Ragini Miyan Ki Todi

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar & Zia Fariduddin Dagar

Our first release with the rudra veena-vocal duet in raga Malkauns was recorded in Ustad Zia Mohiudding Dagar’s house in Chembur on the evening of february 4, 1968. On the very next morning he and his younger brother Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar recorded the raga that is the female counterpart of raga Malkauns, Ragini Miyan Ki Todi. The name means Miyan’s Todi and it is said to have been created by the famous Miyan Tansen, one of the 9 jewels of emperor Akbar’s court in the 16th century, as his version of the Todi raga.

The notes of this raga are Sa – komal Re – komal Ga – tivra Ma – Pa – komal Dha – Ni in the indian system, corresponding to C Db Eb F# G Ab B with C as tonic.

This album was released in september 2011. Here is the first review, from Songlines, written by Jameela Siddiqi and it’s so good I quote all of it:
One magical morning
The honorific Dagar is synonymous with dhrupad, one of the world’s oldest classical vocal genres. Zia Mohiuddin, who died in 1990, was a foremost player of the rudra veena (or been) – one of India’s oldest lutes, which is closely related to the vocal tradition. His brother Zia Fariduddin (born in 1932 and one of dhrupad’s oldest living exponents) performed this rare duet in Bombay, as Mumbai was then known, way back in 1968. This is truly a priceless recording, not only in that it takes place in the intimate surroundings of the maestros’ home but alo because one gets that delicious feeling of eavesdropping on what is strictly a private and intimate early morning affair between the performers and their recordists. Representing the 20th generation of dhrupad performers from a family that has almost singlehandedly preserved and nurtured the tradition, the two Dagars perform an exquisite “Miyan ki Todi”, an early morning raga, composed by the legendary court musician Tansen, who was a favourite of the 16th century Mughal emperor Akbar. Needless to say, this is an absolute must for dhrupad fans and is best heard at sunrise, when the vina and vocals seem to merge, becoming one and the same sound – almost as though the musicians themselves had ceased to exist.


  1. Miyan Ki Todi (54:09)


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Comments by Bahauddin Dagar, son of Z. M. Dagar

Ragini Miyan Ki Todi

The indian miniature of this ragini depicts a young woman, subtlety personified as seen from the gaze in her eyes. Her movements are brisk, she takes small leaps like the deers that are close to her. She advances in small strides and comes to a sudden halt exactly as the movements in the raga where it goes from re to dha and from ga to re to rest. This raag is sung in the winter in the early hours of the morning with a pa that brings time to a standstill.  Actually the entire ragini is depicted very clearly in the re-ga re-sa movement, but then it rediscovers itself in the ma, pa, dha and ni where the raag unfolds it’s full beauty. Such is the fragrance of Ragini Todi.

The three main movements alap, jod and jhala are the three perspectives of looking at Ragini Todi. Each of these movements also brings out the personalities of the two musicians distinctly. If one may say so Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar is like an Ocean and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar is a fireball.

The two Ustads belong to the same lineage and have not only learned from the same teacher but since both have learnt voice as well as the rudra veena, in this recording they give us astonishing exactness, subtlety and dynamic exploration of this particular ragini. It is an intimate dialogue between the two maestroes who not only share the beauty of exploration but also share with each other what they have discovered in their respective journeys of exploration. They complement each other with open ended phrases so the dialogue continues seemlessly. The two brothers never lose sight of the purity of the ragini or wavers from the framework. In complete freedom they reward us with a purely classical and emotionally fulfilling picture of this ragini in the Dhrupad tradition.