A quick flick through the reams of music clips on platforms like YouTube might leave one puzzled as to why the ancients had such reverence for music as a celestial art form. Popular culture tags music-making as a leisure pastime amplified by style and attitude – what’s hip, young, cool and ‘dope’ sells – this is the era of superstardom fueled by rap and rhyme.
Ultimately, the key feature of music’s allure is that the human body acts as a resonator for sound. The whole of manifestation has its origin in vibration, so it’s understandable then why the medium has such far-reaching effects on both psyche and body.
While some may fob off music as mere aural fluff, or ‘auditory cheesecake’, the effect sound exerts on every cell in the body makes it a powerful therapeutic tool, and the field of social epigenetics is now helping to describe how communication and emotion – prime hallmarks of music, can be linked to a transmissible, biochemical change.
The geometry implicit in natural law keeps the grid of what we experience as our 3D world resonating at a certain pitch, and when you start to consider that Indian Classical musicians have long been aware of working within this universal vibratory field, this genre of music takes on a whole new look.
Music can play an effective role in helping us lead better, more fruitful lives, and its benefits for enhancing health have shown remarkable results. Sound has been shown to help regulate the way the heart beats and affects circuits of neurons that control how we breathe. Music is also highly interactive with our cortisol stress hormone levels, and can help regulate dopamine, serotonin and other hormones and neurotransmitters.
Listening to specific kinds of music at certain times of the day has shown to impact health maintenance. And the curative power of Indian Classical music in particular is thought to emanate from the resonance of certain ragas (modal moods), which affect hormonal and glandular function and in turn produce secretions that keep the body balanced and infection free.
The music of our genes
Indian Classical music is considered to be particularly powerful in therapeutic processes because of the way ragas are developed. Technically, the drone called ‘sa’, contains the whole harmonic series. That’s why Indian musicians spend a long time singing just ‘sa’ when learning this music – the intent is to envelope consciousness.
When the ‘alaap’ begins, these movements have a specific impact on the brain cells relating to an ancient form of communication pre- language. Then players move to a sophisticated kind of note structure which is picked up by the higher cognitive functions of the brain. Our emotions get sculpted by these.
Add a bed of incredible rhythm to that and Indian classical music can excite both the primitive and higher cognitive areas and stimulate the motor cortex.
Ragas of the Valley South Africa
South African audiences can now experience the power of this profound art form first hand at Ragas of the Valley – A Duet of Santoor and Flute, Celebrating the Legacy of Shiv-Hari from Call of the Valley to Silsila at the Baxter Concert Hall, Cape Town on Saturday, 10 November 2018, and at Gold Reef City, Johannesburg on Sunday, 11 November 2018.
The upcoming Indian Classical concert highlights the therapeutic side of this celestial art form.
The showcase highlights the superb artistry of Shiv-Hari’s 1967 album, Call of the Valley, which set the benchmark for contemporary Indian classical music. This Inner Circle Entertainment production features flautist Santosh Sant, dynamic fusion performer Sandip Chatterjee on santoor, soloist Subhankar Banerjee on tabla, and pakhawaj maestro Bhawani Shankar.
The nooks and crannies typical of Indian classics may be foreign to Western ears, but the infinite power of vibration needs no Beginners Guide to embrace the unknown.
Today scientists are finding meaning in the music of our genes. They’re working on the hypothesis that DNA is actually music, and that just as a composer creates a symphony or rock song, so do our genes code proteins. Some artists will even convert your DNA sequence to musical notes, creating a musical composition that’s uniquely – you!
What: Ragas of the Valley – A Duet of Santoor and Flute, Celebrating the Legacy of Shiv-Hari from Call of the Valley to Silsila
Cape Town: Saturday, 10 November 2018, Baxter Concert Hall
Ragas of the Valley Cape Town tickets: www.webtickets.co.za,
Johannesburg: Sunday, 11 November 2018, Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City
Ragas of the Valley Johannesburg tickets: Computicket 0861 915 8000, Shoprite Checkers
Produced by: Inner Circle Entertainment, Facebook InnerCircleEntertainment, Twitter @InnerCircleLive