Abhisek Lahiri : Chip of the old block !!

When you think of instrumental side of hindustani classical music, names of certain icons representing it, crop up in your mind at once. Tell a person to name the artists associated with the sitar, sarod, sarangi, bansuri (flute), santoor, shehnai or even tabla and invariably he or she will relate these instruments with established artists like Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan, Sultan Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, Bismillah Khan and Zakir Hussain respectively. Recalling a second name associated with these instruments can be an arduous task for the uninitiated. I am not speaking of the ‘know-alls‘ of hindustani classical music but the person on the street.

Unlike vocal music which has a Rashid Khan to every Bhimsen Joshi, an Ajoy Chakrabarty to every Pandit Jasraj, a Kaushiki Chakrabarty to every Kishori Amonkar and so on, young instrumental artists struggle to get recognition. With due respect to the icons of instrumental music who without doubt are the best performers of their respective instruments there are many others who have excelled but are yet to get noticed. Incidentally instrumental music is also the more glamourous side of hindustani classical music.

A few days back I received an email from an young sarod player from Kolkata, Abhisek Lahiri who is a regular on this blog asking me to review his performance. He sent me a composition in Raga Shree both in Vilambit and Drut. Moron as I still am, as far as the finer nuances of classical music are concerned, I religiously loaded these mp3 files onto my iPod and found them to be quite engaging. I have uploaded these songs on my Indian.Raga.Instrumental folder at eSnips and would love to have a feedback on this young and talented artist.

Raga Shree – Alap Jod :  (Download)

Raga Shree – Jhaptal Teental :  (Download)

Abhisek, just 24 years of age is the only son of eminent sarod artist Pandit Alok Lahiri. He has trained under his father and is an ‘A’ Grade artist on All India Radio and Doordarshan. He has performed extensively worldwide including the US, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Italy and Spain. Abhisek is the first Indian Sarod artist to perform solo and also along with his father in European Parliament, Strasbourg, France in 2002. He has also won a President’s Award in Sarod through All India Radio music competition and Rashtriya Gaurav Award.

I see a great future for this young boy and would like all you connoisseurs of hindustani classical music to hear his music and give your opinion on this blog.

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How to Download from Smashits.com

I wonder how many Indian Classical Music enthusiasts know that ww.smashits.com (note the ww instead of www) has a few gems of hindustani classical music stored in it’s seemingly bollywood centric server. This portal is not very new and does not boast of a large classical music content but still I managed to download a few pieces of music not available anywhere else. My favourites are about 75-80 songs featured in it’s ‘Smashits Collection‘ (8 CDs). These are now an important part of my indianraga.collection.

See the screenshot of the classical music collection in the category ‘Classical‘ :

And the collection in the category ‘North Indian Classical‘ :

However there is a catch. There is no way you can download a music file directly from this site (sorry, there is one but only by making a small payment). But for mortals like yours truly, who are forever downloading music and would go bankrupt in a few weeks if they continue paying for it, there is always a way out.

But first things first. I would like you folks to go through my earlier post :

How to Download from musicindiaonline.com

As we are going to retrieve the music files from the ‘Internet Explorer Cache‘ it is essential to clean it completely before going further. Firefox users will not be able to download using this method. There are a few tricks for diehard Firefox fans too, but let’s leave them for another time.

After you have cleaned your Internet Explorer Cache, follow the steps mentioned in the post : How to Download from musicindiaonline.com to view your downloading files.

Now unlike musicindiaonline.com which streams it’s music in Real Audio (.ra) or Windows Media Audio (.wma) format, smashits.com uses a Flash Player and streams it’s music in .mp3 format (usually 64 kbps) which is a big plus for those who want to download from this site. Moreover the sound quality of the files is much better than that on musicindiaonline.com (20-24 kbps).

Click on the album you want to download and select the files (you may select all, if you want).

Click on the ‘Play’ button. The Flash Player will open as a pop-up.

Open the Internet Cache folder and you will be able to view your file gradually growing in size as it plays on.

Let it buffer fully (you will see the ‘Bit Rate‘ and ‘Duration‘ of the file appear when it does). You don’t need to play the file to it’s full length but letting it buffer fully is very important.

Copy the file and paste it in the folder of your choice, rename it according to it’s original name and repeat the procedure to download another file. On a fast Broadband connection you may be able to download an album (5-6 songs) in 4-5 minutes.

Watch out for more downloading tips from other music streaming sites in my future posts.

Download and Enjoy Listening !!

Rashid Khan : the silken voice

Being an ardent fan of Rashid Khan, maestro of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, I can’t resist putting more songs of him on this blog. He is one of the best among the contemporary vocalists and his effortless singing and silk like voice just keeps me spellbound.

Gorakh Kalyan – Tum Bin – Kab Ghar Aayo :  (Download)

Kiravani – Brij Ke Nandlala Tore Bina Mohe Chain :  (Download)

Malkauns – Tu Hai Malik Mero – Yaad Aavat Mohe :  (Download)

Maru Bihag – Piya Nahin Ghar – Tarpat Raina Dina :  (Download)

Raga Deshkar – Unako Hi Tore Karan :  (Download)

Ahir Bhairav – Rasiya Mhara – Albela Sajan Aayo :  (Download)

Enjoy !!