Saturday, February 21, 2009

Anokha Ladla : Raga Darbari's favourite Kid

Raga Darbari Kanada has very often been described as the King of all Ragas and also, the Raga of the Kings. Here listen to a very famous Khayal 'Anokha Ladla' sung by various artists at different times and also in different styles. Some say it is a song on Lord Ram's childhood, 'anokha ladla khelan ko mange chanda' as in the Ramayana. The song was immortalised when Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan presented it in his own inimitable style. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was the renaissance man of hindustani classical music. He was one of the few artists who among themselves saw the transition of classical music from the courts of the kings to the common man.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan :  (Download)

Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan :  (Download)

Vilayat Khan (Sings as he plays the Sitar) :  (Download)

Balqees Khanum (Semi Classical) :  (Download)

Shahida Minni (Semi Classical) :  (Download)

Tina Sani (Semi Classical) :  (Download)

It is interesting and almost amusing to note how artists have improvised upon the song according to the need and occasion without allowing the basic raga structure to go haywire.

Comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Holi : Five Shades

Holi is one of India's most vibrant and fun-filled festivals and it has a unique style and form in each part of the country that is reflected in the music that is associated with the festival. The musical forms associated with Holi vary from region to region as one travels from the north-west to extreme east of the country, down to the southern region. Primarily though, the compositions are based on the mythological references and tales from folklore.

Abida Parveen - Holi Khelan Aaya Piya :  (Download)

Shobha Gurtu - Aaj Biraj Mein Holi Hai Rasiya :  (Download)

Channulal Mishra - Rang Darungi :  (Download)

HoRi is the most popular type of Dhrupad sung on the festival of Holi. The compositions here describe the spring season. These compositions are mainly based on the love pranks of Krishna and Radha. Interestingly it has both classical as well as semi-classical connections. Horis sung as a concluding portion of a Dhrupad recital are classical in nature as well as treatment. Those Horis, which are sung in semi-classical form, are in ragas like Khamaj, Kafi etc. Significantly, these horis are also set to a tala of 14 beats called Deepchandi.

Girija Devi - Udat Abir Gulal :  (Download)

Girija Devi - Ankhan Bharat Gulal :  (Download)

Comments are welcome.

P.S : I did not find the Abida Parveen song anywhere else on the web, so I presume it is a rare one.

Enjoy !!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mallikarjun Mansur : Maestro's Choice

He did not clothe himself in princely robes. He did not care to be the center of attraction. He was content to be inconspicuous. He continued to look like a shopkeeper's accountant. He did not speak like an oracle. He rarely referred to his triumphs. He won not only the respect but the affection of his contemporaries. He was wholly without envy. His airs were what he sang. He did not put on any. That was Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur for you.

Three crisp songs from the maestro of the Jaipur Atrauli Gharana :

Raga Shukla Bilawal :  (Download)

Raga Raisa Kanhra :  (Download)

Raga Adambari Kedar :  (Download)

Comments are welcome.

Invite of the day : Can someone send me a few recordings of Shanti Hiranand (a disciple of Begum Akhtar) ?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Shashwati Mandal Paul aka Sasha

Shashwati Mandal Paul (Sasha) is a beautiful, young and versatile khayal singer from Bhopal, India, whose voice seems to conquer the hearts of the connoisseurs of classical music. Music flows through the veins of this gifted Hindustani vocalist. She also has a clear, timbre voice perfect for this type of music.

Raga Ahir Bhairav (Sample) :  (Download)

Raga Shivranjani Dadra (Sample) :  (Download)

A fine exponent of the Gwalior style, Shashwati’s musical adeptness has lent her an individualistic style at a fairly young age. Shashwati seems all set to emerge as one of the future faces of Indian classical music for her complete command over her unique voice and a wide range of variations in her presentation. Sasha is a real phenomenon in the world of Tappa.

Todi Bandish :  (Download)

Tappa Khamaj :  (Download)

Tappa can be considered as one of the major genres of musical tradition in India and yet it is heard less often, and very little is widely known about it. This high energy, appealing music is born out of journeys through exotic territories and its long history is continuing in the collaborative project between Sasha and Sense World Music producer and musician Derek Roberts.

Sasha's new CD 'Tappa Journey' which is a ground breaking development for Indian vocal music and the tradition of Tappa in particular, has been winning rave reviews and also collected a 'Top of the World' 5 star review status in Songlines Magazine Autumn edition. Passionate and almost blazing vocals find themselves embellished by Derek Robert's guitar, an Indian string orchestra and traditional Indian percussion. A sample of this exquisite fusion :

Bhaanda Ve Maheboob - Raga Khamaj :  (Download)

Buy the CD to hear more of Sasha's fabulous Tappa music. You won't regret it.

