Tag Archives: sarod

Artist Profiles: Buddhadev Das Gupta

Buddhadev Dasgupta

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta was a virtuoso performer who created a uniquely modern style rooted in a profound knowledge and feeling for raga music. He will be remembered along with giants such as Vilayat Khan, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan for defining instrumental music in North India after independence.

Buddhadev was born in Bihar in 1933. For an extended period of thirty-eight years, he undertook a monumental regimen of practice and study under the illustrious Acharya Radhika Mohan Maitra, a celebrated performer and teacher. Radhika Mohan Maitra was known not only for his brilliance of technique but also for his scrupulous attention to correct and logical exposition of ragas as well as for his vast repertoire of ragas and compositions. These qualities were passed to his foremost student Buddhadev Dasgupta.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta’s style represented a modern synthesis of the rababiya and beenkar styles. This synthesis manifested itself in his brilliant combination of complex right hand picking patterns with fluid left hand movement. Buddhadevji’s baaj, however, was not a mere synthesis of these two idioms but a thrustful, avant-garde approach that gave him a totally new dimension to sarod playing and to Indian instrumental music in general. A hallmark of the music of Buddhadev Dasgupta is the architecture of his formal organization. Grand large scale structures are eveloped through systematic exposition of traditional forms.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta is perhaps unmatched in the variety and complexity of his taans (rapid melodic sequences that convey the contours of a raga). Long flowing melodic lines are masterfully constructed from smaller phrases which are concise formulations of the essential grammar of the raga. Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta is also well known for his intense cultivation of laykari. Rhythmic patterns of striking beauty and force are an essential part of his playing.

Dasgupta recorded for several major record labels, including HMV, Nimbus and Columbia. As as scholar and a musician, he contributed to Nimbus Records’ four-volume “Raga Guide”, and to “Alap” a book and ten-volume introduction to Hindustani Music published by Times Music. Panditji was on the panel of experts of All India Radio, Vishwa Bharati University, Rabindra Bharati University, Allahabad University, Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Sangeet Research Academy, the Rotterdam Conservatorium of Music, and the Den Haag Conservatory. Buddhadev was a “Top Grade” artist of AlR, and revered in musical communities as a connoisseur’s musician.

A recipient of many awards, Buddhadev Dasgupta was decorated with such coveted honours as the Shiromani Award (1992), Sangeet Bhaskar of the Pracheen Kala Kendra (1995), and most importantly, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1993). He was also an active and successful teacher, and a number of his disciples have made an impressive mark with music-lovers.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta died on January 15, 2018.

Partial discography:

Nidhi

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Artist Profiles: Avijit Ghosh

Avijit Ghosh
Born on November 30th, 1974 in Kolkata, Avijit Ghosh was introduced to Indian Classical Music under the influence of his maternal uncle sitar player Pt. Ranjan Ganguly.

Avijit started learning Sarod in 1990 under the guidance of Dhyanesh Khan, son of the legendary master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan of Maihar Gharana; and also learned from Ustad Ashish Khan and Pandit Tejendra Mazumdar.

Avijit earned the first position in the All India Radio competition in 1996 and also received President’s Gold Medal. He is a regular B-high artist of AIR and TV. He holds a first class M.A. in instrumental music of the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.

He has also received a gold medal at the University exams. The Salt Lake Cultural Association gave him the coveted Jadubhatta Puraskar in 1998.

Avijit’s major performances include Sutanuti Parishad AIR Award Ceremony at Allahabad, several music circles in Kolkata, Aurobindo Ashram (Delhi), Habitat World (Delhi), and Bangladesh TV.

On May 8th, 2007, Avijit received his Phd in Instrumental Music Sarod from Rabindra Bharati University Kolkata.

Avijit wrote a book titled Origin and Development of The Sarod, published by Kalpaz Publications, New Delhi, 2012.

Discography:

Rising Star of Sarod (Raga Music)
Young Master of the Sarode (Bihaan Music Kolkata)

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Artist Profiles: Amjad Ali Khan

Amjad Ali Khan

Extraordinary New Dehli sarod player Amjad Ali Khan has established a reputation as one of the living legends of Indian classical instrumental music and is the sixth in an uninterrupted lineage of masters of the sarod. Amjad Ali Khan is rooted in the Senia Bangash school of music ~ responsible for keeping sarod alive for several hundred years.

