Michael Jackson’s connection to Indian Classical Arts

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palghat-raghurukmini-devi

 

There has been so much said about Michael Jackson in the media this week that I thought for a while do I need to join this crowd?  But I can hold it back no more.  There is a connection between the King of Pop Michael Jackson and many great stalwarts of the Indian Classical Scene such as  the Late Shri Palghat Raghu’s rhythmic definition;  the electronic mix of AR Rahman music;  the Late Ali Akbar Khan’s invention of new ragas and in the exquisite rendition of Raag Bhoop by Kishori Amonkar; in the thillanas composed by Violin Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman.  The undying vocal expressions of the Great Alathur Brothers and the Pakistani Brothers, Nazakat and Salamat Ali;  the devotion in melody queen MSS;  the revolutionary contribution to Bharathanatyam by Rukmini Devi ArundelBut that is not all I also see a connection between Michael Jackson and the stand up canadian indian comedian Russell Peters.russell

What is the exalting character of their creative expressions ? As I hear the late Palghat Raghu in one of the movies produced by Iris Productions say (Watch Sydhwaney Vodpods) “My guru taught me the basics I had to build on top and be creative” he further says “You can find the raw material from anywhere and you can build something beautiful upon it”. The standup comedian from Canada Russell Peters says “I look for material from different cultures and try and see all angles”.  Michael Jackson reached out to a wider audience to reduce the great divide between black and white across the world.  

The common vein in their musical or performing ventures is their courage to dare to take that step into the unknown and be different, bring a fresh newness to their approach never contemplated or considered possible before. As a reporter there is many a time when I patiently sigh as I know what comes next, perhaps there is comfort in knowing what comes next, the alap, now in the middle half , now at the top..I could even sing the next sangathi or melodic journey in my mind’s eye with the musician. Please can you get on with it and surprise me !! Perhaps the answer is in the fact that the musicians and artists who stand out are those that have a vision of their own artform that has never been conceptualised before. True genius breaks boundaries and changes the complete landscape within which one operates, be it pop, rock or carnatic. Here’s toasting to great genius but most of all to their courage to venture into the unknown from conceiving an idea to its ultimate consummate delivery.