Monday, 22 May 2017

Bundo Khan (1880-1955) - Sarangi Nawaz - LP released in Pakistan in 1974


Bundo (Bundu) Khan was one of or perhaps the greatest Sarangi player of 20th century. He had a very particular style and played also on a very particular Sarangi.
We posted in 2012 a broadcast on him:
The same year we also posted some more recordings:
Interesting information on the artist you can find under the first of these links.




Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Nathoo Khan (1920-1971) - Sarangi - LP published in 1972 in Pakistan


Nathoo (Nathu) Khan was one of the greatest Sarangi players of the 20th century. Here his only LP, published posthumously. He was for me the first Raga musician I ever heard consciously, on the LP "Pakistani Soul Session" (in 1968), and whose music fascinated me so much that the love for Raga music in general, for Sarangi and this artist in particular never left me afterwards. Everything started with him. 
See here our post from 2011 of the LP Pakistani Soul Session, containing an article on the artist.
See also:





Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Nabi Bakhsh Khan (1910-1989) - Sarangi Nawaz - LP published in 1977 in Pakistan


Here we continue with our series of Pakistani Sarangi players. Ustad Nabi Bakhsh Khan was one of the most refined Sarangi players of his time.
Here what DrKashyap said:
"Here is info about Ustad Nabi Baksh Khan (credit to my friend Ali Zafar from Lahore):
Born in 1910 in Jhajjar, Ustad Nabi Buksh belonged to the illustrious Panipat Gharana of sarangi players. His father Chaman Ali Khan died when Nabi Buksh was still very young. He learned the art of sarangi playing from his maternal uncle Hussain Buksh (Giyani Khan) and later from the illustrious Badal Khan of Panipat. He became a staff artist of All India Radio Delhi at a very young age. After Partition he joined Radio Pakistan Lahore as a staff artist and served there till his retirement in 1980. Ustad Nabi Buksh was an exceptional accompanist and played with the great singers of his time like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Barkat Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Salamat Ali/Nazakat ali, Roshan ara Begam, Umeed Ali Khan etc. He also played solo and also has some LP records to his credit. He was awarded the Pride of Performance Award in 1986. Ustad Nabi Buksh Khan died in 1989 in Lahore. His sons Irfan Nabi Bukhsh and Israr Nabi Buksh are carrying forward his musical tradition of sarangi playing." 
There exist a number of other recordings on YouTube etc. He accompanied a number of the Pakistani singers we have posted here on our blog, like the four cassettes by Roshan Ara Begum.





Saturday, 6 May 2017

Hamid Hussain (1923-1980) & Zahid Hussain - Sarangi - LP released in Pakistan in 1975


We start now to post a series of five LPs by great masters of the Sarangi from Pakistan. After that we will post two more recordings from Pakistan, which was a true treasure house of classical Raga music up to the early 1980s.
We start with an LP by Hamid Hussain, one of the greatest Sarangi players of the past century. Here he plays Jugalbandis (duets), on side 1 with his younger brother, also a Srangi player, on side 2 with Sharif Hussain, the leading Sarod player in Pakistan at that time. It seems that Sarod always was a quite rare instrument in Pakistan.
We had already in July 2011 posted an LP by the artist. See here.
The book "Master Musicians of India - Hereditary Sarangi Players Speak" by Regula Burckhardt Qureshi contains a wonderful chapter on and by Hamid Hussain (pages 269 to 289), the most fascinating part of the whole book.  




