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.

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Sounds of the Strings : Sarod

The present day Sarod, came into vogue through an evolutionary process. Its predecessor, the ancient Rabab, was played in the Mughal court of Emperor Akbar. It is a six stringed instrument with its lower gut string used as a resonator. The founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak, favored this instrument. The guru’s closet disciple, Bhai Ramdass, usually strummed on it and it is believed that the guru poured out his immortal devotional hymns to the sounds of the melodious Rabab.

The high point of difference between the Rabab and the Sarod is that the Sarod is endowed with an extra dose of melody and this is due to the inclusion of a metal chest plate across the front rod of the instrument. The fingerboard is thus a steely glide. As gut strings would create a dull sound effect on a steel surface, it necessitated the introduction of metal strings of variable thickness.

Ali Akbar Khan – Raga Mian Ki Sarang :  Download

Krishnamurthi Sridhar – Raga Kaushik Kanada :  Download

Amjad Ali Khan – Raga Bhairav :  Download

Amjad Ali Khan – Raga Pilu :  Download

These innovations were the work of Bandegi Khan Bangash, a camel caravan driver of Afghanistan. The ace Sarod genius, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is a direct descendant of this family and like his illustrious family he has included a new aspect of creative element into the still evolving instrument. The musical element of the thumri form of singing has entered his Sarod playing style. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and of course his father and guru, Ustad Allauddin Khan were considered to be the best exponents of Sarod during the last century.

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