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Indian Classical with Falu

There are two primary traditions in Indian classical music: Hindustani from northern India, and Carnatic from southern. Falu is trained in the Hindustani tradition, which places a special emphasis on improvisation. Both traditions are based on the concepts of raga and tala. Raga is the melodic structure, a series of notes akin to modes or scales, which establishes the color and the mood of a piece. There are hundreds of ragas; several dozen are used most widely. Tala (“clap” in Sanskrit) encompasses meter and rhythm, defining how the music moves through time. Changes to harmony are not as important in this tradition as they are in Western classical music. Instead, Indian classical music explores changing melodic shapes and ornaments, and the moods and feelings associated with different ragas.

Falu began her formal musical studies at the age of three in her home town of Mumbai, India. In her early years, Falu trained rigorously under the late sarangi and vocal master Ustad Sultan Khan, and later with the legendary Kishori Amonkar. She came to the US in 2000, and began to integrate her formidable Indian classical training with a range of styles and genres, resulting in a singular sound. Her original songs and reimagining of Indian classics combine the contemporary with the ancient.

Meet Falu!

Introduce your students to Falu with this “Meet Falu” video. Visit the video index to watch all the videos for Falu and the other Program Three artists.

Lessons

Lesson 1: Learning “Rabba”

Students will sing “Rabba,” and learn how melodies can be modified using ornamentation.

Lesson 2: Learning “Allahoo”

Students learn “Allahoo,” understand the scale used in the song, and compose melodies using the sargam, a form of Indian solfège.

Resources for Teachers

The following resources provide background information about the musical genre and culture. Some are intended to be shared with students; others are for teachers who may want to explore further on their own.

Listening

  • Visit falumusic.com to hear more of Falu's music.
  • Falu’s Bazaar is an album that Falu created specifically for children in three languages—English, Hindi, and Gujarati—to introduce them to Indian culture in New York City (it is available on her website).
  • Ustad Sultan Khan, “Yaman”
  • Kishori Amonkar, “Alhaiya Bilawal”

Videos

Literacy Extension

Image Credits

“Holi” by India Picture.
“Harmonium” by Volra.

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