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) :
Hariprasad Chaurasia – Pilu (Bansuri) :
Ali Akbar Khan – Gour Sarang (Sarod) Vocals: Asha Bhonsle :
Anoushka Shankar – Shuddha Sarang (Sitar) :
Note: Please inter-change the names of the last two songs after you download them. They were wrongly named while uploading.
India has a rich source of instrumental music with its innumerable kinds of musical instruments be it classical, traditional or folk. The mild and melodious tunes of bansuri or the healing sound of sitar, each one soothes the mind and soul. Instrumental music can be used as the best kind of meditation music. The beautiful sounds of instruments help the mind and soul to relax and concentrate on a single thought.
Indian classical music is a part of the Indian heritage, and is said to be found in the oldest scriptures, namely the Vedas. Indian instrumental music is a part of the classical music and is a much revered tradition of India. Globally, Indian instrumental classical music has greater acceptance than classical vocal music. The reason attributed for this is that the lyrics in Indian vocal music are incomprehensible to people other than Indians. Presented here are four of the most delightful performances on various instruments.
Shujaat Khan, son of legendary sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan, is easily one of the most recognized faces of Hindustani classical music all over the world. He has musical pedigree that goes back seven generations. He has developed a personal style further extending the gayaki ang (singing style) of sitar, his father had innovated. The gayaki ang is imitative of the subtleties of the human voice. Shujaat Khan continues another Vilayat Khan tradition by singing the lyrics of the khayal as he plays the sitar. It often doesn’t seem as if he’s singing to anyone but himself, each time returning to the sitar and echoing his vocals with equally emphatic interpretation on the instrument.
Shujaat Khan – Kamod – Jane Na Doongi :
Shujaat Khan – Manj Khamaj – Aeri Sakhi :
Shujaat Khan – Piloo – More Saiyanji Utrenge Paar :
My good friend from Lahore, Dr. Ashfaq A Khan akaholistic, who has uploaded one of the finest personal collections of classical music on eSnips, told me once, “Collectors are like snakes, coiled tight over a treasure chest. They will snap at you if you even, as much as, try to touch the chest. Leave alone taking a few jewels from it.” Dr. Khan abhors music collectors. His gesture of sharing very rare recordings of private mehfils of great maestros proves a point. Unlike collectors of other curios like coins or stamps, a music collector has nothing to lose if he lets other people have copies of a few rare songs, especially in this age of digitized music. The original songs will stay intact without losing their quality even if one hundred people downloaded them. Strangely, a few collectors cannot bear the sight of someone who has, what the collector thinks was his sole right to possess. Contrary to what many people think, I am not a music collector in the conventional sense. I love it when people download songs from my blog. More the merrier.
Another friend, a regular visitor on this blog, Shri Virendra Nath Bali from Delhi was kind enough to send me a couple of recordings of Sitar recitals by his late father Pandit S N Bali, a renowned player of the ‘tantkari‘ style Sitar. He wants me to share these with you all. The recitals were broadcast on the Allahabad / Benares Radio. Here are some memories, as recalled by his son. S N Bali was a disciple of Ustad Hamid Hussain Khan, a very ill-tempered and reserved man, who never wanted to part with certain closely guarded secrets of his khandani Sitar techniques to a non-family person. S N Bali used to stealthily climb the staircase of Khan Saheb’s room and listen to his playing at his private riyaz time. One day as the Ustad was strolling in the campus of the Marris Music College, he froze to attention at a particular spot upon hearing the replica of his most confidential Taans and Gat on the Sitar. He immediately called the watchman and ordered him to send whosoever was playing the Sitar. S N Bali reported to the Ustad in great fear but was shocked by the love and affection showered on him by his Guru. The Ganda (thread tying) ceremony took place immediately upon the Guru‘s instructions.