Monday, December 27, 2010

Instrumental gold

Indian classical instrumental is a much sought after genre of music all over the world today. Gone are the days when listeners from Western countries could not make out if the instrument that was being played was sarod or sitar. The only sound that convinced Westerners that the music is really Indian was the constant drone of the tanpura. But thereafter, of course, the sounds of the sitar strings became recognizable everywhere and even got featured in a few Hollywood movies of the 1950s and 1960s. The sound was also noticed by many Rock bands of the West and some experimented with it in their music.

Bismillah Khan - Malkauns (Shehnai) :  Download

Hariprasad Chaurasia - Pilu (Bansuri) :  Download

Ali Akbar Khan - Gour Sarang (Sarod) Vocals: Asha Bhonsle :  Download

Anoushka Shankar - Shuddha Sarang (Sitar) :  Download

Note: Please inter-change the names of the last two songs after you download them. They were wrongly named while uploading.

.. more instrumental music »

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ramkumar Chatterjee

Ramkumar Chatterjee (Chattopadhyay) (1921-2009) was a famous singer from Bengal. He is best known for his unique Bengali tappa and puratoni gaan (old Bengali songs). He also had a special place in singing in the baithaki gaan (songs sung at elite evening gatherings) prevalent during the 'babu raj' in old Bengal of the last century. He was very popular among the masses because of his unique signature parodies, which enthralled the audiences. He also composed music for two Bengali films, Streer Patra (1973) and Parikrama (1996).

Ramkumar Chatterjee - Thumri - Jaoto Piyari :  Download

Ramkumar Chatterjee - Thumri - Sanchi Kaho Mujhe Batiya :  Download

Ramkumar Chatterjee - Thumri - Nadiya Kinare Mere Gaon :  Download

Ramkumar Chatterjee - Thumri - Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal :  Download

More songs by Ramkumar Chatterjee very soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kishori Amonkar : four ragas

Believed by many as the finest female vocalist of her generation, Kishori Amonkar has been blessed with a naturally melodious voice. The distinguishing feature of her performance is the effortlessness with which she presents the ragas. Her renderings keep intact the tradition of the Jaipur gharana without being tradition bound, thus winning the acclaim of purists as well as laymen. Kishori Amonkar's mother, the illustrious Mogubai Kurdekar, told her once: "Sing for the nature and everything will respond to you." How true were those words. Birds, animals, trees, the grass and even the sun seem to reciprocate when Kishori Amonkar sings.

Kishori Amonkar - Deskar - Hun To Tore Karan Jaagi :  Download

Kishori Amonkar - Gaud Sarang - Kajrare Gori Tore Naina :  Download

Kishori Amonkar - Miyan Malhar - Umad Ghumad :  Download

Kishori Amonkar - Bhinna Shadja - Ud Ja Re Kaaga :  Download

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shanti Hiranand

Shanti Hiranand was born in a business family in Lucknow. Her love for music goes back to her childhood. Soon it became an all consuming passion for her. Starting her early training at the Music College in Lucknow, she had to shift to Lahore in the early 1940s because of her father's business interests. Her first performance was on Radio Lahore in 1947. After the partition her family shifted back to Lucknow and she started training under Ustad Aijaz Hussain Khan of Rampur. Alongside she continued performing on AIR. She met her guru, guide and mentor in Begum Akhtar in 1957. Begum Akhtar already had two excellent ganda-bandh (officially accepted and initiated) shagirds, or pupils, Rita Ganguly and Anjali Banerjee. From reading Shanti Hiranand's biography of her guru, 'Begum Akhtar: The Story of My Ammi', one gets the impression that she was the only student who mattered. Begum Akhtar trained her in the traditional forms of thumri, dadra and ghazal singing.

Begum Akhtar's passing away in 1974 drove her to dedicate her entire efforts to excel in the art given to her by her guru. It is interesting how these two women from seemingly diverse backgrounds could come to such an exalted level of understanding between themselves, in times that were not very conducive to such social interactions. Shanti Hiranand belonged to an upper middle-class business family. She had a liberal education and was used to a certain space and freedom to pursue her own passions, while Begum Akhtar lived within the cloistered environs of a typical feudal home in those days. While Shanti Hiranand was an austere Gandhian, Begum Akhtar was a person of deep indulgences. It is amazing that even Shanti's parents never stood in her way, they never stopped her from being with her Ammi. On the contrary on occasions it was Shanti's mother who encouraged her to follow her guru right until the end.

Shanti Hiranand - Pilu - More Piya Base Kaun Des :  Download

Shanti Hiranand - Khamaj - Tanik Tohe Balma Jane Nahi :  Download

Shanti Hiranand - Desh - Aeri Bajuband Toot Gayo :  Download

Shanti Hiranand - Tilak Kamod - Bairan Koyaliya Bole :  Download

Shanti Hiranand - Jhinjhoti - Tum Jaao Jaao Mose :  Download

Shanti Hiranand - Bhairavi - Dekho Sakhi Phir Sawan Aaya :  Download

Shanti Hiranand also acted in films. She played Siddhartha's (Shashi Kapoor) mother in Conrad Rooks' 1972 English movie Siddhartha.

.. more songs by Shanti Hiranand »

Friday, December 10, 2010

Raga guide 3

King Nanyadeva of Mithila (1097-1147) wrote that the variety of Ragas is infnite, and their individual features are hard to put into words. He wrote : "Just as the sweetness of sugar, treacle and candy cannot be separately described, but must be experienced for oneself."

