Songs of the famous Duos

This blog completes two years. What started off as a tentative foray into the world of Hindustani Classical Music, and just a topic to start a blog, has become an addiction now. It is scientifically proven that Indian Classical music has healing powers on the human brain and mind. Experiments have been performed to identify different Ragas and the ailment, the cure of which they can be associated with. It has been learnt that a 20-30 minute rendition of Raga Darbari can make you sleep soundly, if you listen to it with full concentration. Now, this surely is a nice way to get a good night’s sleep. At least better than popping those bitter pills each night, an escape for many, from the hustle bustle of daily life. What could be better than having Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Rashid Khan and the likes of them, singing lullabies to you, and tucking you into bed.

Celebrating two years of indianraga, presented here are four songs from four famous singer duos, each from the pair incomplete without the other. Any individual name in a single duo is difficult to utter without mentioning the name of his partner. Understandably, all are brothers.

Amanat Ali & Fateh Ali Khan – Raga Megh :  (Download)

Moinuddin & Aminuddin Dagar – Raga Pilu Thumri :  (Download)

Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan – Raga Bihag Thumri :  (Download)

Rajan & Sajan Mishra – Raga Jaijaiwanti :  (Download)


Sitar, Sarod and all that jazz

In the last 50-60 years, there has been an explosive influence of Indian music, specially instrumental, in the West. Most known, the wonders of the Indian music were spread by famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin in the 1950s and George Harrison of the Beatles in 1960s. The year 1967 saw the growing influence of Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Four years later, in 1971, George Harrison organized the ground breaking Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the first charity event of Rock, where an audience of 40,000 Westerners, new to the sounds they heard, applauded after the musicians had finished tuning their instruments. Ravi Shankar had then famously remarked, “Thank you, if you appreciate the tuning so much, I hope you will enjoy the playing more.” Ravi Shankar had already wowed audiences at the Monterey Pop Festival, and he achieved stardom at the Madison Square Garden event.

Ravi Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan – Concert for Bangladesh :  (Download)

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

Later in life, Ravi Shankar was named the ‘Godfather of World Music‘ by George Harrison. In an interview Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan said of Pandit Ravi Shankar, “My greatest admiration for him stems from the fact that, here is a man who had no gharana to talk about. His father was not a musician, his guru’s father was not a musician. On top of that his guru was a sarod player. Look at the odds he beat to become the extraordinary musician he became.” While Pandit Ravi Shankar was winning the hearts of the western audiences, Sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan with his Gayaki-Ang style of Sitar playing, remained the darling of the home crowds.

Shivkumar Sharma & Zakir Hussain – Rageshwari :  (Download)

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt – Maand – Kesariya Balam :  (Download)

This era also witnessed the emergence of Santoor as a mainstream classical instrument, thanks to Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, the slide Guitar taking form of Mohan Veena due to the efforts of Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and the Tabla finally being accepted as a solo instrument due to the genius of Ustad Zakir Hussain. Indian classical instrumental music had finally arrived on the global stage. Globally, Instrumental Hindustani classical music was being accepted more than the Vocal music. The reason attributed for this is that the lyrics of vocal music are incomprehensible to people other than the Indians, hence cannot be appreciated in the true manner.

Teed Rockwell – Bhimpalasi :  (Download)

Ali Akbar Khan & John Handy – Karuna Supreme :  (Download)

A lot of experimentation is being done in instrumental music these days. The latest instrument to enter the world of hindustani classical music is the Touchstyle Fretboard (otherwise called the Chapman Stick), a sort of a slide Guitar, where strings are tapped instead of being plucked. The artist is Teed Rockwell and his new album is Hindustani Ragas. Jazz Saxophonist, John Handy is another instrumentalist who has played a lot with his Indian counterparts.


Songs of the Divas 5

Watching an young Rashid Khan perform in a concert, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi once remarked, “There is now atleast one person in sight who is an assurance for the future of Hindustani classical vocal music“. This was in fact, until a few years ago, the main concern of most connoisseurs of Hindustani vocal music, about whether its tradition of excellence would continue. Fortunately, young singers of today have lived up to the expectations of Indian classical music lovers. Presented here, are four very young women classical singers, who I believe are very talented and immensely gifted artists.

