Supplemental Program Notes for Janeman
Janeman (Beloved) (2017) [Arrangment]
for treble chorus, violin, shruti box, piano, triangle, & bongos
Text: Anonymous Goan carol in Hindi
Dedication: For the Flint Hills Children’s Choir, Janie Brokenicky, Artistic Director
Premiere: December 17, 2017 (Flint Hills Children’s Choir Concert)
McCain Auditorium | Manhattan, KS
Available for purchase here.
The vast Asian subcontinent of India is a rich tapestry of human traditions, cultures, languages, and musics. In India, the second-most populous country in the world, holding almost a fifth of all humanity, peoples of all kinds are intermingled across the countryside. India has more than two thousand different ethnic groups, 122 major languages and 1599 other tongues and dialects. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians (Parsis), Jews, and countless others live and worship in a patchwork quilt of communities.
There is a saying in India that you’ve only to walk a few miles down the road to find another dialect. The same is true of its musics. While broadly speaking one can separate the ancient Indian classical tradition into two halves, the Northern (also called the Hindustani) and the Southern (or Carnatic), both parts are in turn multi-faceted into hundreds, if not thousands, of local traditions. (It is worth remembering that the Indus river valley civilization, the ancient root of modern India, is amongst the oldest in the world. The music of India and its theoretical framework are far older than the Greek musical system that was the cradle of Western art music).
It is difficult to represent the intricacies of the classical Indian tradition for an audience unaccustomed to its sound, materials, and techniques. This music is an attempt to weave together the barest elements of several different traditions.
To begin with, the melody and text for this piece, Janeman, are drawn from the oral tradition of the Konkani-speaking Catholic community of Goa, where the Portuguese ruled from 1510 to 1961. There was a vernacular hymn tradition amongst the Catholics of Goa even before the Second Vatican Council, though it blossomed following its reforms. The text of this piece, however, is one of a handful of carols in the traditional Goan repertory in the Hindi language rather than the Konkani. It has no attributable author; its provenance and age are unknown. There are Goan church musicians who assert considerable antiquity of some of their repertoire, even going back to the 17th century or earlier, but documentation is unavailable in English-language scholarship to substantiate such ancient provenance as of yet.
Structurally, the piece begins with a prelude akin to an alap, the unmetered opening section, typical of North Indian classical music, that introduces and develops the nuances of the mode, or raga.* The alap does not use percussion or strict rhythm; rather, it freely explores the sound of the music to come, accompanied by a drone, in this case a “shruti box" (shruti literally means tone or pitch), a kind of specialized harmonium developed as a substitute for the stringed tanpura.** At the conclusion of the alap, percussion enters to provide metrical structure. The bongo, standing in for the traditional Indian tabla, a pair of drums with an intricate and expressive performance technique, plays a simplified version of tintal, one of the most common tals, or metrical patterns, in Indian music.
*It should be noted that this piece does not use a true raga. Ragas are far more complex and come in far greater variety than our major and minor modes and their derivative keys. There are literally hundreds of ragas, though only a fraction are commonly used. Ragas also often utilize intervals smaller than our equal-tempered half-step. Because Goa was so long in the political and cultural hold of Portugal, its music (and the original melody of this carol) was heavily influenced by Western modes.
**Instrumentation Note: The drone for this piece is intended to be played by an acoustic shruti box, but a variety of shruti box applications for computers and mobile devices are commercially available, which could be amplified through a speaker. Alternatively, any instrument or combination of instruments capable of sustaining a uniform pitch could be substituted (e.g. 1-2 cellos, organ, hurdy-gurdy, etc).
IPA Pronunciation Guide
Ao Yesu Bhaktoun!
[aːo 'je.zu bak.'tun]
Bale Yesu ka darshan karein!
['ba.le 'je.zu ka dar.'ʃan ka.'ren]
hame prarthanam karein;
['ha.me 'prar.θa.nam ka.'ren]
gaen useki mahima!
[gen u.'se.ki 'ma.hi.ma]
Janeman, O Janeman,
['dʒa.ne.man o 'dʒa.ne.man]
Mariyam kala le Janeman,
[ma.'ri.jam 'ka.la le 'dʒa.ne.man]
Dekho Prabhu Kripale Janeman.
['de.ko 'pra.bu kri.'pa.le 'dʒa.ne.man]
Dade kenagane mein,
['da.de ke.na.'ga.ne men]
Bethlehem shahare mein,
['bet.le.hɛm ʃa.'ha.re men]
gavon ke gaushala mein,
[ga.'von ke gaːu.'ʃa.la . men]
Dute gana sunate hain,
['du.te 'ga.na su.'na.te haːɪn]
Yesu ka paigam;
['je.zu ka paːɪ.'gam]
Gate hain Yesu nam me,
['ga.te haːɪn 'je.zu nam me]
aur Khushi ka nagare.
[aːur 'ku.ʃi ka na.'ga.re]
O Jesus' followers!
behold the way of Jesus!
we offer our prayers;
And we bless
His glorious name!
Beloved, O Beloved!
Beautiful Mary, hold your Beloved,
Look at your Blessed Lord, your Beloved!
Amidst the Mother’s lullaby,
In the city of Bethlehem,
Amongst the cows of the village,
[There you are] Emmanuel, our Beloved!
We are listening to the song,
to Jesus’ message;
We are one in the name of Jesus,
And [one in] the City of Happiness.
Simplified Pronunciation Guide
a - AH as in wand
e - EH as in hate
i - EE as in weed
o - OH as in woe
u / ou - OO as in duty
*Exceptions: Loan words “Yesu” (YEH-zoo) & “Jehavalom” (yeh-HAH-vah-lohm).
g - hard, as in got
j - as in Jane*
s - as in see*
sh - as in ship
th - as in then