wave
mp3

“Ustad Hamid Husain belonged to the illustrious Muradabad Gharana of sarangi players. He was born in Rampur in 1923. Soon after his birth, his grandfather Haider Husain Khan along with father Abid Husain joined the court of Rampur. The young Hamid received his initial training in sarangi from his father and grandfather. He also got training in sarangi from his maternal unclce Ustad Ali Jan of Rampur.
Hamid Husain joined the All India Radio, Delhi when he was only 15 years old. After the death of his grandfather, he shifted to Bombay in 1939. It was during his tenure there that Noor Jehan as a teenager was auditioned and sang for the first time on Radio accompanied by Hamid Husain. In 1943 he went on an extensive tour of Europe where he gave solo sarangi performances.
Ustad Hamid Husain accompanied most of the senior vocalists of his time including Ustad Fayyaz Khan, Ustad Amir Khan, Begum Akhtar (Akhtar Bai Faizabadi), Roshan Ara Begum, Ustad Nazakat Ali-Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ustad Amanat Ali-Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. He had enjoyed a lengthy association with Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. After independence in 1947, he joined Radio Pakistan, Dacca and was later transferred to Karachi where he served until his death.
In addition to the knowledge he gained from his own gharana, the experience of accompanying various vocalists of different gharanas enhanced his scope and from a young age, Hamid Husain became a storehouse of traditional compositions (bandishein).
Apart from his artistic excellence, Ustad Hamid Husain was one of the few musicians who were foremost in promoting classical music by generously transferring the art to non-professional learners. He never kept anything away from his disciples. The long list of his professional and amateur students includes Dinaz Minwala, M. Iqbal, Dr Regular Burckhardt Qureshi, flautist Ustad Salamat Husain and Habib Wali Mohammad.
The Ustad was closely related to legendary giants Ustad Mushtaq Husain Khan and Ustad Ahmad Jan Thirakwa Khan. Other famous musicians of his gharana are his younger brother late Zahid Husain (Karachi), his cousin Ustad Sabri Khan (Delhi), his nephew Murad Ali (Delhi) – all sarangi players – and Ustad Zameer Khan (tabla player). Ustad Hamid Husain Khan died in Karachi in 1980 at the age of 57.”
[Late vocalist & composer Ustad Nihal Abdullah was Ustad Hamid Husain’s brother-in-law (sister’s husband, behnoi).]
from: https://sarangi.info/sarangi/hh/

Monday, 1 May 2017

Jafar Husain Khan (1931-1998) - Inde - Kawwali - Chant soufi de l'Uttar Pradesh - LP published in France in 1985


Jaffar Hussain Khan was the greatest Qawwal in India in the last decades. He was an excellent singer, his music was very dense and very touching. He was a representative of an old and very traditional style of Qawwali. Qawwali at its very best. He studied Raga music with his legendary uncle Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan (see here two LPs we have posted in 2012) of the Rampur Gharana. He also learned Sitar from Ustad Wahid Khan. Later he learned Qawwali from Ustad Ghulam Ahmad and Ustad Bande Hussain.
He made several tours to Europe, the first one in 1981. In the 1990s a number of CDs by him were published in Germany (Academy of Indian Music), Japan (King Records), France (Inedit, the same label which has released our LP. The recordings of the CD are from 1992.), Holland (Pan Records). Finally also two cassettes came out on Music Today in India, which were later also released as CDs. All these recordings are wonderful. 
Wajahat Hussain Khan, a descendant of Jaffar Hussain Khan and grandson and disciple of the great Nissar Hussain Khan of the same Rampur Gharana (see here an LP we posted in 2014), who is here the second singer, continued the tradition. Unfortunately he passed away in April 2014. In India a set of 3 CDs was published recently. Some of these CDs can be obtained from info@raga-maqam-dastgah.com.





Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Ali Akbar Khan - Music from India Series 5 - LP released in UK in 1966


This LP was also released the same year in India. What is strange about the UK edition is that in the liner notes Mahapurush Misra is stated as being the Tabla player on this record. Whereas on the labels of  the LP and on the Indian edition Shankar Ghosh is stated to be the Tabla player.
Perhaps somebody knows the two Tabla players well enough to be able to tell us with certainty who of the two players is accompanying here Ali Akbar Khan.
I just spoke to a disciple of Mahapurush Mishra and he said that for sure it is not Mahapurush Mishra.





Thursday, 13 April 2017

Nikhil Banerjee - Master of the Sitar - LP published in Eastern Germany in 1986


This is the Eastern German edition of an LP orginally published in Western Germany in 1982 under the title "Raga, Baul Melody & Tabla Solo", but with a different cover. The Western German LP "Master of the Sitar" had the same cover as the LP here, but a different content. 
The content of the LP here was later republished on CD without the Tabla Solo (out of three LPs they made two CDs, omitting the Tabla Solo). The label - Chhanda Dhara - closed its business in 2009 and their CDs are very rare nowadays.





Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Kishori Amonkar (10 April 1932 – 3 April 2017) - In her memory a broadcast from All India Radio

Kishori Amonkar1932-2017 Credit: YouTube

Kishori Amonkar - Raga Nayaki Kanada - Khyal Rupak - mero piya rasiya & Drut Tintal - ratiyan me ja ki - AIR Delhi, 14.7.1983 (30:16)


Many thanks to KF for the recording.


