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Metallica`s music still rocks

Metallica has survived being called sellouts and keep rocking to sold-out crowds.

Metallica, a heavy metal group that was formed in 1981 by lead-singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, has survived many set backs on their road to fame.

When Metallica first arrived on the scene their sound was not greeted with the respect that they had hoped for. Critics and the public put their music down and told them they would never make it. Despite all of the adversity, they found that they had grown a following of fans. They were not big yet, but they were on their way.

After they lost two of their original bandmates, gained two more, put out a few albums, and gained a pretty large fan following, real tragedy struck. In 1987, the groups tourbus flipped and killed bassist Cliff Burton. Taking a few months off for grieving and searching for someone to replace him, they gained Jason Newstead and went back on the road, never skipping a beat.

After years of constant touring, the new Metallica took a break to write and produce their next album, Metallica: The Black Album. When the album came onto the scene in 1991, fans flocked to stores to pick it up, but when many got home they were disappointed to find the sound had changed. It was now slightly mellow and more emotional. Some fans and critics even went as far as to say Metallica had "sold-out."

With their next few albums, Load, ReLoad, and Garage Inc., they mellowed out their sound a great deal and even broke into blues and country like songs. The new sound created a slight controversy between their faithful fans and critics. Rumors of the group getting old, selling out, and even getting ready to retire, circulated around the media and followers.

Despite all of the rumors and criticism, Metallica continued to tour world-wide, put out a new album with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, put on a New Years concert in Michigan, wrote and performed a song for a major movie, and came off vacation to do a summer tour.

To this very day, they are criticized and put down, but if a critic or ex-fan would attend one of Metallica`s recent concerts they would see that it seems for every fan Metallica loses, they gain ten more and that they really have "sold-out," stadium seating-wise that is.

Short Takes: Jog and Jogkauns

The highly pleasing Raga Jog has, in recent times, attracted wide attention. The old dhrupad, prathama mAna Allah, set in the rAga and credited to Haji Sujan Khan has been circulating among the Agra musicians for the past several decades. Sujan Khan (the Rajput Sujan Singh, before his conversion), counted among the forebears of the Agra Gharana, was a court musician of Emperor Akbar. Whether Raga Jog actually goes that far back is a matter of conjecture. Perhaps Sujan Khan's text was adapted to the newly conceived rAga at a later time. Be that as it may, Raga Jog is a huge Agra fave and a necessary fixture in that school's armoury. Throughout this note M =shuddha and m =teevra madhyam.

Raga Jog

Raga Jog takes Tilang for its base (for Tilang see In the Khamaj Orchard ). The Carnatic Raga Nata (nATa) has some resemblance to Jog's contours. The key idea here is the insertion of the komal gandhAr in Tilang's flow through a vakra avarohi prayoga. Consider the following Tilang phrase:

G M P n P, P N S" n P M G

To that if we add M (S)g->S there obtains an AvirbhAva of Raga Jog ("->" represents a meeND).

The rishab and the dhaivat are absent. The Agra musicians use both the nishAds thus underscoring its Tilang antecedents. Elsewhere, musicians dispense with the shuddha nishAd completely and treat Jog with the komal nishAd only. Some key tonal sentences are now written down. We will adopt the two-nishAd version for the purpose of illustration. The frequency of their relative occurrence may vary but the usage almost always adheres to an old Indian principle: when two shades of the same swara are present in a musical sequence, the higher shade appears in Arohi and the lower shade in avarohi prayogas. The switch to a single nishAd (komal) version is straightforward. The ucchAraNa in Jog is leisurely and drawn out with meeNDs; it can scarcely be conveyed via the written word.

S, S n' P', M' P' N' S, g->S

The meeND g->S is a signpost of this rAga.

S G M P, nnPMP, P, M P G, M S (S)g->S

The pancham is a nyAsa swara.

G M P n P N S", S" G" G” M" (S")g"->S"

A typical uttarAnga launch.

S", P n P M P, M P N S", S” n P M G, G M G->g->S

A carefully calibrated slide G->g is sometimes deployed.

Those were the highlights of Raga Jog seen primarily from the perch of the Agra folks. Other musicians have introduced variations. The use of only one nishAd (komal) clears the deck for a stronger Kauns anga via, for instance, S, n'-g-S. That, in turn, may be further reinforced by empowering M and displacing P as the location for nyAsa. Indeed, this has been the tendency in recent times especially among those wielding the komal nishAd-only Jog. Some argue that this manner of treatment of the ‘original' Jog de facto turns it into a kind of Jogkauns. This recension of Jog, however, is not only here to stay but is considered as the dominant interpretation today.

<-- Pandit Ramashreya Jha "Ramrang" and the author

We set ball rolling with Pandit Ramashreya Jha “Ramrang." These ruminations were picked off the telephone line and are compelling as always -

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