His two sons and disciples Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash usually join him on stage.

Discography:

North India: Instrumental Music of Medieval India (Ocora, 1994)
Ragas Bilaskhani Todi & Brindabani Sarang (Navras Records, 1994)
Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan with sons Amaan Ali Bangash & Ayaan Ali Bangash (Chhanda Dhara, 2001)
Music from the 13th Century (Navras Records, 2005)
Moksha (Real World Records, 2005)
Confluence (Navras Records, 2005)
My Inspirations (Navras Records, 2006)
Romancing The Rains (Navras Records, 2007)
Samaagam (World Village, 2011)
Masterworks From The NCPA Archives (Navras Records, 2012)
Amalgam (Affetto Records, 2016)
Indian Classical Ragas (Wigmore Hall Live, 2017)
Peace Worshipers (Affetto Recordings, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Alam Khan

Alam Khan

Sri Alam Khan, the son of Swara Samrat Ali Akbar Khan, studied sarod with his father since he was seven. At his first performance he accompanied his father at a recital in Portland, Oregon and received blessings from Swami Chetanananda.

His first public performance was in 1998 at the Spirit of India Festival that celebrated the Ali Akbar College’s 30th anniversary in the United States of America. He has since accompanied his father in India at the Jodhpur Palace for the King and Royal family, the prestigious Dover Lane Festival in Calcutta as well as several full-length performances in the United States.

In 2001, Alam and his father completed a rigorous tour where they performed in Europe and India. Alam accompanied his father in 2002-2003 on a three month tour of Europe and India where they performed to sold-out audiences. He also received a prestigious Individual Artists Grant from the Marin Arts Council in June, 2003.

In 2004, Alam began his solo career in the Bay Area and has continued to establish himself throughout the United States. He regularly accompanied his esteemed father in concerts as well as teaching at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael.

Discography:

From Father to Son, with Ali Akbar Khan (AMMP, 2002)
Shades of Sarode (AMMP, 2011)
Vignettes, EP (2017)
Immersion (AMMP Records, 2018)

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Mesmerizing Sarod

Alam Khan – Immersion (AMMP Records, 2018)

Alam Khan’s Immersion highlights the resonance and splendor of the sarod, a 25-string North Indian lute. San Francisco-based Alam is the son of the late sarod virtuoso Ali Akbar Khan.

Immersion includes 6 spellbinding pieces that showcase the talent of Alam Khan as a sarod performer. He’s joined by Indranil Mallick on tabla and Benjamin Araki on tanpura.

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Sarod Titans Meet the Western Violin

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and Elmira Darvarova – Peace Worshipers

 

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and Elmira Darvarova – Peace Worshipers (Affetto Records AF1706, 2017)

Two of the world’s great musical traditions, Indian classical and western classical music come together in Peace Worshipers. The album features a family trio of sarod players led by one of the great masters of our time, Amjad Ali Khan and his equally talented sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. The three artists representing the Indian classical music tradition collaborate with superb American violinist Elmira Darvarova.

Interestingly, the three sarod players appear on separate tracks. That is, each track features only one sarod player so there are no sarod trio performances.

Most of the material is composed by Amjad Ali Khan, based on Indian ragas. Elmira Darvarova contributes one solo violin piece based on a Bulgarian folk song.

The quartet is joined by tabla maestro Anubrata Chatterjee.

The CD booklet contains reflections on the recording along with biographies of the musicians, photos and credits.

 

 

Peace Worshipers features masterfully-crafted virtuoso performances that showcase the beauty of Indian and western classical traditions as well as folk traditions.

 

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Artist Profiles: Jai Uttal

Jai Uttal

Jai Uttal is a pioneer in the United States’ world music community. His eclectic east meets-west sound has put his music at the forefront of the world fusion movement. Jai Uttal’s musical roots embrace a rich variety of cultures and traditions that span the globe and the centuries. From the traditional music of the Appalachian Mountains to the passionate strains of Bengali street singers from the haunting rhythms and melodies of ancient India to contemporary electric rock sounds Jai’s music distills the essence of diverse musical forms.

