Tag Archives: sitar

Artist Profiles: Habib Khan

Habib Khan – Photo by Ujjwal Kumar

Pandit Habib Khan is regarded as one of the best sitar players in the world today. He was born into a family of musicians and can trace his lineage back several generations to when classical music enjoyed the patronage of the nobility and royalty of India.

He began his training at the tender age of five under the strict eye of his accomplished father, Hameed Jaffar Khan. The Jaffar Khan family was from Indore and were well known for their unique style of playing the sitar, melding the effect of the human voice and the instrumental tone into a harmonious whole.

Habib Khan has carved out a distinct style of his own which is a blend of his father’s traditional techniques and his own imaginative innovations. He is as much at ease with light classical and religious music as he is with pure classical renderings of ragas.

Habib Khan lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area and performs all over the world. He has composed music for several CDs including Fire Dance (With Pat Martino, Zakir Hussain, Peter Block, and Ilya Rayzman), Longing on X DOT 25 Music and music for a yoga video series by Vasanti Bhat.

Discography:

FireDance (Mythos Records, 1997)
Ecstasy (RPG Music, 1998)
Longing (X DOT 25, 2000)

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Anoushka Shankar Live, a Dazzling Experience

Anoushka Shankar

Last night, March 21, sitar phenomenon, composer and world music star Anoushka Shankar performed at Fletcher Hall in the Carolina Theater of Durham, North Carolina. Anoushka charmed the audience with a remarkable mix of Indian classical music ragas, contemporary world fusion material rooted in Indian traditions and cinematic music.

The concert started with two spectacular ragas that showcased Anoushka Shankar’s talent as a sitarist and her equally impressive ensemble. Later, she performed material from Traces of You, her remarkable collaboration with Nitin Sawhney. The concert ended with excerpts from her first film score, the soundtrack to a silent epic film called Shiraz from 1928. The music for Shiraz reflected the intrigue and passion that occurs during the film.

Throughout the concert there were abundant examples of virtuosity with enthralling call and response interactions between the sitar, tabla, mrindangam and bamboo flute.

The ensemble included Ojas Adhiya (India) on tabla, Pirashanna Thevarajah (UK) on mridangam, Ravichandra Kulur on flute (India), Danny Keane (UK) on cello and piano, and Kenji Ota (Japan) on tanpura. For this concert, Anoushka invited a young Durham woman to join the ensemble on bass tanpura.

Anoushka Shankar will be performing in Washington DC tomorrow, March 23 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. She will later cross the Atlantic to perform in Dublin on Saturday, April 6 at The National Concert Hall; the Royal Festival Hall in London, United Kingdom on April 9; and she’ll fly back to the USA to perform at Campbell Hall in Santa Bárbara, California on April 17.

Special thanks to Eric Oberstein and King Kenney at Duke Performances for their support.

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Anoushka Shankar to Perform in Durham and Miami

Celebrated sitar player Anoushka Shankar is currently touring the United States. The tour includes concerts in Durham, North Carolina (Carolina Theater & Duke Performances) and Miami (South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center & Rhythm Foundation).

Anoushka Shankar is a leading performer of the Indian classical tradition. Her legendary father Ravi Shankar introduced Indian classical music and the sitar to the West.

Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka studied sitar under her father from a very young age, and like him continued on to broaden Indian musical horizons. A world music pioneer, Anoushka Shankar continues her father’s legacy of crossing cultural and musical boundaries, with collaborations with the world’s leading classical orchestras, flamenco, jazz and world music acts, and pop artists as diverse as Sting, M.I.A., and her half-sister Norah Jones.

Accompanied by a remarkable ensemble for these performances, Anoushka Shankar returns to her roots with an intimate concert of meditative Indian classical ragas.

Anoushka Shankar’s discography includes Anoushka (1998),
Anourag (2000), Live at Carnegie Hall (2001), Rise (2005),
Breathing Under Water (2007), Traveller (2011), Traces of You (2013), Home (2015), Ravi & Anoushka Shankar Live In Bangalore, 2 CD + DVD ( 2015), Land of Gold ( 2016) and the anthology Reflections (2019).

More about Anoushka Shankar.

