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Category: tamboura

Tuesday, 10/30/12

refuge from the storm

Hariprasad Chaurasia, bansuri (bamboo flute)
Raag Shivanjali, live, Germany (Stuttgart), 1995

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lagniappe

art beat: more from Friday’s stop at the Art Institute of Chicago

Utagawa Hiroshige, Sparrows and Camellia in Snow, c. 1831-33

 

*****

reading table

singing in the tree
are you a widower, Crow
Milky Way above

—Kobayashi Issa, 1804 (translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)

Thursday, 6/21/12

24 hours of ragas

On Thursday, June 21st WKCR-FM will feature a historic first in radio broadcast: a live raga marathon with 24 musicians performing in 24 hours! Curated by Brooklyn Raga Massive and HarmoNYom, the festival will start on Wednesday, June 20th at midnight and end on Thursday June 21st at midnight. Raga, which literally means “to color the mind,” are musical modes in Indian Classical Music that correspond with specific times of the day or the night. All Ragas in the festival will correspond to the time of their performance. Read more for the schedule of the festival:

12am Neel Murgai – Sitar
1am Sameer Gupta and Ehren Hanson – Tabla Duo
2am Achyut Joshi – Vocal
3am Iklhaq Hussain – Sitar
4am Anjana Roy and Sanjay Rajan Pal – Sitar and Tabla
5am Akshay Anantapadmanabhan – Mridangam
6am Indrajit Roy Chowdhury – Sitar
7am Daisy Paradis – Sitar
8am Samarth Nagarkar – Vocal
9am Eric Fraser – Flute
10am Falu Shah – Vocal
11am Shanti Sivani – Vocal
12pm Steve Gorn – Flute
1pm Karavika – Violin & Cello
2pm Gargi Shinde – Sitar
3pm Camila Celin – Sarod
4pm Kedar Naphade – Harmonium
5pm Vivek Rudrapatna – Carnatic Violin
6pm Jay Gandhi – Flute
7pm Andrew Mendelson – Sitar
8pm Arun Ramamurthy – Carnatic Violin
9pm Ashvin Bhogendra – Carnatic Vocal
10pm Oded Tzur – Saxophone
11pm Kiran Ahluwalia – Vocal

On Tabla & Harmonium accompaniment:
Nitin Mitta, Sameer Gupta, Ehren Hanson, Naren Budhakar, Dan Weiss, Stephen Celluci, Andrew Shantz

On Mridingam accompaniment:
Akshay Anantapadmanabhan

*****

Nikhil Banerjee, sitar (with Kanai Dutta, tabla)
Rag Bhimpalasri, Rag Multani (35:42-)
Live, Netherlands (Rotterdam), 1970

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

There’s no “Indian music” in India.

Thursday, 3/15/12

Too much beauty in your life?

Well, I guess you can skip this.

Shivkumar Sharma, santoor
Hariprasad Chaurasia, bansuri (bamboo flute)
Raga Bhoopali, live, India (Mumbai), 1995 (music begins at 3:55)

More Pandit Sharma? Here.

More Pandit Chaurasia? Here.

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lagniappe

reading table

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

—Jack Gilbert, “A Brief for the Defense” (Collected Poems, 2012)

Saturday, 8/6/11

sounds of India
(an occasional series)

All knotted up?

You’ve come to the right place.

Nikhil Banerjee (1931-1986), sitar
Live, Raag Malkauns (excerpt)

The best way to listen to this?

Here’s what I suggest: somewhere out of the way, headphones, eyes closed.

At the end you’ll be a different person than you were at the beginning.

(That’s a good thing, right?)

*****

More? Here. And here. And here.

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lagniappe

reading table

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

—Wallace Stevens, “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm”

Thursday, 4/14/11

If all the music in the world were an ocean, what I’ve heard might fill a thimble.

Nikhil Banerjee, sitar, October 14, 1931-January 27, 1986

Raga Gara, live (TV broadcast)

*****

Raga Hemant, live, Amsterdam, 1970 (Raga Records 1994)

More? Here. And here.