As a child in New York City, Jai’s home was filled with music. He began studying classical piano at the age of seven and later learned to play old time banjo harmonica and guitar. His musical interests encompassed a wide variety of styles and over the years he experimented with many forms of musical expression.

Eventually this led him to the work of India’s National Living Treasure Ali Akbar Khan. At the age of 19 Jai moved to California to become a student of Khansahib for traditional voice training and to learn the sarod a 25-stringed Indian instrument. Later he traveled to India where he was deeply inspired by the Bauls the wandering street musicians of Bengal. Jai settled among them communicating only through music which ultimately helped establish his unique style.

During these early visits to India Jai also met his Guru Neem Karoli Baba and spent time with many great beings of both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He became deeply absorbed in the practice of kirtan the ancient yoga of chanting or singing to God. This form of prayer became the core of his musical and spiritual life.

When Jai returned to the United States his music had been transformed. He continued to study Indian music diligently while also performing in reggae, R&B, punk and blues bands. He also began leading kirtan groups all over the country. The combination of Jai’s exceptional vocals and exotic instrumentation produced a new and captivating sound.

In 1991 Triloka Records released his debut album Footprints featuring world music innovator Don Cherry and Indian vocalist Lakshmi Shankar. The album received critical acclaim and led Jai and his band the Pagan Love Orchestra to international prominence. By the time his second album Monkey was released in 1993 Jai and the Pagan Love Orchestra had an enormous fan base with a top ten record on the world music charts.

In 1994 Beggars and Saints was released a tribute to the Bauls of Bengal and again the album received international recognition solidifying Jai Uttal’s position as a world music visionary. During this time Jai also produced two CD’s for his teacher Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Combining the brilliance of Khansahib’s playing and composing with Western orchestration Journey and Garden of Dreams became extremely popular in the Indian community.

Jai’s fourth release Shiva Station was another leap forward. Capturing the raw urgency of his live performances with the Pagan Love Orchestra and adding the mixing wizardry of veteran producer Bill Laswell Shiva Station presented traditional chants in a totally new way. The concerts at that time united the temple and the nightclub the sacred and the worldly; emphasizing the underlying theme that spirituality and devotion can pervade all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, with the rise of interest in Yoga, Jai was receiving more and more requests to lead kirtan workshops and concerts all over the world. In the last few years chanting has brought him to Israel Fiji Brazil Germany Switzerland and India. Jai released a live kirtan CD titled Nectar to begin to chronicle these powerful events.

Finally in February of 2002 Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra released Mondo Rama on Narada Records. The product of several years of deep musical and self-exploration Mondo Rama combined Brazilian influences, Hebrew prayers, Appalachian Blues, Beatles psychedelia and of course Indian music and chants, Mondo Rama explodes from the speakers in celebration and rebirth. “I went through many difficult heart-wrenching transformations in the last year” says Jai, “and I decided to put it all into this CD. The anguish the pain the joy and the redemption. Mondo Rama means the World is Rama or Everything is God. This CD is an attempt to express that feeling and the sense of surrender and gratitude that I try to remember everyday“. Mondo Rama went on to be nominated for a Grammy as Best New Age Album of 2002.

Jai adds, “world music is music from everywhere. Music that creates bridges. Music that unites hearts and cultures. Music that brings peace.”

In recent years Uttal has drifted away from world music, focusing on music for the new age market.


Discography:

Footprints (Triloka Records” 1991)

Monkey (Triloka Records 1993)

Beggars and Saints (Triloka Records 1994)

Shiva Station (Triloka Records 1997)

Nectar (Etherean 2000)

Mondo Rama (Narada Records 2002)

Kirtan (Sounds True 2004)

Music for Yoga and Other Joys with Ben Leinbach (Gemini Sun Records 2004)

Pranayama (2005)

Loveland – Music for Dreaming and Awakening with Ben Leinbach (Gemini Sun Records 2006)

Dial M for Mantra (Sounds True 2007)

Thunder Love (Nettwerk 2009)

Bhakti Bazaar (Sounds True 2010)

Queen of Hearts (Nutone 2011)

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Sarod Virtuoso Alam Khan to Perform in New York

Alam Khan

Sarod master Alam Khan is set to perform on Friday, April 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m. in Manhattan, New York. Alam Khan will celebrate his father, the acclaimed sarod player and teacher Ali Akbar Khan, on what would have been his 95th Birthday. Om Gam Ensemble will be the opening act.
Alam Khan will be joined by Nitin Mitta on tabla. Alam has toured internationally and established himself as Ali Akbar Khan’s genuine heir and the face of a new cohort of sarod players.

