About Pieter de Rooij

my name: Pieter de Rooij born: december 1963 academic studies: Anthropology, Ethnomusicology (Masters degree in Social Anthropology in 1988, University of Amsterdam) after finishing university I was also educated in music library work work: trenching and digging in the audio-archives of Radio Netherlands other activities: regular producer of world music programmes for dutch radiostation De Concertzender ; writer on (world) music and cd-reviewer for world music magazine ‘Mixed’ ; music consultant special interests in music: Indian classical (raga)music ; world music ; opera ; western classical music ; jazz ; film music other special interests: literature and films purpose of my blog: to inform you about my activities concerned with (world) music and -occassionally- other obsessive matters I'd love to hear from you. I f you want to respond or share your views leave a reply or send me an email: info@tonalties.nl

Best releases of 2013 | Pieter de Rooij’s Top 15

01. Anupama Bhagwat (India) – Ether | Raga/Hindustani
Anupama Bhagwat


02. Valentina Lisitsa (USA) – Rachmaninov: The Piano Concertos | Western Classical
Valentina Rach concerti


03. Valentina Lisitsa (USA) – Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt | Western Classical
Valentina plays Liszt


04. Sarah Jarosz (USA) – Build Me Up From Bones | Bluegrass/Folk/Americana
Sarah Jarosz


05. Buika (Spain) – La Noche Mas Larga | Flamenco/Jazz
Buika La Noche


06. Rokia Traoré (Mali) – Beautiful Africa | Blues/Rock
Rokia Traoré


07 Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer (USA) – Child Ballads | Folk
Child Ballads


08. Debashish Bhattacharya (India) – Beyond the Ragasphere | Raga/Hindustani/Crossover
Debashish Bhattacharya


09. Anoushka Shankar (India) – Traces of You | Raga/Crossover
Anoushka Shankar


10. Natacha Atlas (Belgium/UK) – Live in Toulouse | Arabian pop
Natacha Atlas


11. Valerie June (USA) – Pushin’ Against A Stone | Folk/Blues/Soul
Valerie June


12. Jyotsna Srikanth (India) – Call Of Bengalore | Raga/Carnatic/Crossover
Jyotsna Srikanth


13. Eva Quartet & Hector Zazou (Bulgaria/France) – The Arch | Crossover/Experimental
Eva Quartet & Hector Zazou


14. Hilary Hahn (USA) – In 27 Pieces : The Hilary Hahn Encores | Western Classical
Hilary Hahn


15. Various Artists (Brazil) – Daora: Underground Sounds of Urban Brasil | Hiphop/Afro/Dub


Great documentaries concerned with various aspects of Indian classical music

I came across some very interesting documentaries concerned with various aspects of Indian classical music.

SaReGa, produced in 2010 and directed by Valerie Berteau, is a film introducing Hindustani music. Musical notes have the power to affect and enhance our feelings. The Hindi/Urdu word “rag” means color, or passion. Therefore, a raga can be defined as an accoustic method of coloring the mind of the listener with emotion. For centuries, its oral transmission has maintained the essential qualities of this remarkable tradition.

Koi Sunta Hai (Someone is Listening): Journeys with Kumar & Kabir, was produced in 2008 and directed by director Shabnam Virmani. This film interweaves the poetry of North Indian 15th century mystic poet Kabir with the life and music of the late Indian classical singer Kumar Gandharva.

Man of Collection, produced in 2008 and directed by Mohani Bhoj, tries to document the journey of a man who has spent 35 years of his life putting together the golden age of Hindi cinema that has nearly got erased from our collective memories. The journey of musical greats like Anil Biswas, Khemchandra Prakash, Naushad and musical renditions of classical ragas like daadra, dhrupad, thumari, ghazals, bhajans by great singers and compositions of various musicians is the wealth of this one man Pritam T. Manghani. From the first record to be made in India (singer Gauhar Jahan’s) to the last lp of hindi films (Veer-Zaara), from classical music to folk songs in any language, to advertisements in old records, to speeches of political figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to recitations of great poets like gurudev rabindranath Tagore, india’s nightangle Sarojini Naidu, the revolutionary poet kavi kazi nazrul islam etc. Other than collecting gems from the world of sound, Pritamji is a proud owner of old film magazines, pamphlets & posters. But what he likes most from his treasure is the Edison collection. Looking at Edison’s laboratory record he says ” Without Edison we wouldn’t have experienced the world of sound”.