Comments are welcome.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ajoy Chakrabarty : Revisited

When I started writing this blog, my aim was to give my readers the 'play-or-download' option for every song that I post. I didn't want this blog to become an academic one, mere lengthy posts about the lives of artists and detailed descriptions of various ragas. So I set out to give you people some real 'juice' : actual music, painstakingly searched all around the web and posted here for your listening pleasure, and at will. Unfortunately and to my dismay, these links do not stay for long. Many of the music links in my older posts have gone dead, files removed from the servers for reasons unknown.

These songs by Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty (not published commercially) were posted by me earlier too, but some readers have complained that they exist no more. Hence I am posting them again, hoping this time the links will stay. Ajoy Chakrabarty is very dear to us all, and I don't want you folks to miss out on these songs. This is classic material and deserves to be served to all. Included here is also a brief excerpt of an interview with the BBC host Mark Tully.

Ajoy Chakrabarty talks to Mark Tully :  (Download)

This concert was held in 1997 by the BBC to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India's independence from Britain. Ajoy Chakrabarty was joined in this performance by Samar Saha on tablas and Sanjoy Chakrabarty on harmonium. The recital consisted of two pieces. The first was a Thumri Kajri, and the second a full Khyal in Raga Hamsadhwani.

Thumri Kajri - Damini Damke :  (Download)

Raga Hamsadhwani :  (Download)

Comments are welcome.

Enjoy !!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

How to Download from ITC-SRA

The origin of hindustani classical music can be traced back to Vedic times, nearly five thousand years ago. Some say its origin is far older, lost in the mists of distant times and places beyond the lives and memories of humankind.

From this obscure point of indeterminate origin, it evolved over thousands of years in temples and spiritual traditions throughout the Indian subcontinent. And many centuries ago, it moved from the temples into the palaces of the kings and queens of India, who were its most fervent and avid patrons. The stalwart kings of India have nurtured our music with tender care and have been its willing captives. In fact, musical training formed an indispensable item of royal education. Nowhere else in the world has royal patronage and encouragement to music probably been as continuous and rich as in India.

After India's independence, the loss of royal patronage threw the arts open to public mercy. Hindustani classical music, in its pure form, is fundamentally a complex study and therefore, cannot come within the reach of the uninitiated. As a result, serious music suffered. During the mid-seventies, ITC's top management envisioned that the Company (ironically, a tobacco company) could play a major role to preserve and propagate the rich Indian musical heritage.

ITC-SRA (ITC Sangeet Research Academy) was created in 1977 as an independent Trust. In creating ITC-SRA, ITC's farsighted endeavour was to establish a modern 'Gurukul' and revive the traditional 'Guru-Shishya Parampara'. Corporate patronage of music on this scale was unknown before. It's website holds a treasure, classical music that is unavailable elsewhere, recordings that are exclusive and rare to find. You may visit the site and hear all the music to your heart's fill but you are not supposed to download it. It uses Real media for streaming music and video, hence files are playable only if you have Real Player installed in your system.

But for obstinate people like many of us, there is a way to download music from ITC-SRA too. First of all you must have a downloader installed. I use Flashget (I recommend Flashget Classic version 1.73), but Orbit downloader and for that matter any downloader that supports rtsp (Real Time Streaming Protocol) will do. Once the downloader is installed, open it and visit the ITC-SRA site (or click here). Click on the Raga Online option (see image) or straightaway click here :

Choose your desired artist from the dropdown menu :

A list of songs available on the site will appear :

Right click the small speaker icons and save the file by choosing 'Save Target As...'. But hold on, this is not the actual music file but just a playlist and could be as small as just 1 Kb (e.g. bhimsenjoshi_bhairavi.ram for the encircled song). Open the file in any text editor (notepad will do) and you will be able to see it's content, a single line with commands for your Real Player :

rtsp:// ?cloakport=80,554,7070

Copy the highlighted part (leave the ? and the part after it). Paste the link in the downloader's URL window (if the URL snatcher is on, it will paste the URL automatically). This is what it looks like in Flashget :

Click OK and your file will begin to download :

The files are Real Media files with a .rm extension and can be played with Real Player or any other player that supports this format.

You may convert .rm files into .mp3 if you wish. I use Super for most of my converting jobs.

Listen to two songs from the above list, downloaded in similar fashion, converted to mp3 files, uploaded and posted here for your listening pleasure ( now, who says I am not doing the hard work...and making your lives easier ?? ) :

Bhimsen Joshi - Bhairavi (Jo Bhaje Hari Ko Sada) :  (Download)

Bhimsen Joshi - Khamaj Thumri (Jadu Bhareli) :  (Download)

Comments are welcome.

Enjoy !!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Four Songs : my Choice

Here are a few songs of my choice :

Amir Khan - Raga Jog - O Balma Ab Ghar Aa :  (Download)

Rashid Khan - Raga Des - Karam Kar Deeje :  (Download)

Habib Wali Mohammad - Tani Dheere Se Bol :  (Download)

Mohammad Bakhsh - Thumri Khamaj - Rain Andheri :  (Download)

Feedback is welcome !!