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.

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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!

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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

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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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Amelia Cuni’s beautiful interpretation of John Cage’s ‘Solo for Voice 58: 18 Microtonal Ragas’

Early September 2012 I heard (and met) Italian dhrupad singer Amelia Cuni in Göttingen, where she did a concert titled Cosmopolit@n Ragas. It was a beautiful musical event in two parts, starting out with Amelia Cuni’s performance of a raga in traditional dhrupad style. Then she took things in another direction by presenting her dhrupad-styled improvisational skills in a very different musical framework: she performed John Cage‘s Solo for Voice 58: 18 Microtonal Ragas. Here I like to share a beautiful recording of Amelia Cuni interpreting this work of John Cage. Enjoy!

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Violin icons of East & West meet up: Kala Ramnath and Hilary Hahn

A meeting up of world famous violin players from different classical traditions is not an evryday phenomenon. Recently it happened to Hindustani classical (raga) performer Kala Ramnath and Western classical player Hilary Hahn. Kala wrote a piece for Hilary and in this video she explains a few basics of raga music and about the piece she’s done for Hilary.

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