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.

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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! 🙂


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Raga playing on a piano? I don’t think so.

Watch the video below and ask yourself: is this raga-playing? I don’t think so. No ‘wavy notes’ here, a ‘first requirement’ in raga music. How to really expose a raag’s melodic material in detail if you can’t bend the notes in order to reveal the raag’s mood and character in all its nuances? And running parallel to this problem of execution is the tuning and scale-problem. Only a limited number of ragas is candidate for being ‘adapted’ to the piano. Otherwise: Utsav Lal is definitely very talented and I admire his playing and musical efforts.

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Playing around India : A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-De Haas (2002)

Playing around India – A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas, a radio documentary by Pieter de Rooij, 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.

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Recensies 2007: muziek uit Congo, Cuba, Brazilië, India, USA, Australië

Hier zijn nog een aantal van mijn cd-reviews voor Mixed No.1, verschenen in de zomer van 2007. Besproken worden releases uit 2007 van Papa Noël (Congo), Ricardo Tete (Brazilië), Marcio Faraco (Brazilië/Frankrijk), Susheela Raman (India/UK), Joan Manuel Serrat (Spanje/Cuba) en Bob Brozman (USA).
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Klik enkele keren op de foto om te vergroten en de recensies te kunnen lezen.

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Recensies : Kumar Bose / Swapan Chaudhuri / Anindo Chatterjee / Ulhas Kashalkar / Kaushiki Chakrabarty

Hier zijn drie van mijn cd-reviews voor Mixed No.1, verschenen in de zomer van 2007. Van het label Sense World Music bespreek ik albums van Kumar Bose (tabla), Swapan Chaudhuri (tabla), Anindo Chatterjee (tabla), Ulhas Kashalkar (zang) en Kaushiki Chakrabarty (zang). Klik op de foto (en daarna nog een keer om verder te vergroten) om de reviews te lezen.

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Artikel uit 2002 nav vondst Wereldomroep-opnamen Ravi Shankar uit 1957

Hieronder een stukje dat ik schreef voor het personeelsblad van de Wereldomroep nav mijn sensationele vondst op 4 januari 2002 in het Wereldomroeparchief van tot dan toe anoniem weggeborgen opnamen uit 1957 van Ravi Shankar. Zie hierover ook mijn video op Youtube. Ravi Shankar speelde op maandagmiddag 27 mei 1957 – zo heb ik achterhaald – bij de Wereldomroep twee stukken: Raag Tilak Shyam en een Dhun (volksmelodie), met begeleiding van Chatur Lal op tabla en Nodu Mullick op tanpura. In 2002 heb ik de opnamen laten horen in een door mij geproduceerde special over Ravi Shankar voor De Concertzender en enkele jaren daarna zijn de opnamen ook uitgezonden door de NPS-radio.
Klik op de foto hieronder (en daarna opnieuw om verder te vergroten) om mijn korte artikel te lezen.

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In de VPRO-Gids (Nr.8, 2002) werd ook aandacht besteed aan mijn vondst. Klik op de foto hieronder om een kort VPRO Gids-artikel te lezen over een door mij geproduceerde Ravi Shankar radiospecial voor de Concertzender, waarin de historische Wereldomroepopnamen voor het eerst op de radio te horen waren.

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Youtube-video on my find of Ravi Shankar recordings from 1957

Ravi ShankarMy latest Youtube-video is concerned with a sensational find I did of a recording of Ravi Shankar, made by Radio Netherlands in 1957. I did this find already in January 2002. It might be nice for viewers of my Youtube-channel who are interested in Indian classical music to learn about this interesting historical recording. For more details, see the ‘more info’-section attached to the Youtube-video .

Gronings initiatief start concertserie Indiase Klassieke Muziek op topniveau

De Indiase klassieke muziek kan zich verheugen op een prachtig initiatief in het Hoge Noorden van Nederland. De stichting Ragamala~Nada~Yoga~Groningen organiseert -vlak voordat op 13 november in Amsterdam het grote India Festival losbarst- haar eerste concert op zaterdagavond 8 november 2008, met twee muzikanten die internationaal een grote reputatie hebben opgebouwd: Tarun Bhattacharya op santur en Sandip Bhattacharya op tabla.

Concertposter Tarun Bhattacharya en Sandip Bhattacharya

Een leuk primeurtje voor het klein, maar fijne nieuwe podium is Continue reading