For every artist, the rains have been a creative hotspot. Each artist has presented the rains in their own unique flavor adding more color and vibrancy to the season. Across genres, monsoon has meant different things and held a great place of significance. Usually musicians flirt around themes like introspection, waiting for a loved one, romance, sadness, joy, or painting contrasting imagery using the rain as a metaphor. However, no matter how overrated any of these themes maybe, every musician still yearns to sing about the rains in one way or the other.
This monsoon, here are some picks for every listener.
For an avid Carnatic listener, the Pallavi composed in raaga Varunapriya by U. Srinivas specifically seems to enhance the joy in experiencing the rains in a very subtle but beautiful way, ornamenting each drop intricately. Varunapriya as a raga is one of the most popular picks for monsoons besides raaga Amruthavarshini. Srinivas’s seamless journey across Varunapriya, Vasantha and Malayamaarutha ragas coupled with the rains are an indulgence of a different level.
An interesting raag Hindustani lovers can to listen to on a cloudy afternoon with mild showers is raag Multani by Pt. Venkatesh Kumar. His renditions in this raag create a contrasting soundscape with mild showers in the view emanating the Dharwad style of Hindustani music. Renditions by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur, Kishori Amonkar are equally captivating in their own way.
Dear, Western classical music lovers, Maurice Ravel’s “Jeux d’eau” is a personal favourite. The piece reflects the sounds water makes as it cascades, splashes, and bubbles through brooks. Water pieces in general impersonate the rains in different ways making each piece unique in its own way. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” are probably two of the most popular monsoon pieces, still remaining fresh and relevant.
For the younger, Indie music lovers, “What color is your raindrop” by Tajdar Junaid seems to convey the joy of rains in its simple humming and arrangement that really works for a comfortable listen, leaving a smile on your face at the end of the song. Its mild and earthy rhythms, simple guitars, and sensitive vocals just hit the spot for a rainy afternoon. Songs in the same soundscape by artists like Prateek Kuhad, or Norah Jones, or even Tom Waits just do the trick for a soulful comforting listen.
Filmi listeners are just as spoilt for choice like classical music enthusiasts. Be it Rafi’s classics, Ilairaja’s evergreen romantic songs, AR, Amit Trivedi, Vishal Bharadwaj, the list just goes on! Picks – “Shauk Hain” and “Munbe Vaa” by AR Rahman, “Pani Pani Re” by Vishal Bharadwaj, “Chaudhary” by Amit Trivedi, “Deewana Hua Badal” by Omkar Prasad Nayyar, and an endless list of retro songs by the most loved male and female playback singers.
There’s so much clutter in the fusion music genre that picking well fused albums or tracks can get really difficult. However, Vladishwar Nadishana’s “Shu Khur” from his album “Zero Density” with Kuckhermann and Metz instantly makes you groove without wanting to change the song. The soundscape he creates is light and full of life. Another interesting band from Boston called Natraj feature a song called “Kale Nutsu” in their album “Song of the Swan” that plays contemporary jazz music with influences from African and Indian music. All the songs in their album make for a well-blended fusion jazz album.