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center & Rhythm Foundation
Sunday, March 17th, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
10950 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay, FL 33189
https://smdcac.org/events/anoushka-shankar

Carolina Theater & Duke Performances
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Carolina Theatre of Durham
https://dukeperformances.duke.edu/events/anoushka-shankar/

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Artist Profiles: Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka Shankar was born on June 9, 1981 in London, England. Anoushka is the daughter of the late Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar, and she is the first and only sitarist in the world trained completely by him.

Growing up in London, New Delhi and, later, Encinitas, California, Anoushka at first resisted the legacy of the sitar, a complex and ancient instrument with between 17 and 21 strings. Anoushka learned her first Indian songs and dances from her mother, Sukanya, and she became her father’s student at the age of nine. Her initial dislike of the specially built “baby sitar” on which she cut her musical teeth gave way to a love of the instrument and the music. She made her performing debut at age 13.

Ravi Shankar guided his daughter through her emergence as a performer and as a recording artist, writing and producing the five works she plays on Anoushka, her debut album. For Anourag, her second recording, Anoushka once again performed music written and produced by her father. This time, Ravi Shankar also joined Anoushka as performer.

When Ravi Shankar’s friend and protégé George Harrison first worked with Anoushka in 1997 — when she conducted on the Chants of India album — he saw that she had inherited not only her father’s virtuosity but also his musical soul. “Most people are musicians simply because they play a certain instrument when they play that instrument, the music appears,” Harrison said. “But Ravi — to me, he is the music; it just happens to be that he plays the sitar. And it’s like that with Anoushka. She just has that quality. She could play the banjo, and it wouldn’t matter – she is the music.”

The release of Anourag coincided with the extensive “Full Circle” tour of the United States, in which Anoushka and Ravi Shankar performed together in concert in celebration of Ravi’s 80th birthday and the 70th anniversary of the beginning of his career in music. On August 15th, India’s Independence Day, Anoushka performed alone in New York at Summerstage in Central Park. Throughout the tour, she shared the stage with her father, performing his Sitar Concerto No. 1 and conducting master classes.

Anourag continued the Shankar family’s extraordinary presence in the world of Indian classical music. The recording’s six tracks feature traditional ragas that reflect Ravi Shankar’s influence on both the composition and performance of sitar music. In his first new recording as performer in several years, Ravi Shankar joined Anoushka on “Pancham Se Gara,” the final track on Anourag. In addition to her father, Anoushka was joined on the recording by Bikram Gosh on tabla and mridangam, Tanmoy Bose on tabla.

After graduating from high school with high honors in 1999, Anoushka decided to delay her entry to college to tour the world once again with her father. Highlights of their 1999 schedule included performances together at London’s Barbican Theatre and at the Evian Festival in France, where Anoushka joined the world-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in playing the world premiere of a new work for cello and sitar by Ravi Shankar.

In 1998, the British Parliament presented Anoushka with a House of Commons Shield in recognition of her artistry and musicianship — at 17, she was the youngest as well as the sole female recipient of this honor. She toured extensively with Ravi throughout her cultural homeland of India, as well as Europe, Asia and the United States. In 1998, Anoushka played at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festival in Seattle, at Carnegie Hall and in a special concert at New York’s Town Hall. Anoushka also joined her father in London in March 1997 for a historic performance of his Concerto No. 1 for Sitar and with Zubin Mehta conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

Rise, Anoushka Shankar’s fourth album for Angel Records, marked a defining moment in the career of the young musician in 2005. Having previously recorded strictly in the classical tradition, Anoushka emerged as a potent creative force. “It’s very much my own music and my journey and who I am right now,” said Anoushka, who turned 24 in June of 2005 “I felt that on a personal level, Rise signifies growth.

Anoushka Shankar – Photo credit Simonyc

On Rise-which was composed, produced and arranged by Anoushka-she collaborated with a select crew of virtuoso Eastern and Western musicians wielding a variety of both acoustic and electronic instruments often engaging in unexpected ways to create tantalizing new sounds.

Having toured almost non-stop since her adolescence, in addition to attending school until her graduation from high school in 1999, Anoushka felt that she needed a break and elected to take 2004 off. But her vacation quickly became a working one as concepts were planted for the album that ultimately became Rise.