Brinda Roy Choudhuri – Hanuman Vandana :  (Download)

Dhanashree Pandit Rai – Hamari Atariya Pe :  (Download)

Prachi Dublay – Kaise Kate Din Ratiyan :  (Download)

Ratna Basu – Sawan Jhari Lage :  (Download)

.. more Songs of the Divas »

Please give these artists a big hand by clicking on the stars below.


Four Songs : my Choice 5

Once again, here are a few songs of my choice, each one a priceless gem, and in my view, one of the best from the respective artists :

Ajoy Chakrabarty – Kajri – Nimbua Tale Dola Rakhde :  (Download)

Girija Devi – Hindola :  (Download)

Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan – Thumri Pahadi :  (Download)

Rashid Khan – Charukeshi – Palaka Na Lagi Mori Guiyan :  (Download)

.. more Songs of my Choice »

P.S : As I have always believed in giving my visitors, the play and download option for all songs, no wonder I am faced with a serious bandwidth issue. As a result some files in my older posts may not play or download. However, irrespective of this problem I will try to continue posting more songs. Thanks for your patience.


Pundela : cry of the Roma

What do the legendary comedy actor Charlie Chaplin, Hollywood stars Yul Brynner and Michael Caine, and rock star Elvis Presley have in common? Well, they all have Romani ancestral roots, and thereby an Indian connection. Dispersed over five continents, the Roma (or Romani), often known as gypsies, cygany, gitanos, manush or romani, are in fact one people united by their common roots, identity, culture and language, Romanès, with its many different dialects. The Roma have travelled the world since leaving their ancestral home of India about 900-1100 years ago. Influenced by each culture whose path they have crossed, the Roma have, in turn, inspired those with whom they have come into contact, partly through their unflagging love of freedom and their music, often central to their existence. But, for centuries the Roma have been exiled from different lands, persecuted, and even exterminated for their bohemian lifestyle.

Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Romanies originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from India towards the northwest. The Romani are generally believed to have originated in central India, possibly in the modern Indian state of Rajasthan, migrating to northwest India (the Punjab region) around 250 B.C. In the centuries spent here, there may have been close interaction with such established groups as the Rajputs and the Jats. Their subsequent westward migration, possibly in waves, is believed to have occurred between 500 A.D. and 1000 A.D. Contemporary populations, suggested as sharing a close relationship to the Romani are the Dom people of Central Asia and the Banjaras of India.

the Gypsy Route (click to enlarge) :

The emigration from India likely took place in context of the raids by Mahmood Ghazni. As these soldiers were defeated, they were moved west with their families. While the South Asian origin of the Romani people has long been established, the exact South Asian group from whom the Romanies have descended has been a matter of debate. The recent discovery of the Jat mutation that causes a type of glaucoma in Romani populations suggests that the Romani people are the descendants of the Jat people found in Northern India.

Pundela, a Rajasthani song of longing for one’s beloved, has been a virtual anthem for Roma music, all over the world. The lyrics roughly translated into English, go like this :

I think of you, Pundela my love,
I told you not to go to abroad,
But you wanted to go to earn some money,
You did not understand that happiness lay here,
With your mother, father, sisters, brothers,
and me who loves you.

We wanted to stop you going, because we needed you,
But you did not listen to us,
Now you have returned, but you are dead,
How can I live without you ?
I miss you, Pundela my love.

Musafir (Rajasthan) :  (Download)

Dil Mastana (Rajasthan) :  (Download)

Ando Drom (Hungary) :  (Download)

Mitsoura (Hungary) :  (Download)

Thierry ‘Titi’ Robin (France) & Gulabi Sapera (Rajasthan) :  (Download)

The World Romani Union has adopted a Romani flag which is recognized by all the Roma, the world over. It comprises of blue and green traditional colors with the red Ashok Chakra in the center (adopted from the Indian flag, but with 16 spokes). Blue is for the sky and the heavens. Green is the land, organic and growing. The Ashok Chakra in the center symbolizes movement and progress.