Sound Yoga/Nada Yoga: The Healing Power of Sacred Sound was produced in 2004 and directed by Jay Weidner. Teacher, vocalist and sound healer Shanti Shivani introduces the mystic practice of Nada Yoga. Nada Yoga is the core of Dhrupad, the most ancient style of Hindustani classical music.


26 May 2013: double concert in Amsterdam celebrating Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s 75th birthday

Not to be missed on Sunday 26 May 2013! A double concert in De Meervaart in Amsterdam to celebrate the 75th birthday of bansuri maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

The programme of the celebration concert:

Concert 1 14.30-16.00
Meeta Pandit, vocal ; Sandip Bhattacharya, tabla ; Rafiq Ahmed, sarangi ; Rohit Vyas and Martin Spaink, tanpura.

Concert 2 16.30-18.00
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, bansuri/bamboo flute ; Subhankar Banerjee, tabla ; Stephanie Bosch, tanpura.

Tickets for the concert in Amsterdam on Sunday 26 May can be booked online via http://www.meervaart.nl/ Price for a ticket is € 26.

A beautiful recording, Hariprasad Chaurasia plays Raag Malkauns

A promo for ‘Bansuri Guru’ (2013), a film highlighting
life and career of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia


‘Harmony of the Spheres’ van Joep Franssens – weldadig mooi!

‘Harmony of the Spheres’ van de Nederlandse componist Joep Franssens is een op teksten van Spinoza getoonzet vijfdelig werk voor gemengd koor en (alleen in het middelste derde deel) kamerorkest. Meer informatie over dit werk vind je o.a. hier. Wat Franssens er zelf over heeft gezegd vind je hier en voor een diepgaande, muziekwetenschappelijke analyse klik je hier.

Een prachtige kerngedachte van Spinoza, die Franssens nadrukkelijk gebruikt in begin- en slotdeel van z’n ‘Harmony of the Spheres’, licht ik er nog even uit:
“Animi tamen non armis, sed amore et generositate vincuntur.”
(“Niet door wapens, maar door liefde en edelmoedigheid worden harten gewonnen.”)

Weldadig mooi!


‘Kathy’s Song’ wonderfully covered by brilliant singer Sarah Jarosz

Ever since her beautiful debut album Song Up In Her Head I’m a great admirer of the young and fabulous American singer/songwriter Sarah Jarosz. Last week I was struck by her touching recent live performance of Simon & Garfunkel’s Kathy’s Song, recorded at The Troubadour in Los Angeles.

The lyrics:
I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.

My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

And a song I was writing is left undone
I don’t know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can’t believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I.


KITLV presents a streamable free collection of popular music from Indonesia

KITLV / Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies has put online a substantial collection of popular music from Indonesia. Thousands of songs from the 20th century – traditional, popular and locally inspired – are freely available and can be streamed through a renewed media library. The added contextual data and images of the original records make a collection that was previously hard to find, into a unique source for contemporary and cultural history of Indonesia. Click here to try out this music collection.


Vidya Vandana & Shankar Tucker: ‘Rang Lo’ (a song in the spirit of Holi)

The rough translation of the song:
“This is the story of a girl, restless in thought, who wants to take the road less traveled. A girl who refuses to let her feet touch the ground and desires independence from the path that was chosen for her. She packs her belongings and wants to fly, away from her constraints and bonds. She wants to let her thoughts fly with her through a path like the one a kite takes in the wind. On her journey, she sees the world shimmering with color and all things living, dancing and singing to the tune of freedom.”


‘Stink’, a blues-rock classic

The album Stink by Canadian band McKenna Mendelson Mainline, released in 1969, is a classic. It’s been one of my favourite blues-rock albums since my high school days. The songs are full of energy and some of them are very straightforward* in evry way. On YouTube I’ve tracked them all down and put them one after another below here, in the same order as on the album. Enjoy! 🙂


* Let me add that the word ‘straightforward’ might be interchangeable here with ‘sexist’ or perhaps even ‘male chauvinist’, choose as you like. Also, when I started liking this music, as a 14 year old in 1978, I never could have imagined writing a footnote like this some 35 years later. 🙂