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Sunlight Ragas in Heiko’s home

Mazumdar and DijkerIn the world of new media art there are various music user-interfaces that allow you to play with light to affect sound. What about using the changing natural light of the sun instead?

That’s the principle behind the North Indian Ragas played by Sitar Master Gaurav Mazumdar and our host and Tabla player, Heiko Dijker.

Mazumdar, one of the most prominent pupils of Ravi Shankar, explained that ragas are meant for different times of the day, based on the warmth and colours of the sun. There are strict rules that define the character of a raga. And ragas must only be played in the section of the day that they are meant to complement and evoke. So an early morning Raga should never be played in late afternoon.

Because of lingering evening light in Amsterdam at this time of year, Mazumdar and Dijker were able to play a wider range of Ragas than would have been possible in India.

Many performances are also held indoors in artificial light. “Electric light has made time stretchable,” Mazumdar said. “When you enter an auditorium, you take the light with you.”

1. Raga Patdeep (of 7 beats)
2. Raga Bhoopali (of 16 beats)
3. Raga Kirwani (of 16 beats)

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