The harmonium is a great musical instrument which has remained at the lower rungs of creativity in India. Although invented in Paris by Alexander Debain in 1842 and brought to India by the British, it has become an intrinsic part of the Indian musical landscape. A large number of Hindi movie composers first try out their compositions on the harmonium.
I had never seen it in use in America until I found country singer Lisa Hannigan using it on the Colbert Report on Monday night. The particular harmonium was made by Natraj and lent an interesting dimension to Hannigan’s song. As she began playing the instrument I half expected her to start rendering a ghazal.