Anoushka Shankar – Rise

“I was going to go disappear for a while but wouldn’t you know it, I made an album,” she says “The sabbatical gave me the space to take risks. It was really an organic, natural experience. I was traveling from India to the States and meeting friends and adding people along the way. It was really beautiful.”

From the first notes of “Prayer In Passing,” which opens Rise, it becomes instantly clear that Anoushka is on to something inspiring and uncommon here. The track features Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a renowned Indian slide guitarist alongside the flamenco-style piano of Ricardo Miño, Pedro Eustache’s bansuri flute and duduk (a Middle Eastern wind instrument) and Anoushka’s sitar. “This one’s very languid,” says Anoushka. “It’s just nice and dreamy-it’s set in a morning raga that’s very moody and simple. It was lovely to have so many different things that shouldn’t go together but seemed to flow really nicely.”

“Red Sun,” the second track, features Anoushka on keyboards and is highlighted by the percussive Indian “bol” vocalizing of Bikram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose, her longtime tabla players. “We’ve always incorporated that into my shows when they play with me, and I definitely wanted to feature that-they’re improvising on that,” says Anoushka.

Anoushka performing live with her father, Ravi Shankar

“Mahadeva” is based on a four-line song by Ravi Shankar that was re-composed and arranged by Anoushka. “He never developed it into a piece of music,” Anoushka explains. “It was just something that I sang as a kid and it came into my head while we were in Calcutta recording. It started developing into a really strong rhythmic, dark-feeling track, which I was really excited about. Mahadeva is another name for Shiva, and one aspect of Shiva is that he’s the destroyer. This sort of brings out that feeling of anger and insanity.

“Naked” turns the mood around completely-Anoushka, all alone, on sitar and keyboards. “It was a very conscious decision to add a little pretty track with sitar being the focus,” she says. “We’d gone very mysterious and heavy and it seemed nice to have something light.”

“Solea” was co-written by Anoushka and pianist Ricardo Miño. The luminous background sounds, Anoushka explains, were all created on the piano. “I’m holding the piano strings muted while he’s playing one of the other background synth sounds. It was really creative and fun for me, and very physical, too, because of the rhythm, the flamenco approach.”

The album’s other sitar-less track, “‘Beloved,'” says Anoushka, “was my first experience writing lyrics from scratch and fitting it to a melody. It was flute-focused and I thought it would be nice to have it be about Krishna because he’s always associated with the flute. The lyrics are from the viewpoint of Radha, who’s his eternal lover. She’s searching for him everywhere and then she understands that the reason she hasn’t been able to find him is because she’s not looking within herself.”

The intriguingly titled “Sinister Grains,” like “Prayer In Passing,” is another instance where Anoushka juxtaposed seemingly incongruous ingredients, here using Indian shehnai and vocals, didjeridoo, South American vocal percussion, bass and electronic elements, including her sitar which was fed through a filter to create some of the track’s ambient effects. “It’s just a funky little mysterious track,” she says. “The song is in a Sufi-sort of mood where he’s talking about the pain of living, and the music is also very moody.”

Anoushka compares “Voice Of The Moon,” which matches the Western cello and violin to the Eastern sitar, tabla and santoor, to her father’s collaborations with the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin. “It’s very much composed within an Indian raga yet the fact that the cello is there gives it a smoothness,” she says. The Indian percussion is amended with an electronic HandSonic drum pad as well, “to give it a little more depth,” Anoushka explains.

Anoushka Shankar

Finally, “Ancient Love,” the longest track on Rise is “my favorite one by far,” says Anoushka. “This is the one closest to my heart. It was also the easiest track because it constantly flowed. Every time someone added to this track, it would get more beautiful. We ended up taking out a lot, too, to retain a bit of simplicity. It’s got a nice mix of the electronics and several flavors.”

The sequencing of the tracks on Rise, adds Anoushka, is hardly random. “Each one is in a certain raga, and it flows from morning to evening through the course of the album, which is a pretty unique feature. It’s not something that happens very often or that can be made to work, but if you do believe that ragas have moods and have significance it does enhance the overall flow.”

In 2007, Anoushka collaborated with world music innovator Karsh Kale, combining Indian classical music with electronica and other influences.

Anoushka Shankar – Home – Anoushka Shankar

After releasing several experimental, fusion and crossover albums, Anoushka released Home in 2015. It’s a pure Indian classical album that showcases the meditative and virtuosic qualities of the Indian raga. Home includes two ragas, one of which is a creation of Ravi Shankar’s.