Kishori Amonkar passed away - In her memory her very first LP released in India in 1967


Kishori Amonkar (10 April 1932 – 3 April 2017) was the most important and most refined classical female singer of the second half of the 20th century. Her music was extremely beautiful and refined with amazing taans flowing endlessly. She was in a class by herself. No other singer could really be compared to her.
I vivdly remember a concert of hers in Bonn in the 1990s on Republic Day. Especially my wife was deeply impressed by her, her stage presence and the fact, that she took the whole public into her inner, spiritual world. My wife still spoke about this concert twenty years later. It was of all the concerts she experienced the one which left the deepest impact.
There were only two classical LPs by her in her early career, the one here and a second one from 1971, which we will post in a couple of days. There was also an LP of Bhajans. Only with the advent of the CD there were published numerous CDs. Some can be bought at: info@raga-maqam-dastgah.com.

Bildergebnis für kishori amonkar

Smt. KISHORI AMONKAR – Perfectionist and a Dreamer

by Vibha Purandare
To know Smt. Kishori Amonkar is to know genius. She has in her a concentrated essence of the good, the bad and the beautiful that any genius could boast of. I have known Kishoritai now for many a year, yet I find that the passage of time does not help me to bind in words her elusive and many dimensional personality. It is one thing to know her and another to write about her. Like a great poet, she can say “Yes. I contradict myself. I contain many.” And look at the variety within her – a concrete love for the abstract, a sharp analytical power to dissect systematically an intellectual problem and also an ability to synthesise beautifully the diverse shades of thought, a unique intensity to fathom the mystery of music, a scientific approach towards the ancient and modern theories of Art and Art Creation, a child-like faith in Guru Raghavendra Swami, a sense of wonder of being lost in the fantastic, illogical world of fairy tales and a strong belief in superstitions. All these colourful bits of a jigsaw puzzle refuse to form a very sedate straight picture. At the most one can say, she is a superstitious rationalist and an adult who continues to be child.
“I love to be a child. I know that I am foolish and obstinate as a child. But this state is very precious for me.” Kishoritai said to me one evening, with her tanpuras standing in front as mute witnesses, ” But at the same time, let me tell you I will not be a child in my Art,” she added vehemently. Her witnesses must have silently consented. For when her fingers play on their strings, the musical instruments are thrilled with the touch of a master. Kishoritai tunes her tanpura with the precision of a scientist. It has to be the exact shade of ‘nishad’, the correct ‘shadja’.
She believes that playing the tanpura well is of utmost importance – even more important than tuning it. ”Then how does one do it ?” I asked. Pausing only for the well anticipated question to end, she replied, ”Well, it is an art. You see, though the frequencies of the notes vary, their sound level should be the same. One should strike the next string in such a manner that the sound of the second is blended into the first and so on and thus thereby there is being established sacred serious, musical cyclic pattern. Of course it inspires me to sing, but at times I am afraid even to mingle my own vocal notes into that divine sound. However, one thing I must state that the scientific rendering of a tanpura is different from its aesthetical rendering; in thc case of the latter, the stress is significant.”
And when she is tuning the tanpura – to the admiration of some, whilst testing the patience of many – she is a picture of concentration. Her eyes gently shut, one hand adjusting the beads below, the other stretching out towards the knobs at the other end, she becomes an object of beauty for any photographer, a portrait painter or even all ordinary viewer. And when the tanpuras are tuned to perfection, we have beautifully spanned for our ears a musical rainbow. And the colour is the colour of love. For, this artiste has a profound love for notes, musical instruments, musicians and music; in fact, anything and everything that is musical. Her love, more than her scholarship, makes her ask, “I wonder from where these notes come?”
A musicologist, a musician or a commoner could as well give an appropriate answer. But that will never satisfy her. She has in her a uniqne combination of a child, mystic and artist. The seen world she does love but the pull and the insight into the unseen world is more fascinating. Her imagination then knows no bounds “How must be the home of these notes? How do they behave with each other? I wish I could see them, then I would be able to talk to them.”
Actually, the notes are as familiar to her as her face, in fact definitely more so, for she has spent much more time with her tanpura than with a mirror. She is an ideal student of her subject. She has thought consistently and deeply on the various problems that face a creative artist. The hard core of her philosophy of Music is her faith in its power to transcend the material world and touch the spiritual. Her notes are divine and their singing is sacred. With her singing, a concert hall is transformed into a temple and the listeners become her Guru Raghavendra. Therefore, after a concert, whenever and wherever, she humbly bows down her head at the people in front - this gesture has an added dimension.
