Anoushka’s great blend of Hindustani & Flamenco


Despite the fact that flamenco, the fiery song and dance genre from Andalusia/Spain, is a well known genre all over the world, it’s still not common knowledge that the genre’s ancient roots lie in gypsy music from Rajashtan/India. A great and awarded album exploring this India-flamenco connection is Traveller by renowned sitar player Anoushka Shankar. On this album – I quote from her website – “she finds her way into the nuances of modern flamenco through the vivid lens of Hindustani technique. In essence, Traveller charts the spiritual link across time and space of two highly evolved forms of musical expression, from their ancient gestation to their modern zenith.” On her homepage Anoushka Shankar adds: “I’ve always loved flamenco and had a fascination for it. There’s always been that pull towards something I find very similar in flamenco to what I cherish in Indian classical music: a kind of uninhibited musicality in expression, whether it’s a solo voice, a sitar or a guitar. Of course there were common roots and technical similarities to explore, and when you start to play with those, you can really delve down in very delicious ways. However the desire came from simply being an admirer of the music, and wanting to learn about it through making music.”
The album release in 2011 was followed by a world tour, and from this tour the inspiring and well recorded concert below is a joy for watching and listening. So, without further ado, enjoy the great musicianship and temperament of Anoushka Shankar and her fellow travellers on stage!


Anoushka Shankar’s Traveller concert at Festival Les Nuits de Fourviere (Lyon/France), July 13th, 2012

HOME

Coimbatore Thayi struck a chord in Paris


I came across an interesting article by Subha J. Rao in The Hindu about one of the first and most popular recorded female carnatic singers: Coimbatore Thayi (1872-1917). In the article, author-biographer Vikram Sampath tells about his work on reviving Coimbatore Thayi’s legacy as part of a book on female singers.

The British Gramophone Company set foot in South India in 1904 and started recording many artists, among them Coimbatore Thayi, who was one of the most popular singers in Madras. Thayi became a bestselling artist, but she died young – in her mid-forties – in 1917. On approximately 300 discs, “she recorded” – writes Rao – “a rich repertoire of songs, including the compositions of Tyagaraja, Shyama Sastri and Dikshithar, padams, javalis, the Thirupugazh… Sadly, most of them are lost to time. However, some of them can be heard on YouTube and Vikram’s Archive of Indian Music.”

The article in The Hindu takes an interesting turn when the story of Thayi moves to Europe: “She was popular abroad too. In 1911, a French musician Maurice Delage heard her soft, bhakti-filled voice in Paris and was smitten. He wrote to his teacher, Maurice Ravel, about her microtonal effects and variations (gamakas) and voice. “It sent chills up and down my spine”, he wrote. He met Thayi in Madras and even composed two sets of Western music pieces— Quatre Poèmes Hindous, one each dedicated to the cities of Madras, Banaras, Lahore and Jaipur; and a Ragamalika said to be inspired by Thayi’s rendering of an arutpa.”


Martha Angelici sings Maurice Delage’s Quatre Poèmes Hindous


Janet Baker sings Maurice Delage’s Quatre Poèmes Hindous

Today there are some recordings and photos left of Coimbatore Thayi, though very little is known of what her life was like and how she spend her childhood.

Biographer Vikram Sampath summarizes: “Thanks to some existing recordings, we know that she sang her heart out into the horn. And that she had a voice which touched a chord even in faraway Paris.”

HOME

Maati Baani, funky mingling of Hindustani & Folk

Maati Baani is a group from India centred around Nirali Kartik, a Hindustani classical trained singer. As stated on Facebook Maati Baani is “a world music band combining elements of Hindustani Classical with various styles of Folk music and New age sounds; we are like mad people set loose!! No rules, no boundaries, we simply create the sound that we love to hear with our different styles of music.” Influences they mention are: Michael Jackson, Pt. Jasraj, A.R. Rahman, Shankar Tucker, Indian Ocean, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Sting, Ustad Rashid Khan, Jack Johnson, and Coldplay. The band has done some exciting and succesful collaborations with a.o. American clarinet player Shankar Tucker and with folk singer Mooralala Marwada. I just like to add one word to characterize Maati Baani: Fun! 🙂




HOME

Pakhawaj playing at its best by the young and brilliant Mahima Upadhyay

What an amazing young talent, evry detail soo beautifully articulated. Listening to the rich sound of this rhythm queen is truly a listener’s delight. I think the Gundecha Brothers, on front row in the audience, will agree with me.

HOME

Tabla genius Zakir Hussain: “music is one of the only positive energy forces left in this world”

Something we easily tend to forget is well put here by tabla genius Zakir Hussain. When asked “what is music?” he reflects on the positive energy of music, while questioning at the same time the mindset of politicians who only hear the drums of war.