Alam Khan is the torch bearer of a very distinguished and important Indian music tradition,” says WMI Artistic Director Par Neiburger. “His father and teacher Ali Akbar Khan was widely regarded as one of the most important and influential Indian musicians of all time. His work popularized the music of India in the West, and the Ali Akbar College—which Alam is now the head teacher of—has had countless students spreading this important tradition around the world.”

Masters of Indian Music
Friday, April 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
(Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan
Tickets: $25-$35
www.worldmusicinstitute.org

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Exquisite Sarod-Violin Collaboration

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, Elmira Darvarova – Amalgam (Affetto Records, 2016)

Amalgam is a beautiful collaboration between the world of Indian classical and folk, western classical music and Bulgarian folk music. It’s the continuation of the much-admired “Soul Strings album in which siblings Amaan Ali Bangash (Amaan Ali Khan) and Ayaan Ali Bangash (Ayaan Ali Khan) collaborated with violinist Elmira Darvarova.

This time, on amalgam, Aman and Ayaan have also brought in their father, renowned sarod maestro and composer Amjad Ali Khan. Most of the album features raga compositions by Amjad Ali Khan. Elmira Darvarova adds one of her own compositions inspired by Bulgarian folk songs to the mix.

The two great classical music traditions meet and interact wonderfully. Throughout the album there are moments of calm along with segments of dazzling virtuosity. The quartet is joined on some pieces by tabla master Anubrata Chatterjee.

The lineup on the album includes: Amjad Ali Khan on sarod, Amaan Ali Bangash on sarod, Ayaan Ali Bangash on sarod, Elmira Darvarova on violin and Anubrata Chatterjee on tabla.

Amalgam presents masterful performances by open minded, superb instrumentalists, exquisitely bridging South Asian and western traditions.

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Hypnotically Captivating Infinite Hope

Amjad Ali Khan, Rahim AlHaj, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan – Infinite Hope (Ur Music, 2016)

Swimming in a plumy lushness, Infinite Hope, out on the Ur Music label, revisits the collaborative efforts of Indian sarod master and composer Amjad Ali Khan with Iraqi oud virtuoso and composer Rahim AlHaj. Following up on their Grammy-nominated 2010 recording Ancient Sounds, Mr. Khan and Mr. AlHaj are joined by Mr. Khan’s sons, also sarod players and composers in their own right, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan. Sharing composition duties, this quartet dazzles listeners on this potently expressive musical collaboration.

Conjuring up a finely worked musical space crafted out of Middle Eastern and Indian musical traditions, Infinite Hope is masterful and elegantly sumptuous. Filling out Infinite Hope’s sound are tabla player Prashant Trivedi, percussionist Rakesh Bhardwaj, Chanda and djembe player Bubbi Negi, rhythm arranger and percussionist Parveen Sethi and rhythmic recitation singers Praveen Sethi and Rakesh Bhardwaj.

Opening with building percussion and rhythms and adding the lavish lines of sarod and oud, opening track “Virgin Earth” is a treat to the senses where the boundaries between Middle Eastern and Indian music wend together seamlessly as rhythmic recitation rounds out the track. Equally delicious is “Innocent River” composed by Ayaan Ali Khan and Rahim AlHaj as sarod and oud lines intertwine and break away.

The tracks of Infinite Hope offer up stringed mental maze where stringed oud and sarod of both musical traditions fashion a deeply hypnotic space. Equally delicious is the soothing track and one of the shortest at a mere four minutes and twenty-eight seconds, called “The Loving Mother.”

Infinite Hope takes off on a percussively rich journey on “Mystic Eternity” before gently coaxing listeners onto the meandering path of “Singing Soul.” Elegant lines and musical vocals that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck make up “Forgiving Planet” composed by Mr. AlHaj before Infinite Hope closes with the deeply luxuriant “Laughing Child.”

Infinite Hope is hypnotically captivating. It sets up a musical space by way of lengthy, lush tracks where time has no hope of interfering, because these masterful composers and musicians will take you where they want you to go in their own sweet time.

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