Anoushka Shankar – Land Of Gold

Land of Gold (2016) is Anoushka Shankar’s whole-hearted response to the trauma and injustice experienced by refugees and victims of war. The music was inspired by recent news images of people fleeing civil war, oppression, poverty and agonizing hardship. “The seeds of Land of Gold originated in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees,” Anoushka recalls. “It coincided with the time when I had recently given birth to my second child. I was deeply troubled by the intense contrast between my ability to provide for my baby, and others who desperately wanted to provide the same security for their children but were unable to do so.”

Hang virtuoso and co-writer of many of the album’s ten pieces Manu Delago joined Anoushka Shankar. Other guests included Sanjeev Shankar, a master of the spellbinding Indian reed instrument, the shehnai, who studied with Anoushka’s father Ravi Shankar.

Land of Gold also includes guest appearances by singer-songwriter Alev Lenz, jazz bassist Larry Grenadier, dancer Akram Khan, cellist Caroline Dale, rapper and refugee advocate M.I.A., and actress and political activist Vanessa Redgrave. All-girl children’s choir Girls for Equality makes its debut on the album’s closing song, “Reunion.”

Everyone is, in some way or another, searching for their own “Land of Gold”: a journey to a place of security, connectedness and tranquility, which they can call home,” said Anoushka. “This journey also represents the interior quest that we all take to find a sense of inner peace, truth and acceptance – a universal desire that unites humanity.”

“My instrument,” comments Anoushka, “is the terrain in which I explore the gamut of emotional expression – evoking shades of aggression, anger and tenderness, while incorporating elements of classical minimalism, jazz, electronica and Indian classical styles.”

In 2019, Anoushka Shankar released Reflections, a compilation featuring including Anoushka’s favorite tracks, with pieces from Land of Gold, Traces of You, Rise and other albums.

Discography:

Anoushka (Angel Records, 1998)
Anourag (Angel Records, 2000)
Live at Carnegie Hall (Angel Records, 2001)
Rise (Angel Records, 2005)
Breathing Under Water, with Karsh Kale (Manhattan Records, 2007)
Traveller (Deutsche Grammophon, 2011)
Traces of You (Deutsche Grammophon, 2013)
Home (Deutsche Grammophon, 2015)
Ravi & Anoushka Shankar Live In Bangalore, 2 CD + DVD (East Meets West, 2015)
Land of Gold (Deutsche Grammophon, 2016)
Reflections (Deutsche Grammophon, 2019)

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A Sound Journey Through Varanasi



Srdjan Beronja – The Sounds of Varanasi

Srdjan Beronja – The Sounds of Varanasi – a unique sound journey through the holy city (ARC Music, 2014)

The Sounds of Varanasi is a set of recording made in Varanasi, India in 2011 by Serbian musician and producer Srdjan Beronja. He lived in Varanasi (formerly Benares) where he studied classical Indian tabla and made live recordings with local virtuoso musicians on traditional Indian instruments as well as field recordings of rituals, mantras (praying recitations), weddings,  and other distinctive sounds of the holy city of Varanasi.

The Indian artists featured include Pt. Dhruv Nath Mishra on sitar; Ravi Tripathi on tabla; Pt. Sukhdev Prasad Mishra on Indian violin; Vikas Tripathi on tabla; Pt. Atul Shankar on bansuri; Prakash Bimlesh on vocals and harmonium; and Pt. Kailash Nath Mishra on tabla.

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Anoushka Shankar to Perform in Miami in March 2019

Anoushka Shankar

Acclaimed Indian music composer and sitarist Anoushka Shankar is set to perform on Sunday, March 17, 2019 at South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center.

Anoushka is the daughter of Ravi Shankar and sister of Norah Jones. Anoushka Shankar studied sitar under her father from a very young age and has gone on to master the instrument and also expand her musical horizons.

She has collaborated with leading classical orchestras and pop artists as diverse as Sting, M.I.A., Herbie Hancock, and her sister Norah Jones.

Anoushka Shankar’s discography includes: Anoushka, Anourag, Rise, Breathing Under Water, Traveller, Traces of You, Home, and Land of Gold.

