Subroto Roy Chowdhury plays Raag Desh – De Kosmos, Amsterdam/The Netherlands – May 7th, 1973

Sitarist Subroto Roy Chowdhury (1942 – 2017) plays Raag Desh, live at De Kosmos in Amsterdam/The Netherlands – May 7th, 1973. Zamir Ahmed Khan plays tabla. Recorded by Henk Braaksma with permission by the artists. This recording is part of my Braaksma tape collection.


Sharmistha Sen – Raga Miyan Ki Malhar | House Concert – Haarlem/The Netherlands – May 11th, 1974 (Part 2)

Sitarist Sharmistha Sen plays Miyan Ki Malhar. On tabla: Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay. Part 2 of a private recording (taken from my Braaksma Collection) of a house concert in Haarlem/The Netherlands, May 11th, 1974. The photo of Sharmishta Sen was taken during this concert – the same goes for the photo of tabla player Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay (shown at the beginning). This recording is not covering her complete performance of this raag – beginning parts are missing, and unfortunately right before the end there’s a fade out.


Sharmistha Sen – Raga Madhuvanti | House Concert – Haarlem/The Netherlands – May 11th, 1974 (Part 1)

Sitarist Sharmistha Sen plays Raga Madhuvanti. First part of a private recording (taken from my Braaksma Collection) of a house concert in Haarlem/The Netherlands, May 11th, 1974. The photo of Sharmishta Sen was taken during this concert. On tabla: Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay.


Echo’s van Ravi Shankar en de sitar-explosie in het Westen – Concertzender-programma uit 2002

Eén van de grootste Indiase musici aller tijden is zonder twijfel sitarspeler Ravi Shankar (1920-2012). In 2002 besteedde de Concertzender in een door mij samengestelde aflevering van het programma Metamorfosen aandacht aan de beroemde sitarspeler die dankzij de Beatles in de jaren zestig een supersterstatus verwierf.
Ravi Shankar heeft een enorm belangrijke rol gespeeld als ambassadeur van de Indiase muziek. De titel van de uitgezonden special – ‘Echo’s van Ravi Shankar en de sitar-explosie in het Westen’ – is niet overdreven. De optredens van Ravi Shankar veroorzaakten destijds een ware sitar-rage en brachten de westerse belangstelling voor Indiase ragamuziek in een stroomversnelling.
In deze uitzending zijn onder andere unieke, door Radio Nederland Wereldomroep gemaakte opnamen van Ravi Shankar te horen uit 1957. Dankzij nauwgezette research werden deze oudste Nederlandse omroepopnamen van Ravi Shankar in januari 2002 ontdekt door Pieter de Rooij, die destijds werkzaam was bij de Wereldomroep als audio-archivaris. Voor meer informatie over de vondst van de Ravi Shankar-opnamen in het Wereldomroep-archief kun je dit artikel en deze video raadplegen.
Samenstelling, tekst en produktie: Pieter de Rooij. Presentatie: ?


A Brief Impression Of My Braaksma Indian Classical Music Collection

By the end of 2018 a friend of mine, Henk Braaksma, who’s been collecting Indian Classical Music (ICM) since the late nineteen-fifties, made me an offer to acquire/buy over his fabulous ICM-collection, consisting of mainly lp’s and tapes, containing most interesting and many great recordings in very good quality and everything very well documented and catalogued as well. Of course I was very enthusiastic and I eagerly accepted his offer, which makes me the proud owner of the ‘Braaksma ICM Collection’. In November 2019 I did a short talk on this collection for a small audience of ethnomusicologists/cultural musicologists and I showed them this video during that presentation.


All in one bow – De streken van Kala Ramnath (2006, 18 mins) / complete version on YouTube

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 workshop

Kala’s workshop at the Rotterdam Conservatory, May 2006


Britain’s eminent sitar player Roopa Panesar plays a ‘dhun’ (folk melody) in Bhairavi

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 (2002)

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.