HOME

Concerten fenomenaal slidegitarist Debashish Bhattacharya in Amsterdam (08/12/2012), Utrecht (09/12/2012) en Brussel (10/12/2012)

Begin december 2012 is India’s slidegitaar-fenomeen Debashish Bhattacharya op tournee in Nederland en België: op zaterdagavond 8 december in het Tropentheater in Amsterdam, op zondagmiddag 9 december bij RASA in Utrecht en op maandagavond 10 december bij BOZAR in Brussel. Al eerder besteedde ik op m’n blog aandacht aan deze fantastische ragamuzikant uit Calcutta en ook in enkele van mijn programma’s op de Concertzender en bij de Wereldomroep gaf ik ruim baan aan zijn zingende snarenspel.


Ragaslider Debashish (rechts) en z’n broer Subashish (links) op tabla

Bij zijn optredens wordt Debashish ritmisch ondersteund door z’n broer Subashish, een van India’s beste tablaspelers. De optredens in het Tropentheater, bij RASA en in BOZAR zijn een must voor de liefhebber van de Noord-Indiase raga, maar ook voor muziekliefhebbers die minder vertrouwd zijn met ragamuziek is een optreden van Debashish Bhattacharya absoluut een geweldige muzikale belevenis.

HOME

Kala Ramnath’s musical odyssey ‘Aavartan’ is marvellous!


Summer 2012 saw Kala Ramnath‘s latest release Aavartan: A Musical Odyssey, Dawn to Dusk – 1&2. I have many of Kala’s albums and I’m very familiar with her style of playing. Still, I’m pleasantly surprised once more by what Kala has to offer on Aavartan (Cycle). Yes, as expected, her violin sings and sounds magnificent, but what strikes me is the overall depth and maturity of her refined playing, a special treat one can enjoy here for almost two hours! The recordings were done in Mumbai for Kala’s own label Kalashree. The quality of the recordings is excellent, adding up nicely to the listening experience. Kala is supported on tabla by two famous players: Abhijit Banerjee on Dusk to Dawn-1 and Subhankar Banerjee on Dusk to Dawn-2. Both albums contain six ragas, each having a particular connection with a certain time of the day or night, reflecting an ideational system based on a daily cycle of changes that occur in our own body and mind, arousing and stimulating different emotions and moods. In other words: Kala presents 12 ragas for the twenty-four hours of the day according to the time theory in Indian classical music. On Dusk to Dawn-1 Kala plays the raags Bhairav (6-8AM), Jaunpuri (8-10AM), Deshkar (10-12PM), Miya Ki Sarang (12-2PM), Patdeepki (2-4PM) and Din Ki Puriya (4-6PM). On Dusk to Dawn-2 Kala plays Hameer (6-8PM), Jaijaivanti (8-10PM), Shankara (10-12AM), Malkauns (12-2AM), Darbari (2-4AM) and Bhatiyar (4-6AM). For a great listening experience I highly recommend these recordings by the Singing Violin of India!

HOME

Kala Ramnath plays her own violin concerto with The Residence Orchestra/The Hague Philharmonic

As part of the Holland-India Festivals The Hague world famous ragaviolinist Kala Ramnath from Mumbai visits The Netherlands to play her own violin concerto, titled The seasons of India, accompanied by The Residence Orchestra/The Hague Philharmonic. The concert will be held at the Conservatory of The Hague on Saturday 10 November 2012. I wonder how Kala’s bending of notes and colourful ragaplaying style combine with the sounds of a symphony orchestra.
I found a clip on YouTube that might give a clue. It shows Kala playing with the London Symphony Strings.


Kala playing with the London Symphony Strings

I portrayed Kala for Radio Netherlands and for the Concertzender. To listen to my radio-portrayal of Kala in 2008, click here.


Excerpt of my video-recording of Kala’s concert at RASA in Utrecht, April 2006

HOME

2 Nov.’12 Amsterdam Tropentheater concert tabla legend Zakir Hussain sold out in a beat


On Friday 2 November 2012 legendary world famous tabla player Zakir Hussain will play with his Masters of Percussion group in the Great Hall of Amsterdam’s Tropentheater. Zakir Hussain will be joined on stage by young brilliant sitar player Niladri Kumar and other great musicians on a variety of instruments including the dholak, ghatam, tabla, kanjira, bansuri and sarangi. For evryone going to the concert it will be a sheer delight to witness the tabla genius playing again in The Netherlands. It will be the third time that I’ll visit a concert of him in Amsterdam. Last time was in 2008 when Zakir Hussain performed with The Masters of Percussion at the Amsterdam India Festival and somewhere in the early nineties (or was it even earlier?) I saw the king of Indian beats performing live on stage in Amsterdam with sarangi player Ustad Sultan Khan. All were memorable great events, due to Zakir’s charisma and overwhelming musical powers. There’s so much said and written about him in books, newspapers, articles and all over the web… what can I add here? Let me just add a quite recent (and quite funny) two-part video-interview with him – shown below – and maybe this one good advise: always book early when Zakir Hussain is playing in your neighbourhood! The concert in Amsterdam I’m going to on 2 November was sold out in a beat. I’m glad I won’t miss one beat of it coming Friday! 🙂


HOME