Monday, March 13, 2023


The Indian Music Society of Minnesota is in our program room. It's not a library program, it's just a group of people using our room to host their own. In nearly thirty years of experiencing programs here, this is the single most amazing one I've ever heard. And I'm not even getting full force of it, just drifts of the sound occasionally spilling out to me at the front desk. It is Northern Indian Music, the Khayal style of singing according to the projector screen over the woman singer and her two, accompanying musicians.

It sounds a lot like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who sang in this style, or, to convey more to those who don't know him, it sounds like you're in a twilight deep in the heart of India, pearls of smoke and Incense wandering up and around you during a festival. You smell rich, savory frying food, spices, fresh cilantro. Flowers and petals seem to be everywhere and yet, as you wander into the glowing gloom of a Hindu Temple, it strikes you that there is something somber in this festival, though you do not know what it is. You feel you have never been so far from home, and yet you feel almost peaceful, like maybe home can be everywhere, or maybe it is nowhere.

That's exactly what this music sounds like.

I have had to help this group with some of their audio visual preparation, which has been significant. They even brought their own sound system. Just now they locked themselves out of the closet that has chairs and tables so someone came to me for help. As we were walking to the meeting room I said "This is the most amazing music I have ever heard in this library."

His calmness belied the power of his comment: "And this is just the soundcheck."

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