There are two different beings that harmoniously dwell in her – one a romanticist and the other a classicist. She herself does not very much like this classification. She feels that an artist is an artist. All other nomenclatures are secondary. Her approach toward Art is spiritual. She believes that realism is depicted in art to take you to the ideal, and the ideal is self-realisation – for the singer as well as for the listener. Like a true romanticist, she has an undying urge to reach out to Beauty. Her singing has its birth in the beautiful and it merges too in the beautiful.
She said to me some years ago, “People say that I look beautiful when I sing. Today I seem to have got an answer. When I sing, I want everything to be beautiful – my notes, my rhythm and myself too. My desire is so intense that on the stage you have beauty personified, not Kishori looking beautiful.” And how true it is!
Her search for beauty does not turn her into an escapist. She is aware of the ugliness of life, its sordidness, its darkness and drabness. Yet she is convinced that when Art touches it, it does not wipe it out, but the innate strength of an art-medium makes it different. There is sorrow and joy inexplicably experienced together. Wheras, in life most often than not, they are mutually exclusive. In her heaven of art, a rose does have a thorn, and a thorn does prick, but its pain leads to peace. That is the uniqueness of art. Music may thrive on and be enriched by the depth and expanse of a ‘Karuna Rasa’ or ‘Shringar Rasa’, but it ultimately culminates in ‘Shanti Rasa’ that is ‘ultimate bliss’.
If Kishoritai adores Beauty, she worships Truth and therefore respects knowledge. Knowledge for her is not trapped wholly in books or fettered only in laboratories. She believes that knowledge is free. It can be found anytime, anywhere. You meet it like a friend in a marketplace, or like a “bhakta” you are blessed by its “darshan” in the ”santum sanctorum” of a temple. Yet, I must tell you, that Kishoritai is a treasurer of books, and as a student of science in Jai Hind College, had done some of the best dissection work in the Botany laboratory. Her love for books is natural and has grown with time. At times she intuitively buys a very good book. Some of the rarest titles in English Literature have been presented to me by Kishoritai, having bought the books in a bookshop, at various airports or on the pavement. She herself possesses one of the best libraries on aesthetics. Like gems, her books are well taken care of. They are neatly covered and bound. She will go to any extent to get a book she intently wants. Once she had wanted a book on ”Indian Aesthetics” by Dr. Pandey. She searched for it high and low, She leafed through all the shops in Bombay, Delhi, Allahabad and other smaller cities in India as well. The search was futile. But Kishoritai did not give in. And when she did get a copy of the book in a University Library, she got the whole significant part of the book cyclostyled. Today, it is one of her proud possessions, to be admired by the connoisseurs and not to be lent even to an ardent book lover.
It is well known that Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Surdas and Meera are her “singing partners” but few may know that Bharat Muni, Sarangdev, Narad and Anandvardhan - the great ancient literary masters— are her “thought companions.” She is extremely happy in their company and it gives her equal joy to sing them or talk about them. Kishoritai feels intently and thinks deeply. You cannot segregate ”feeling” in life from “feeling” in art; for their roots go right down to that land which everyone owns but no one knows - i.e. the human mind. As far as feeling is concerned for Kishoritai, everything in this area is a “little more” than what the other people experience. For her the ruby-mud of her beloved Goa is a “little more” red; and its “sapphire- sky” a “little more” blue. Jasmine, Champak, Roses and Lilies, all these flowers are more fragrant when they have to be offered to Guru Raghavendra Swami; at the same time a “more expensive” saree is “less expensive” if it is to be given to her mother Mai. And if Mai is unwell, Kishoritai is terribly disturbed. She repeatedly rings up her younger sister Lalitatai’s place and keeps on enquiring about Mai’s health. At that time, it is easier for Lalitatai to nurse Mai than attend her Tai’s frequent and demanding phone calls. Not satisfied with what she hears, Kishoritai than decides to rely on her own eyes. She straight - as she is – dashes to Mai. “How are you Mai?” her transparent concern for her mother is evident in the curve of the question. And as soon as Mai says, “I am having a stomach ache or a little palpitation,” Kishoritai leaves her side to sit besides the telephone. Then she rings up a Doctor or two. She rings up the Doctor so often and with so much of urgency that she makes the Doctor sick. But her Doctors know well that though a rebel in the field of music, she is also a nervous, highly strung daughter. They therefore smilingly take the “doses” she gives them. And only when Mai says that “she is feeling a little better” Kishoritai is at a little peace with herself. But her health is not even considered when it is a question of her music concerts. With a temperature as high as 103 raging in her body, I have seen her give all excellent full fledged concert in Dadar. She has also rendered a 3 1/2 hour programme on our Saint-Poet Dynaneshar in a Bombay Hall, with the excruciating and relentless agony of a Herpes infection runn- ing a deadly line of pain on her face across thc nose. I can still see her holding her tanpura in her right hand and with the left hand dipping cotton in a medicinal solution and applying it to her face. One had only to see it to believe it. That is the fierce intensity she has for her music. It is almost inhuman or superhuman.