Subhra Guha - Raga Deshkar (late morning) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Gara (late night) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Gaud Malhar (anytime in rainy season) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Gaud Sarang (early afternoon) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Hameer (early night) :  Download

.. back to Raga guide 2 »

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Four random songs 15

Some more songs picked up by me from the crevices and corners of the world wide web. This time too, the songs come from some of the more talented and younger female vocalists of the present time.

Purnima Sen - Thumri in Khamaj :  Download

Mandira Lahiri - Bhajan in Darbari Kanada :  Download

Rita Sahai - Malhar in Desh :  Download

Tripti Mukherjee - Bhajan in Bhairavi :  Download

Point to ponder : Is it coincidental that while most of the newer female classical vocalists of today belong to West Bengal, the male singers come from the state of Maharashtra?

.. more Random Songs »

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Gharana tradition : Rampur Sahaswan

Rampur-Sahaswan is a gharana of Hindustani classical music centred in the Uttar Pradesh towns of Rampur and Sahaswan. The history of this gharana begins with Inayat Hussain Khan (1849-1919). He was the son of Mehboob Khan, a khayal singer and Veena player of the Rampur court. Mehboob Khan is said to have performed khayals in a simple style with an emphasis on tappa style taans, which can be taken to be an indication of his affiliation to the Gwalior khayal gharana. He was also a beenkar and veena player. Inayat Hussain Khan had a cousin, Haider Khan, whose grandson was Nissar Hussain Khan (1906-1993). Inayat Hussain Khan is said to have shown unusual singing talent in his childhood and so his father took him to the chief court musician of the Rampur court for further training.

So as Inayat Hussain Khan, the founder of the gharana, hailed from Sahaswan and was trained and lived in Rampur, the gharana came to be called Rampur-Sahaswan. Inayat Hussain trained his son Sabir Hussain and his son-in-law Mushtaq Hussain Khan (1874-1964). It is through the styles of his sons-in-law that contemporary experts have formed their idea of the Rampur-Sahaswan style and it is through his sons-in-law that the gharana stays aloft today. Like the sons-in-law, Inayat Hussain's three daughters, naturally played a big role in keeping the gharana alive. The youngest daughter Sabri Begum gave birth to leading senior contemporary exponent Ghulam Mustafa Khan and daughter Shakhri Begum. Shakhri Begum gave birth to Rashid Khan, the famous vocalist.

Mushtaq Hussain Khan - Meera Bai Ki Malhar :  Download

Nissar Hussain Khan - Puriya Dhanashree :  Download

Ghulam Mustafa Khan - Pilu - Ghir Ke Aayi Badaria :  Download

Rashid Khan - Alahiya Bilawal - Sumiran Kar Man :  Download

The renowned singers of this gharana include Mushtaq Hussain Khan, Nissar Hussain Khan, Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Ghulam Sadiq Khan, Rashid Khan, Ghulam Abbas Khan, Begum Shanno Khurana and Sulochana Brahaspati.

.. more songs of other Gharanas »

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Of swords, daggers and arrows

No guesses for what the title of the post is all about. Listen to the songs and enjoy the Shringar Rasa dripping from the poetry.

Girija Devi - Bhairavi Dadra - Nayan Ki Mat Maro Talwariya :  Download

Channulal Mishra - Dadra - Tore Naina Khilade Katar Sajani :  Download

Shobha Gurtu - Dadra - Baan Nainon Ka :  Download

Munawar Ali Khan & Raza Ali Khan - Tirchi Najaria Ke Baan :  Download

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Instrumental gems

Indian classical musicians worship their instruments as if the Goddess of knowledge, music and art, Saraswati, bestowed them to them herself. During the Monterey International Pop Festival of 1967, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix smashed his guitar all over the stage and later burned it into flames at the finale of his performance. Another guitarist, Pete Townshend, followed suit by breaking his guitar into bits and pieces. In sheer contrast, Pandit Ravi Shankar, who also participated, lifted the sitar to his forehead as a mark of respect for the art and the instrument. Recently, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was seen weeping when his sarod was damaged during a flight. Herein lies the divinity of Indian classical music.

Bismillah Khan - Raga Kedar (Shehnai) :  Download

Hariprasad Chaurasia - Raga Chandrakauns (Bansuri) :  Download

Amjad Ali Khan - Raga Subhalakshmi (Sarod) :  Download

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt - Raga Gorakh Kalyan (Mohan Veena) :  Download

P.S : In the last song Pandit Ronu Majumdar accompanies Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on the bansuri.

.. more instrumental music »

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Raga guide 2

Every Raga is associated with a particular time of day or a season of the year. Each time of the day (i.e. before dawn, morning, noon, late afternoon, early evening, late night) is associated with a definite emotion. The cycle of day and night as well as the cycle of the seasons are supposed to be analogous to the cycle of life. The explanation of the time associated with each Raga may be found in the nature of the notes that comprise it, or in historical anecdotes concerning the Raga.

Subhra Guha - Raga Bihag (night 10pm-12am) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Bilaskhani Todi (morning 8am-10am) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Brindavani Sarang (afternoon 12pm-2pm) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Chhayanat (late evening 8pm-10pm) :  Download

Subhra Guha - Raga Desh (late evening 8pm-10pm) :  Download

.. back to Raga Guide part 1 »