Concert Preview: Raaga Rang on Saturday in Lexington

Meena Sundaram
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By Pallavi Nagesha

LEXXINGTON, MA–Music and life have gone hand in hand. The rhythm of life drives the insatiable need to fill the universe with melody. Melody lifts the soul and engages the universe with the divine. So what makes music? Does any sound with a rhythm or a melody make music?

Well, to find out, come to Raaga Rang on April 9th, where 20 musicians embark on a journey to the soul of melody.

Shuchita Rao
Shuchita Rao

You will see that classical grammar melds with folk traditions; and melody and mode string together, as they should, in an intricate and continuous garland that will move and exhilarate you. Meru founders believe that Indian Classical music is a deep well where all great music seeks inspiration from. So is Raaga Rang a classical concert or a popular music concert?

According to the producer of Raaga Rang, Shekhar Shastri, “Classical music provides timeless wings to soar with, and the folk gives it feet to walk on earth with. Raaga-Rang 2016 is a melodious conversation between folk music and classical Indian music.”

Exploring the evolution of folk and classical is a champion team of musicians – all classically trained, brilliant and distinguished. We asked renowned Hindustani classical musician Shuchita Rao what she is doing in a popular music show:  “We need to introduce our audience to the beauty and wealth of classical music and cultivate their interest slowly but steadily. People are often surprised to learn that popular film songs composed by A.R Rehman are based on ragas. It makes me very happy to introduce elements of classical music through the medium of popular songs.”



o how do the musicians reconcile the two worlds? We caught up with  New England’s king of ghazal, Dilip Acharya: “Many experts opine that Classical Music is born out of folk music. Many popular folk melodies were later on transformed to classical Raagas by the maestros of this art. For example, Raag Pahadi is born out of  a popular folk melody sung in the mountains of Northern states like Himachal Pradesh, thus gets the name ‘Pahadi’. Some experts even suggest that Raag Bhupali is also born out of Pahadi since the musical notes used in both the raagas are same. So, I believe there is a divine relationship between folk and classical music. The way folk music touches the hearts of a common man, Classical music should be presented in such a way that it becomes popular amongst the common man.”

Music is an explosive expression of humanity. This quality is most evident in the popular musical genres. In the Indian context, this expressive quality is most evident in Bollywood music. Raaga Rang examines popular, expressive music to find and shine its classical core.

Just ask Meena Sundaram, a local singer of Bollywood music in New England: “I believe the techniques and tradition of classical singing buttress and enhance all forms of singing and create a strong foundation for an aesthetic vocal performance. Raaga-rang is an educational experience for me. It is like a favorite summer camp that one looks forward to returning to every year. The themes and areas of focus also keep changing which keeps it stimulating. We have in-house teaching resources like Shuchita, Shekhar and Dilip to teach us new material which is always a treat!”

Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library

33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA 02421



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