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
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.
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.
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!
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! 🙂
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!
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.