Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ustad Shaik Dawood: Maryada Purushottam.

Readers of this blog will recall what we had to say about antics of tabalchis, led by The Hairy One. Senior was quite convinced with our view, being something of a tabalchi himself. Infact he had recommended our humble blog to some youtubites who were quibbling about an upload showing Manna Dey castigating his tabla accompanist. However around fifty percent of our readers, that is two of them, felt as if we had something personal against Hairy Harry. We forgive them (kshama veerasya bhushanam he, he, he), for it is difficult to be detached or dispassionate about someone whose art one has always relished..YF included.

Anyway, on other public fora as well, we were hesitant to forcefully articulate our views, for there was no known musical authority who has been forthcoming on the sensitive issue, although there have always been whispers here and there. Moreover if commercial success is to be a yardstick of credibility, then we were always at a disadvantage, for we never went beyond teen-taal. No successful tabalchi had ever argued on our lines.

It was therefore quite a relief to find a fortuitous vindication of our views. A kindred soul so to say.

First why it took so long for us to muster concrete support for our contention that a tabalchi’s  business is to provide support,  shouldn’t  be meretricious, should be heard and not seen, save when she performs solo, etc., etc., hope we are clear, it’s quite relevant. It turns out, this was to be expected, there was a ‘logic’ behind it. A good tabalchi should be unobtrusive, did we not say?  But then if he is reallllly unobtrusive, it will be difficult to discover him, by definition of that term, yaar! …if you want him to be ‘invisible’ on stage, he will be invisible to you also, naaa? Yeh, that’s why it took us so long to find a clincher for our theory.

Now the vindication persayyyy..We stumbled upon the fact that the top contemporary artistes, esp. of Maharashtra, say Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Malinitai, even Ustad Shahid Parvez,  used to be accompanied by Shaik Dawood. He is alas no more. In fact we have heard in him in person, accompanying Pt. Narayan Rao Patwardhan)  Here is an excerpt from the site-URL  

(A Tribute to my Gurudev by Betrabet Prabhakar Rao)

“The art of unobtrusive accompaniment was ingrained into Dawood Sahib early on during the training and by the time he was 18 years he was giving accompaniment to very reputed musician friends of Khasim Sahib who used to frequent Sholapur.  Ustad Abdul Karim Khan took a special liking to Dawood Sahib's accompaniment.  In retrospect, accompaniment to vocal musicians in the early years of his career, perhaps gave Dawood Sahib immense control over the "Vilambit laya", however slow the theka is.

“The musicians whom Dawood Sahib has accompanied during his glorious career spanning over 58 years include Aftab-e-Mausiki Ustad Fayyaz Khan, Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan (vocal), Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Barakat Ali Khan (‘Chhote’, being Bade Ghulam Ali’s sahab’s younger brother, opted for Pakistan) , Roshanara Begum, Abdul Wahid Khan (Begum Akhtar's Guru), Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Sawai Gandharva, Pandit Basawaraj Raj Guru (18 years old at the time), Nazakat Salamat, Mushtaq Hussain Khan, Pandit D. V. Paluskar, Pandit Vinayak Rao Patwardhan, Ustad Allaudin Khan, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan and so on.  The list is endless and includes all of the greatest luminaries of Hindustani music.

“On tabla accompaniment, Dawood Sahib was a humble servant to the main artist.  Whether it was a highly reputed musician or a 14 year old up-and-coming sitarist, his approach was the same.  He strongly felt that whatever the tabla accompanist renders should be relevant to the context an under no circumstances should disturb the main artist.  Tabla accompaniment should be "supportive" and certainly should not distract the main artist.

You must click to that page, to learn about one of the greatest  tabalchis ever, who forever remained in the background, remains unsung.

A few other openings from the page:

“Generally, it happens that once an artist reaches the concert stage, his inclination to pursue further learning diminishes, because playing for concerts every now and then drains considerable amount of energy and results in mental fatigue.  But, his thirst for knowledge was such that Dawood Sahib became the disciple of Ustad Alladia Khan, a Tabla Nawaz of seven generations.  Alladia Khan was a vast repository of tabla knowledge.  For 12 years Dawood Sahib assimilated a great amount of tabla knowledge from the maestro.”

“He expected only a one time payment of Guru Dakshina during the "Ganda Bandhan" function which was only a modest Rs.251 - (a figure which he refused to increase even in the 1980's) and he never demanded monthly fees.”

Even the youtubites’ comments below Shaik sahebs videos are authentic and unusually mature- sample:

"i am from Surpur in yadagir district of karnataka. Ustad Dawoodji was very much loved and regarded in Hydrabad karnataka. our Surpur Rajas Raja Venkatappa Naik Bar-AT Law ( Ex MP Raichur and Raja Pidnaik ( ExMLA) were his disciples. i was delighted to see sri Mohan Kakkeriji on utube on felicitation of ustad. Kakkeriji hails from my place . incredible contribution to the music lovers by the uploader."


"DHINGIN ka jawab nahi; no other tabla nawaz or pandith can produce this kind of clear crystal bol of dhingin like ustadji, thanks for this classic item."
(dhingin 1 year ago)

The observation of dhingin reinforces an old belief of ours- the bayaan and bols like tinn are always 'spectacular ' in case of the mature and disciplined soldier of the tabla, for they are the only places he can show his capabilities- his jauhar...!

some essential Shaik Dawood links:

 (Shaik Saheb accompanying Pt. Karekar''s great Madhukauns)

IMIRZA777 and knisar22 are the major uploaders of Shaik saheb's art. 

We wish now to probe a general issue. The train of thought is of course set off by the our explanation as to why we were unable to spot an illustrious illustration for our beliefs concerning tabla manners. Why does the explanation for sommme observation that one is desperately seeking often lies right in front of us, but gets ignored. That’s because the ‘solution’ is an integral part of the ‘problem’.

To further refine the issue, to get to the bottom of the principle, just for fun, we have to rely on the Theory of Probability. 

The basic principles , mota moti, of the theory are precisely three in number: There is  said to be a basic triad for understanding the TP:

(The triple’s first element A is required only to be a set. The second element is a collection of subsets of the said set A. Third element is a function that assigns a real number to each of the elements of A.)

First Axiom: the probability of an individual event occurring is not a negative number.

Second: Each of the events has a Real Number assigned to it, called the probability of that event occurring. 

Third: The sum total of individual probabilities of all countable events is the same as the probability of the whole set of events.

The explanation we seek goes thus: we are looking for a vindication of our theory about favouring the unobtrusiveness of  tabalchis. The events or examples having a positive probability attached are obtrusive, because had they been otherwise, they would not have been observed. Therefore we find it difficult to identify the event or example we are looking for. We are looking for ‘not-obtrusive’, technically written as ‘~obtrusive’. However, paradoxically it is one of the possible outcomes, i.e., a member of the set A, hence gets ignored..whew….!
This again is not specific to tabla or Shaik Dawood or music. It’s independent of a context. The best concepts are that- sort of self-contained.

Shaik Saheb
                                  Accompanying Pandit Bhimsen Joshi


Law of exponential decay of progenies (Courtesy the JIR, or the Journal of Irreproducible Results):

Progenies of second rate political leaders make fourth rate political leaders and in turn progenies of fourth ones make sixteenth rate leaders… and so on. Much of the decay of the first family of Indian politics is explained if we assume that Pt. Nehru was not 1st rate but 1.1th rate much as we hate to say that at an emotional level, being suchchhhh a Nehruphile.

No comments: