Sounds From The East Volume 16
Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi
From Wiki, Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi (Kannada: ಪಂಡಿತ ಭೀಮಸೇನ ಗುರುರಾಜ ಜೋಷಿ, Marathi: पंडित भीमसेन गुरुराज जोशी), (February 4, 1922 – January 24, 2011) was an Indian vocalist in the Hindustani classical tradition. A member of the Kirana Gharana (school), he is renowned for the khayal form of singing, as well as for his popular renditions of devotional music (bhajans and abhangs). He was the most recent recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, awarded in 2008
From the official page of Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee
Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee
Upholding with great distinction the traditions of the Imdadkhani Gharana of Sitar, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee’s name has long become synonymous with the sitar.
Considered as the leading sitarist of his generation, Budhadityaji has received his entire training in Sitar from his illustrious father, Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee, the well known sitarist and a doyen of the Imdadkhani Gharana of sitar, who initiated his son into sitar from the age of 5. From then, responding to the finesse of his father’s profound teachings, Budhaditya’s music has blossomed into a unique lyrical magic that reflects the ‘gayaki ang’ on the sitar with it’s befitting clarity.
In 1977, Budhaditya Mukherjee became a first class first graduate in Metallurgical Engineering – a gold medal holder. However, even after having achieved such laurels academically, his immense love and dedication to sitar caused Budhaditya to devote himself whole-heartedly to Sitar.
Today, he has not only kept alive but also improved and furthered the creative concepts of Ustad Imdad Khan - after whom the gharana is named and in the process, he has also popularized immensely the traditions of Imdadkhani Gharana. The depth of his alap and the intricate taankari is a reflection of a mastery over his instrument that has done justice to his Guru, his father Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee.
Having specialized in the disciplined development of the ragas based on the gayaki style of the Gharana, Budhaditya Mukherjee has enthralled all audiences alike at over 1526 concerts within India and 1278 recitals abroad in 26 countries. He has, since 1979, performed in 26 countries including the UK., USA., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UAE, Armenia, and in almost all European countries. These performances also include 12 well known International Festivals where he alone represented India. On June 30,1990, Budhaditya Mukherjee created history by becoming the first ever musician to perform at the House of Commons, London.
Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee is a visiting expert in Sitar at the Conservatory of Music at Rotterdam, Holland, since 1995, and prior to that many students have benefited from his valued teachings at the Instituto Internazionale di Studi Musicali Comparati, Venice from 1983 onwards. Today, at the age of 47, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee has exactly 47 commercial musical releases, worldwide, in the forms of compact discs, long playing discs and cassettes produced by various reputed music companies.
While worldwide acclaim and numerous awards have come his way, Budhaditya Mukherjee even today treasures most the words of appreciation he received when he was 20: first- after his first stage appearance in Calcutta in 1976, from none other than the late Satyajit Roy, who said: ‘Simply fantastic! I was stunned after hearing him. He is incredibly good. Really extraordinary… His performance is soul filling.’, and two years later, after listening to his recital in the Akashwani Sangeet Sammelan broadcast, the all time great Veena maestro – late S.Balachander said: ‘When I listened to the sitar recital of Budhaditya Mukherjee, I felt that I was listening to the Sitar Artist of the Century’. May God bless him with a long life and a most befitting future’.
This type of legacy will never be broken, a true master in her craft, the illustrious and magnificent Meeta Pandit.
Bio from www.meetapandit.com
Acknowledged as the scion of the Gwalior musical gharana, Meeta Pandit has emerged as a shining star in the world of classical music. Meeta is grand-daughter and disciple of Padma Bhushan Pt Krishna Rao Shankar Pandit, the doyen of Northern Indian Classical music in the 20th century, and the daughter and disciple of legendary Pt L K Pandit. Meeta is the sixth of the unbroken Pandit line and has the unique distinction of being the first woman musician in the family. Her melodious and robust voice coupled with intricate handling of ragas has won her critical acclaim, and a following of music lovers.
Meeta’s voice is unique-deep, rich and penetrating with tremendous power, stretching over an amazingly wide range of over 3 octaves. The rendering of traditional, but increasingly rare, Tappa is one of the sublime offerings in her concerts. Besides the styles of Khayal and Tappa, Meeta is equally adept with genres of Tarana, Bhajan, Thumri, Sufi, as well as cross cultural music.
POPULAR CONCERT ARTIST & GURU
She has performed extensively in prestigious festivals in India and abroad, at concerts in France, Germany, London, Switzerland, Norway, Rome, USA, Russia, and Bangladesh. Meeta was presented as the cultural ambassadress for the SAARC Music Festival in Islamabad in 2004. She was also invited in 2003 by Government of France as Artist in Residence to be based in Paris.
A film on her titled ‘Meeta – Linking a Tradition with Today’ has been made by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust along with Prasar Bharti in 2005. She is an A-Grade artist of All India Radio.
Her unique method of teaching music for Indian and western students has made her a much sought after guru (teacher). Meeta conducts workshops twice a year in France, besides training many students under the guru-shishya parampara in India.
A PhD in Music, Dr Meeta Pandit has won many National awards like ‘The Golden Voice of India’, ‘Sur-Mani’, ‘Yuva Ojaswini’ and the ‘Yuva Ratna’ alongwith the ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ for the field of Hindustani music by FICCI, a leading corporate forum in India. Leading magazines of India such as ‘India Today’ and ‘The Week’ have featured her as one of the ‘Youth Powers’ – leading India in the Millennium.
In 2008, she was awarded the highly prestigious ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar’ of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, given to promising artistes under 35.
Music Today has released her albums titled ‘Footsteps’, ‘Young Maestros’, and ‘Tansen’.
In an effort to increase awareness of Indian classical music in India, Meeta hosts a ‘Swar Shringaar’ a radio programme on World Space Radio – ‘Radio Gandharva’.
Sounds From The East Vol 13 presents Gangubai Hangal, a Hindustani classical singer from India whose roots in early 20th century culture helped with the continuation of more exposure of Indian artist around the world. This is ancient music that is as strong now as it was created centuries ago, cultural music that defines years of beauty and inspiration. We are gearing up for our second round of Sounds From The East posts, this is the first in the new batch of articles we have put together. ~ Erik Otis
Gangubai Hangal was born in 1913,Gangubai completed 86 years this Mahashivarathri.She started performing in local celebrations and Ganeshotsavas in Mumbai when she was in her mid-teens. So her performing life spans something like 70 uninterrupted years during which there is no record if a single tantrum being thrown or a single line of publicity being peddled to the press for self glorification .She has made music because she has felt duty-bound to pass on to the future generations what her guruji gave her.She has done this with unflagging sincerity and dedication, winning live and respect along the way for her transparently good nature.
At 88, she is the last of the titans and represents the quintessence of purity and nobility of Hindustani classical music. She is known for her steadfast loyalty to Gharana-parampara and stands as a beacon of light for all aspiring young artists.
Sounds From The East Vol 12: Ustad Rashid Khan
Ustad Rashid Khan was born in 1966 and is a major force in the Indian classical world of the Hindustani tradition. Deeply rooted in a family tradition of vocal mastery along with experimental fusion works, he is a part of the long-lasting Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, and is the great-grandson of Gharana founder Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan. Watch these clips below or listen while you read the really good wiki article about this new age pioneer in sound. I choose to bring back Sounds From The East to present healing tones for the world to share, enjoy. ~ Erik Otis
Born in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh. He received his initial training from his maternal grand-uncle, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan (1909-1993). He is also the nephew of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.
As a child he had little interest in music. His uncle Ghulam Mustafa Khan was among the first to note his musical talents, and for some time trained him in Mumbai. However, he received his main training from Nissar Hussain Khan, initially at his house in Badayun. A strict disciplinarian, Nissar Hussain Khan would insist on voice training (sur sAdhanA) from four in the morning, and make Rashid practise one note of the scale for hours on end.
A whole day would be spent on practising just a single note. Although Rashid detested these lessons as a child, but the disciplined training shows in his easy mastery of taan (glissandos) and layakaari today. It was not until he was 18 that Rashid began to truly enjoy his musical training.
Rashid Khan gave his first concert at age eleven, and the following year, 1978, he performed at an ITC concert in Delhi. In April 1980, when Nissar Hussain Khan moved to the ITC Sangeet Research Academy (SRA), Calcutta, Rashid Khan also joined the academy at the age of 14. By 1994, he was acknowledged as a musician (a formal process) at the academy.
The Rampur-Sahaswan gayaki (style of singing) is closely related to the Gwalior Gharana, which features medium-slow tempos, a full-throated voice and intricate rhythmic play. Rashid Khan includes the slow elaboration in his vilambit khayals in the manner of his maternal grand-uncle and also developed exceptional expertise in the use of sargams and sargam taankari (play on the scale).
He is also a master of the tarana like his guru but sings them in his own manner, preferring the khayal style rather than the instrumental stroke-based style for which Nissar Hussain was famous. There is no imitation of instrumental tone. His mastery of all aspects tonal variations, dynamics and timbre adjustment leave very little to be desired in the realm of voice culture.
His renderings stand out for the emotional overtones in his melodic elaboration. He says: “The emotional content may be in the alaap, sometimes while singing the bandish, or while giving expression to the meaning of the lyrics.” This brings a touch of modernity to his style, as compared to the older maestros, who placed greater emphasis on impressive technique and skillful execution of difficult passages.
Rashid Khan has also experimented with fusing pure Hindustani music with lighter musical genres, e.g. in the Sufi fusion recording Naina Piya Se (songs of Amir Khusro), or in experimental concerts with western instrumentalist Louis Banks. He also performs jugalbandis, along with sitarist Shahid Parvez and others.
Sounds From The East Vol 11: Ustad Sultan Khan
Volume 11 in our Sounds From The East series looks at transcendental sound master Ustad Sultan Khan. He has worked extensively in traditional settings and in non traditional fusion settings over a course of over a half century. One of the few people alive today who still has ancient music knowledge, take a moment to read about his legacy and check out a video of him performing that is over an hour-long!
Bio on Ustad Sultan Khan From Wikipedia:
Ustad Sultan Khan is an Indian sarangi player and singer, who plays Hindustani classical music. He is one of the members of the Indian fusion group Tabla Beat Science, with Zakir Hussain and Bill Laswell. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honor, in 2010.
Khan gave his first performance at the All-India Conference at the age of 11, and has performed on an international scale with Ravi Shankar on George Harrison’s 1974 Dark Horse World Tour.
He has won numerous musical awards including, twice, the Sangeet Natya Academy Award, also known as the President’s Award, as well as the Gold Medalist Award of Maharashtra and the American Academy of Artists Award in 1998. In 1997 he was requested to perform at Prince Charles 50th birthday celebrations.
Khan has taught music producers such as Sukshinder Shinda and Ram Gopal Varma (who provided the music for his film, Deyyam) to play the sarangi. Belonging to the Indore Gharana, Khan performs sarangi and sings. He has many students~ but very few true Gandha Bandhan disciple’s, notables are (Anand Vyas) who plays the sitar rather than the Sarangi. What makes him notable is his use of very Heavy Gauge Strings on his Sitar therefore allowing for more sustain. This makes his sitar ~ many times ~ more accessible to Western Audiences. Ustad Ikram Khan uses the same Type of Heavy gauge “non traditional” strings for his Sarangi as does his Guru. They are not “gut” strings as employed by other sarangi players which give him a very unique and rich tone indeed. He is also the teacher of Deeyah, a Norwegian born singer, and he performed on her debut album I Alt Slags Lys in 1992.
Recently Ustad Sultan Khan performed his sarangi talent through South Indian Tamil film Yogi. He played a solo Sarangi for Yogi’s theme and also for the song “Yaarodu Yaaro” from the same album.
Free MP3 From Now Again Records: “The Man Who Must Leave”
From Now Again Records:
Originally sung by the Pearl Sisters in 1968, this song roughly translates as “The Man Who Must Leave” and owes everything to the fierce guitarist featured on the intro and outro of his self-penned song. That would be the legendary Shin Jung Hyun, who is commonly referred to as the Godfather of Korean rock n’ roll, and is often compared to Elvis. But that really doesn’t do him justice. Sure, he might have been as popular as Elvis in South Korea. But to put Jung Hyun’s career arc in a context that the Westerner might understand, imagine if Elvis maintained the fire he first displayed on Sam Phillips’ recordings, then morphed into a Dick Dale style surf-guitarist before delving head long into psychedelia, with axe-shredding talents akin to Jimi Hendrix (ok, I’m stretching a bit there) and the song-writing ability of Brian Wilson (ok, I’m stretching again, but not by much). And imagine if he had found the time to write, arrange and produce dozens of protégés who would follow him down whatever crazy path he chose to take them.
This album, like many that Jung Hyun produced, is not about the woman featured on the cover. It would seem like he had a deal with every Korean label that wished to record him: I’ll do whatever you want on the A-side if you give me the B-side to freak out a little something with my homies. Thus, Kim Sun and So Yoon Seok (who dominates the B-side of this album), get the royal treatment and they elevate what would have been a throwaway pop record into the realm of psychedelic goodness.
More on Jung Hyun in later posts. There’s just too much to say about him to put it all into the review of one song. But we’ll put this out there now. Like many Korean records from the late 60s, this record has numerous pressings, all very difficult to differentiate. So be careful if you find a copy for less than you’d expect to pay, as it might be a third (or fifth?) generation reproduction.
Sounds from the East Volume 9 takes off right where Vol 4 left off with the pandit series. If you have no clue what a Pandit is, here is the formal definition from wikipedia: A paṇḍit, pundit (Devanagari: पण्डित) scholar, a teacher, particularly one skilled in Sanskrit and Hindu law, religion, music or philosophy. This class of higher knowledge and skill has provided the world with one of the most authentic origins of sound we know to exist here on planet earth. Volume 9 focuses cheats a little and uses the world famouse Ustad Vilayat Khan. The reason we include him into our series is due to the fact that he denied the pandit award due to personal reasons, so therefore he is in the same area of performance ability and spiritual tones as the pandits before and after him.
Vilayat Khan performed at All bengal Music Conference, as his first concert, organized by Bhupen Ghosh in Kolkata with Ahmed Jan Thirakwa on tabla. His performance made headlines as “Electrifying Sitar” in Bombay next day of his concert organized by Vikramaditya Sangeet Parishad, Mumbai (1944). In the 1950s, Vilayat Khan worked closely with instrument makers, especially the famous sitar-makers Kanailal & Hiren Roy, to further develop the instrument. Also, he liked to perform without a tanpura drone, filling out the silence with strokes to his chikari strings.
Some ragas he would somewhat re-interpret (Bhankar, Jaijaivanti), others he invented himself (Enayatkhani Kanada, Sanjh Saravali, Kalavanti, Mand Bhairav), but he was first and foremost a traditional interpreter of grand, basic ragas such as Yaman, Shree, Todi, Darbari and Bhairavi.
When he died from lung cancer in 2004, Vilayat Khan had been recording for over 65 years, broadcasting on All-India Radio since almost as far back and been seen as a master (ustad) for 60. He had been touring outside India off and on for more than 50 years, and was probably the first Indian musician to play in England after independence (1951). In the 1990s, his recording career reached a climax of sorts with a series of ambitious CDs for India Archive Music in New York, some traditional, some controversial, some eccentric. Towards the end of his life, he also performed and recorded sporadically on the surbahar. He has performed duet concerts with maestros like Bismillah Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, brother Imrat Khan.
Khan composed and conducted the score for three feature films – Satyajit Ray’s Jalsaghar in Bengali, Merchant-Ivory Productions’ The Guru in English, and Madhusudan Kumar’s Kadambari in Hindi. In addition to these, he also gave music for a little known documentary film in Bengali produced by Dr. Barin Roy.
Ustad Vilayat Khan & son Hidayat Khan.
Live concert in New Jersey.
Raag: Rageshree. Tabla: Vijay Ghate.
Volume 8 focuses on Japanes Experimental music from the 70′s until now, the depths of Japanese Psych music runs deep and follows directly with the pioneering phases of all the cult classic experimental artists an groups of the past 50 years. This is by no means a complete list of all the fine musical experimentations derived from Japan but is a great start if you are interested in this field of music.
For volume 7 of Sounds From The East, we look at Masters of Persian Music. To learn about who the group Masters of Persian Music are, click here.
Hossein Alizadeh: tar
Kayhan Kalhor: kamancheh
Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh: vocals
M.R. Ebrahimi: barbat (lute)
Pezhham Akhavass: tombak/daf/percussion
Hamid Reza Maleki: santur
Rouzbeh Rahimi: santur
Siamak Jahangiry: ney
Lao folk music, known as Lam, is extemporaneous singing accompanied by the khene. The Lao classical orchestra can be divided into two categories, Sep Nyai (or Mahori) and Sep Noi. The Sep Nyai is ceremonial and formal music and includes: two sets of gongs (kong vong), a xylophone (lanat), an oboe (pei or salai), two large kettle drums and two sets of cymbals (xing).
Ensembles typically include two singers (mor lam, the same term referring to the genre of music) – one male and one female -, a khene player (mor khaen), and other instruments including fiddles, flutes and bells. Music varies widely across Laos, with the lam saravane style being most popular, while the city of Luang Prabang is known for a slow form called khaplam wai. An extremely popular form developed in Thailand is called mor lam sing, and is faster and electrified.
Volume 5 in our extensive series, this post looks at popular music that orignated from Ethiopia. Mostly from the 50′s to the 70′s, these are artists who were very political considering their setting and the success they gained. In the future we will include a post about Ethiopias more traditional music, but for this post we wanted to cover the popular side of things from Ethiopia. Music is a weapon for the masses and Ethiopias music that extended outside of the region holds that to be true.
Ethiopia is a musically traditional country. Of course, popular music is played, recorded and listened to, but most musicians also sing traditional songs, and most audiences choose to listen to both popular and traditional styles. A long-standing popular musical tradition in Ethiopia was that of brass bands, imported from Jerusalem in the form of forty Armenian orphans (Arba Lijoch) during the reign of Haile Selassie. This band, which arrived in Addis Ababa on September 6, 1924, became the first official orchestra of Ethiopia. By the end of World War II, large orchestras accompanied singers; the most prominent orchestras were the Army Band, Police Band, and Imperial Bodyguard Band. Most of these bands were trained by Europeans or Armenians.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, Ethiopian popular musicians included Bizunesh Bekele, Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, Hirut Bekele, Ali Birra, Ayalew Mesfin, Kiros Alemayehu, Muluken Melesse and Tilahun Gessesse, while popular folk musicians included Alemu Aga, Kassa Tessema, Ketema Makonnen, Asnaketch Worku, and Mary Armede. Perhaps the most influential musician of the period, however, was Ethio-jazz innovator Mulatu Astatke. Amha Records, Kaifa Records, and Philips-Ethiopia were prominent Ethiopian record labels during this era. Since 1997, Buda Musique’s Ethiopiques series has compiled many of these singles and albums on compact disc.
During the 1980s, the Derg controlled Ethiopia, and emigration became almost impossible. Musicians during this period included Ethio Stars, Wallias Band and Roha Band, though the singer Neway Debebe was most popular. He helped to popularize the use of seminna-werq (wax and gold, a poetic form of double entendre) in music (previously only used in qiné, or poetry) that often enabled singers to criticize the government without upsetting the censors.
Learn more about Ethiopian music HERE