Accompanied by a stellar quintet for this concert, Anoushka Shankar returns to her roots with a concert of meditative Indian classical ragas.

Doors 6:00 p.m., Show 7:00 p.m.
Tickets

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Artist Profiles: Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar

Legendary virtuoso sitarist, composer, teacher and writer, Ravi Shankar was born April 7, 1920 in Varanasi, India. He was renowned throughout the world for his pioneering work in bringing Indian music to the West. He was a cultural influence in the West for several decades as India’s most recognized and esteemed musical ambassador. The youngest son of a Bengali family, he grew up in Varanasi (Benares), the holiest of Indian cities.

At a young age he accompanied his elder brother, Uday Shankar, with his company of dancers and musicians to Paris where he attended school. He spent several years in the West absorbing different kinds of music but returned to India in 1938 where he began his career in his native India. He combined his concert performances with his work for All India Radio (1949-56) where he established the National Chamber Orchestra. As word of his virtuosity spread throughout India, then Europe, Asia and the United States, Shankar embarked on one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of contemporary music.

Ravi Shankar was a prolific composer and in addition to his numerous ragas and talas, he wrote for musicians from the East and West including Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Japanese artists. Among his works are two Concertos for Sitar and Orchestra, the first commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and premiered under Andre Previn.

In 1980 he was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, under the direction of Zubin Mehta, to compose “Raga-Mala” (A garland of Ragas), which was his second Sitar Concerto. Ravi Shankar also wrote, composed and choreographed the ballet “Ghanashyam,” a work that made history on the British and Indian cultural scenes.

He composed extensively for ballets and films including Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy, which raised film music to a new standard of excellence, and Gandhi, the Academy Award winning classic by Richard Attenborough which won him nominations for both an Oscar and a Grammy Award.

Ravi Shankar was the recipient of many awards and honors including the Presidential Padma Vibhushan Award (1980) and the Award of Deshikottam, given by Vishawa Bharati and presented in December 1982 by the then Prime Minister, the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi. He is an honorary member of the American Academy of the Arts and Letters and recipient of twelve doctorates.

In 1986 he became a member of the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament. He was a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Academy and Founder President of The Research Institute for Music and the Performing Arts.

In 1999 the government of India honored Ravi Shankar by awarding him its highest civilian award, the “Bharat Ratna” or Jewel of India. In February 2000, Mr. Shankar received France’s highest civilian award, the “Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur”.

In 1996 Angel Records released In Celebration, a lavishly documented 4-CD retrospective of his greatest recordings, in honor of his 75th birthday. Angel/EMI is continuing to release many of Mr. Shankar’s albums previously unavailable on CD.

In 2004, Ken Hunt, Pandit Ravi Shankar’s approved biographer, a full-time freelance writer, broadcaster and translator specializing in music, compiled The Rough Guide To Ravi Shankar. The album is an excellent introduction to the music of the most famous Indian alive.

Called the “Godfather of World Music” by George Harrison, Ravi Shankar was also given the title “Global Ambassador” by the World Economic Forum. He continued to tour each season all over the world dividing his time between India and the USA with regular visits to Europe and the Far East. He was the author of three books My Music, My Life (in English), Rag Anurag (in Bengali) and Raga Mala (English) – the latest of which is an autobiography that was released in Fall 1999.

Ravi Shankar in 2012

Perhaps no other greater tribute can be paid to this remarkable musician than the words of his colleague, Yehudi Menuhin, “Ravi Shankar has brought me a precious gift and through him I have added a new dimension to my experience of music. To me, his genius and his humanity can only be compared to that of Mozart’s.”

Ravi Shankar died on December 11, 2012 in La Jolla, California, USA. His daughter, groundbreaking sitarist Anoushka Shankar continues the family tradition.

The Rough Guide To Ravi Shankar was released in June 2018. The anthology was compiled by Ken Hunt, Pandit Ravi Shankar’s approved biographer and a specialist in Indian classical music. This Rough Guide followed Ravi Shankar’s rise to global fame and included some of his most memorable performances of six different ragas.