Thinking - intuitive, creative thinking – is also an innate part of her music. Her razor sharp intelligence is used to gently reach and unfold a particular “bhava” in a bhajan, a thumari, a ghazal or raga. Kishori tai firmly believes that “feeling” is the soul of music. She has thought long and lovinly about the various “bhavas” in art; how their subtle shades emerge and re-emerge, and one being prominent, surges forward towards the formation of a “rasa”. Her study of “rasa theory” is very comprehensive. But everything that she reads in the ancient texts and whatever she herself experiences in the fire of the creative process is to be accepted only if it stands the test of actual music rendered.
Like a sincere hard-working student, she still gets up early in the morning to study and interpret the texts and spends or invests some time with the textual notes. Then after an interval of some kitchen work, she turns to and becomes one with her musical notes. The journey from the world of words to the universe of “sa-re-ga-ma” is as smooth as the sliding of the finger from one string to the other of her tanpura.
Kishoritai has given immeasurable joy to her listeners – through her music and her lectures. By now, she has become a renowned exponent of the “Rasa Theory of Music”. She is an excellent speaker, being clear in thought and lucid in expression. She has given lectures – series of lectures all over India. She carries the same brand of fire in her speeches as in her musical rendering. I remember its early beginning.
It was the year 1977; Place: New Delhi. Smt. Kishoritai Amonkar had been invited to participate in an International Seminar on Arts to be held in the capital of India. Her paper was entitled “Music and Communication”. The audience comprised of writers, musicians, dancers, painters, poets, sculptors and architects of national and international renown. In fact, they were the people who must have been more on the platform – on the other side of creation – than on the receiving side.
In the presence of such illustrious and discerning listeners, Kishoritai read her paper with the ease of a professional and a fervour of a reformer. The text, born and bred on experience was appealing and thought-provoking and the diction was perfect, her breath-control remarkable with the right pauses and correct stress. The thunderous applause at the end “communicated” the listeners’ feeling of appreciation. The impact of the paper was further seen when the Indian and Foreign Delegates attended her concert at ‘Ashoka Hotel’ the following day and made it a point to tell her of the same. As one dancer then remarked “Is it necessary to read the paper also so well? Can you not leave anything to others? ”
That is Kishoritai –
Perfectionist and a dreamer,
Lover of words and notes,
Colour and stones,
An old understanding friend,
A singer, setting a new trend,
Bound to music and its Reedeemer too.
And now finally about her Music. Kishoritai doesn’t sing music, she breathes it. Then what can one write about it? It is like trying to describe and give one’s impression of a beautiful sunrise. The sun of her ”Bhairav” or ”Bhup” is the same; yet, just as every dawn is new, so also the ”ragas” are different with every rendering. Her Music is as fresh as dew and as ancient as the earth.
Here I acknowledge my utter helplessness to do justice to her singing. Much has been written about it, and many are still trying to write about it. She like her mother Mai has also been awarded a ‘Padma Bhushan’. It is indeed a rare feat for a mother and daughter to get one of the highest National awards in the same field – i. e. Hindustani Classical Music. Kishoritai sings with utmost intensity and sincerity. She believes in introspection and guidance from the ancient sages and seers, therefore the evolvement of her “raga” is different from others. Like a staunch classicist she wants to maintain the purity and the discipline of the ”bhava” in a ”raga“. She is totally convinced that in order to depict the ”true and living raga” in future, one must progress towards the past - wherein lies knowledge that is eternal and Absolute. Trying to analyse the subtle nuances of her music I find that the river of words merges into the sea of silence.
We can only pray that may Kishoritai continue to sing for a long long time; and may we all be blessed to listen to that divine melody.

On the artist see further:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishori_Amonkar
http://www.parrikar.org/vpl/?page_id=55
https://www.facebook.com/KishoriAmonkarGaanSaraswati/
http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/the-loneliness-of-kishori-amonkar/
http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/04/03/522475920/kishori-amonkar-leading-indian-classical-vocalist-dies-at-age-84