This video, produced by me and completed in 2006, contains an interview with world famous violinist Kala Ramnath, filmed in Amsterdam, September 2005. Also comments are included from interviews I did in Autumn 2005 with Kala’s guru Pandit Jasraj and with producer/recording engineer Derek Roberts, Head of Production of the Sense World Music label. Earlier on I already published a few excerpts of this video. This is the complete version.
Kala and me, after the interview
In April 2006 I also filmed a fabulous concert by Kala at RASA in Utrecht. In 2013 I published the entire concert on YouTube.
And in May 2006 I filmed a workshop by Kala at the Rotterdam Conservatory. I intend to publish some of that material as well. When ready I will add a link later on in this blogpost.
Kala’s workshop at the Rotterdam Conservatory, May 2006
Britain’s eminent raga musician Roopa Panesar is one of my favourite sitar players. Her superb rendition here of a famous Dhun in raag Bhairavi – marvellously accompanied by Bhupinder Chaggar on tabla – is a complete delight for the listener.
Deep musical knowledge, a great feel for beauty, virtuosity and an enormous amount of passion and joy comes across in her style of playing.
Playing around India – A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas, is a radio documentary I produced in 2002. [original Dutch title: Op streek in India – een portret van de Nederlandse celliste Saskia Rao-de Haas]
The documentary is mostly in dutch, but this video offers a transcript in english locked to the timetable, in order to make this production accessible for an international audience. To allow convenient reading of this transcript, you should play the video in HD (1080p).
Production date: May-June 2002. First broadcast by Concertzender on 8 November 2002, also broadcast by Radio Netherlands on 25 and 29 December 2002. Voice narrator: Wim Vriezen.
In the documentary ‘Playing around India’ (produced May-June 2002) programme maker Pieter de Rooij introduces the career of the brilliant 31-year-old (that is, in 2002) cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas. She is one of the very few people, and the only European, to play the classical ragas of North India on the cello. She is considered the only genuine cello soloist by the Indian concert going public. Her virtuosity and deep musicality have introduced a new resonance to Indian music and have been enthusiastically receieved by critics and audiences worldwide. To achieve a proper Indian sound Saskia Rao-de Haas plays on a specially modified cello: smaller (so as to be able to be played sitting on the floor), with five instead of the usual four strings, and with ten ‘sympathetic’ strings. These freely resonating strings give a beautiful Indian sound to the cello and the instrument has quickly become very popular.
For two years (speaking from 2002) Saskia Rao-de Haas has lived in New Delhi with her husband, the famous Indian sitar player Shubhendra Rao. As well as traditional raga improvisations, she and her husband play their own compositions in which they mix classical Indian music with elements from European folkmusic and Western classical music.
In May and June 2002 Saskia and Shubhendra toured outside India when, for the first time, Western audiences were able to hear the combination of sitar and cello in Indian classical music. Programme maker Pieter de Rooij caught up with the couple in Amsterdam where they gave a concert at the KIT Tropen Theatre on 25 May. Saskia talks about her music, her cello and her life in India. Her husband Shubhendra, the violin maker Eduard van Tongeren and her former teacher at the Rotterdam Conservatory, Joep Bor, all have something to say about Saskia’s amazing cello adventure. Recordings from the Amsterdam concert are heard during the documentary.
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! 🙂
Raga Unlimited growth rate figures (click on picture to enlarge)
The LinkedIn-group that I run, Raga Unlimited, launched on 12 December 2008, has now 344 members. Anyone interested and registered on LinkedIn can join, that is, after (my) admission (don’t worry, there have been no refusals so far). A lot of knowledgeable people show up in the ranks. 37% works in the music industry and 16% is active in arts & design. In 2011 the group’s membership figure more than doubled, from 150 to 343, that’s an increase of 193 members in one year. Most people joined in May (28x), June (29x) and December (29x). Today, New Year’s Day 2012, I’ve already welcomed one more newbie, so we’re talking about a membership growth rate of 1 per day so far this year :).
The group’s ‘mission statement’ (click on picture to enlarge)
I reported earlier on ‘Raga Unveiled’, an ambitious cinematic effort to take a look at the history and essence of the Hindustani classical music system. In this film – directed by Gita Desai and released in 2009 – scholars and great artists of today unveil the raga and demonstrate evrything you always would have liked to know about Indian classical music.
Here’s the trailer:
For anyone interested in raga music this 260 minute-film is a ‘must’ and of course it’s needless to say that you should see and buy the film on dvd in much better quality.