjoyed the most was ‘ Teen Vachan’, that goes like – 

“Teen vachan mora maana,

(I want you to grant me these three promises)

Tab tose raaji balamwa,

(Then alone, I will agree to spend my life with you)

Jauva ki rotiya rahari ke daliya,

(Chapati made of Millet flour, and curry made with the pulse of Toor)

Tani yeke saan ke khiyayi da,

(I want our meals to have them both)

Tab tose raaji balamwa”

(Then alone, I will agree to spend my life with you)

The whole group possesses skilful talent and experience in Indian classical and folk music forms. It was quite evident as they slid into their practice right before beginning their performance. These are a bunch of artists who have tremendous ability to capture and galvanize their audiences. Their songs smoothly picked up with harmony along with Shehnai, as the beats of Dholak joined, giving every song the right amount of punch. Saroj Verma’s vocals would fit the combination so well, that everyone present would lose themselves to the music. It was an unforgettable experience.

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