Wednesday, 1/26/11

Sometimes you don’t know you have a thirst until you hear a musician
who quenches it.

Nikhil Banerjee (sitar), October 14, 1931-January 27, 1986

Raag Maluha Kaylan (excerpts), live (with Anindo Chatterjee, tabla)

Part 1

***

Part 2

***

Part 3

***

Part 4

Want more? Here.

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lagniappe

radio gems: Indian music

Raag Aur Tal
WKCR-FM
New York (Columbia University)
Sunday, 7:00-9:00 p.m. (EST)

Recordings, interviews, live studio performances—this program has it all.
A companion show, Morning Ragas, airs on Sunday morning
(6:00-8:00 a.m. [EST]).

Tuesday, 4/27/10

Indian Music Festival, part 4

This instrument, in this man’s hands, makes some of the most haunting sounds I’ve ever heard.

Hariprasad Chaurasia, bansuri (bamboo flute), with Zakir Hussain, tabla, Raga Chandrakauns, live, India (Pune), 1992

*****

lagniappe

Want more Indian music?

part 1: Ali Akbar Khan, sarod

part 2: Nikhil Banerjee, sitar, with Zakir Hussain, tabla

part 3: Shivkumar Sharma, santoor, with Zakir Hussain, tabla

Wednesday, 3/31/10

Indian Music Festival, part 2

Nikhil Banerjee, sitar

With Zakir Hussain (tabla), live

*****

Raga Bhimpalasi (Alap [opening section])

*****

Raga Bhairavi

*****

Raga Manj Khammaj, with Ali Akbar Khan (sarod)

Part 1

***

Part 2

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lagniappe

In my own listening, I have sometimes felt that a raga symbolizes the states of a person’s life in reverse order. The open-ended introduction, or the alap, with its meditative quality, seems to reflect the wisdom of the elder sage, or sannyasin. As the raga progresses, and the rhythmic pulse and melodic development begins, one meets the adult in full control of his or her faculties in the prime of life. There is a healthy balance between bursts of improvisation and the observance of structure. Toward the end, as the raga accelerates and approaches a climax, one enters the childlike realm, where the desire to display virtuosity is strongest, and the performers throw caution to the wind and go for broke. But for many musicians and connoisseurs, this is where the raga has lost its purity, with the delicate opening alap seen as the “true essence” of raga.—Peter Lavezzoli, The Dawn of Indian Music in the West (2006)

*****

A musician must lift up the souls of the listeners, and take them towards Space.—Nikhil Banerjee

Tuesday, 3/30/10

Indian Music Festival, part 1

Ali Akbar Khan, sarod

Raga Brindabani Sarang

*****

Raga Marwa

Part 1

***

Part 2

*****

Raga Shree

Part 1

***

Part 2

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lagniappe

Zakir Hussain on Ali Akbar Khan (following his death last year)

*****

Yehudi Menuhin on Ali Akbar Khan

An absolute genius . . . the greatest musician in the world.

*****

Philip Glass on Indian Music

The thing I learned from Ravi [Shankar] is that the rhythmic structure could become an overall musical structure. In our Western tradition that’s simply not the case. . . . There [India], rhythm is used in the way that timbre and pitch and other aspects are used. In the West we have an alliance between harmony and melody. That’s the basic alliance: rhythm comes along to liven things up. . . . There [India], the tension is between the melody and the rhythm, not between the melody and the harmony. . . . The moment that the tala, or the rhythmic structure, comes up and meets against the melodic structure at the sum—when the beats come together—that’s the resolution in Indian music. The complications that the cyclic rhythmic structure can create, and the effects to the melodic development, open up a whole different way of thinking about music. And that’s basically what I heard. I knew nothing like that in my own personal experience, or in any Western music that I knew.—Philip Glass (in William Duckworth, Talking Music [1995])

*****

Ali Akbar Khan on Music

For us, as a family, music is like food. When you need it you don’t have to explain why, because it is basic to life.

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