‘raga unveiled’ documentary comes to montreal

Take a journey into the mystical origins of North Indian classical music in Raga Unveiled. The new film from Gita Desai (who also brought us the seminal yoga doc, Yoga Unveiled) will premiere in Montréal on Monday, May 17 with a special screening at La Sala Rossa. Gita will be in attendance at the screening. Raga, literally translated as “colour” or “mood,” is at essence a series of five or more notes upon which a melody is made, although the form is much more complex and subtle than definition allows. The practice of mantra yoga (recitation of sacred syllables) is rooted in the mysticism of raga. The film delves into the history, philosophy, theory, technique and spiritual significance of this transcendental musical form.

Raga Unveiled
7:30 pm, Monday, May 17
La Sala Rossa (4848 St Laurent)
Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door
Co-presented by Naada Yoga and the Kabir Cultural Centre

Yoga Unveiled
4 pm, Sunday, May 16
Naada Yoga (5540 Casgrain Ave)
Tickets $5

  1. Thanks for this amazing trailer. I just ordered the DVD.

    Long before I took up Yoga I was interested in Indian music. I was mesmerized by an Ali Akbar Khan concert in high school. And I was always aware that the flamenco guitar music I play seemed to have a lot more in common with Indian classical music than Western music. I was also vaguely aware that the gypsies I lived with in Andalusia might have emigrated originally from India.

    Now that I’m into Yoga and flamenco have the same roots in northern India–the singing, the dance, the improvisation, the ascendancy of rhythm, the melisma of the voice. Talk about union!

    Watch this video of the guys I hung out with in Spain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQicHMW7J5w

    Then listen to my CD’s, especially “American Gypsy” http://padreehijo.bandcamp.com/

    Bob Weisenberg

    • thanks for sharing, bob! interesting parallels. your music is beautiful…

      • Thanks, GW.

        One thing that made me so happy about this trailer is the film’s unequivocal embrace of the Yogic spirituality inherent in music. When I first wrote the following blog, I thought I might be stretching things a little bit, not in my eyes, but to the eyes of Yoga. This trailer evaporated any small remaining concerns I had.

        Flamenco Guitar as Yoga Philosophy

        Yoga is universal truth. It’s just one way of looking at ageless reality. The greatest Yoga thinkers say so. If that’s true, then one can be practicing Yoga without even knowing it, without even knowing it exists.

        I’ve been practicing Yoga all my life, even though I went to my first Yoga class relatively recently.

        When I play guitar it has all the elements of Yoga, and I’ve always loved it for those very reasons.

        I am completely in the moment for hours at a time. As I improvise, I need to suspend my ego, or nothing of interest will emerge.

        I relax all my muscles and breathe deeply to still my mind. I gently focus on the action of my fingers on the strings and the nuances of the sound they are creating.

        I feel the music in my bones, in my body, in my spirit, in my emotions, only secondarily in my head.

        I gently stretch myself to my limits, but not beyond. I lose all sense of time.

        Without any intervening thinking, I feel I am communing directly with the universe. I am purely aware in a way that transcends normal conscious thought.

        I’ve been doing this instinctively since I was 14. It’s what music has always been about for me. It’s the same universal truth that is Yoga philosophy.

        –from http://YogaDemystified.com

  2. this is only one style of Indian music. I wish more attention would be paid to South India’s carnatic music tradition. Many people think northern Hindustani music is the ONLY music in India just as people think Hindi is the ONLY language in India. I am biased as my heart is in Tamil Nadu, but the south has just as rich a tradition in language, literature, and music as the north does.

    • I don’t doubt this, Linda, and I’d like to learn about that music, too.

      In this case, though, the Spanish Gypsies reportedly emigrated from northern India, so that’s my current focus.


  3. Hi Bob:

    Your comments about yoga emanating from other practices has always made sense to me. Not everyone will find the deeper meanings of yoga through formal asana and pranayama.

    I recently read an article on the late George Na’ope, a legendary kumu hula in Hawaii (where I grew up)–and it struck me how hula (serious hula, which is a spiritual practice and way of life) is akin to yoga.

    In addition to their shared physical and mental elements, both have become commodified, sexualized, and “entertainment.” Expect a post on this soon!

    Nice to recognize you people: Bob, Linda, and Roseanne;-)


  4. hey spy…which is why as Krishnamacharya said “yoga is life.”