Discography:

Three Ragas (Angel Records, 1956)
Improvisations (Angel Records, 1962)
India’s Most Distinguished Musician in Concert (Beat Goes On, 1962)
India’s Master Musician (Angel Records, 1963)
In London (Angel Records, 1964)
Ragas & Talas (World Pacific, 1964)
Sound of the Sitar (Angel Records, 1965)
West Meets East (Beat Goes On, 1966)
In San Francisco (Beat Goes On, 1967)
At the Monterey International Pop Festival (One Way Records, 1967)
Live at Monterey 1967 (Beat Goes On, 1967)
In New York (Beat Goes On, 1968)
A Morning Raga/An Evening Raga (Angel Records, 1968)
The Sounds of India (Columbia, 1968)
West Meets East, Vol. 2 (Beat Goes On, 1968)
At the Woodstock Festival (Beat Goes On, 1970)
Ravi Shankar: Concerto for Sitar & Orchestra; Morning Love (Beat Goes On, 1971)
Transmigration Macabre: Music from the Film Viola (See For Miles Records, 1973)
Shankar Family & Friends (Topspin Media, 1974)
Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival from India (Dark Horse, 1976)
Raga Parameshwari (Capitol, 1976)
East Meets West in an Historical Improvisation (Ravi Shankar Music Circle, 1979)
Räga-Mälä (Sitar Concerto No. 2) (Angel Records, 1982)
Tana Mana (Private Music, 1987)
Inside the Kremlin (Private Music, 1988)
The Genius of Ravi Shankar (Scorpio Distribution, 1990)
Passages (Atlantic, 1990)
Megh Malhar, Vol. 1 (Music Today, 1991)
Flute & Sitar Music of India (Empire, 1993)
Doyen of Hindustani Music Oriental, 1995)
Ravi Shankar in Venice: Raga Gurjari Todi, Manj-Khamaj, Shailangi (Discovery, 1995)
Concert for Peace: Royal Albert Hall (Moment Records, 1995)
Genesis [Original Soundtrack] (Milan, 1995)
Sublime Sounds of Sitar (Oriental, 1996)
Chants of India (Angel Records, 1997)
Raga Tala (Movieplay Music, 1997)
From India (Saar, 1997)
Raga Jogeshwari (Interra, 1998)
Four Ragas (Movieplay Music, 2000)
Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000 Angel Records, 2001)
Inde du Nord Ocora, 2001)
Spiritual Music of India: Ragas for Meditation (Proper, 2003)
Shankar: Concerto for Sitar & Orchestra; Morning Love (Warner Classics, 2003)
Traditional: The Spirit of India (Deutsche Grammophon, 2004)
Raga Hamir, Raga Hemant (2004)
Jod, Jhala, Gat (Saregama, 2004)
Raag Mishra Pilu (Saregama, 2004)
Raag Rajya Kalyan (Saregama, 2004)
Raga Bilaskhani Todi (Saregama, 2004)
Raga Mala: Aalap, Rajakhani Gat Teentaal (Saregama, 2004)
Alap, Jod, Gat, Vilamlit, Madhyalaya Teentaal (Saregama, 2004)
Raga Des: Maseekhani Gat-Teentaal/Rajakhani Gat-Ektaal (Saregama, 2004)
Raag Mishra Pilu (Saregama, 2004)
Homage to Mahatma Gandhi (Deutsche Grammophon / Edge Music, 2004)
Real Togetherness (Saregama, 2004)
Eternal Ragas (Saregama, 2004)
Timeless Classics: Hindustani Classical (Saregama, 2004)
Unique: Indian Night Live Stuttgart ’88 (Chhanda Dhara, 2004)
Sangeet Sartaj, Vols. 1 & 2 (Music Today, 2005)
Sur Saaz Aur Taal, Vol. 2 (Music Today, 2005)
Jazz et Ragas (Beat Goes On, 2005)
Spirit of India Chhandra Dhara (Chhanda Dhara, 2005)
Raga Charukauns (Chhanda Dhara, 2005)
Saaz Sitar, Vol. 1 (Music Today, 2005)
Saaz Sitar, Vol. 2 (Music Today, 2005)
Homage to Mahatma Gandhi (Fontana, 2006)
Raga Jogeshwari (Fontana, 2006)
Sitar Soul (Music Today, 2007)
More Flowers of India (Él, 2008)
Psychedelic India (Cherry Red, 2010)
Nine Decades, Vol. 2: Reminiscence of North Vista (East Meets West, 2011)
Nine Decades, Vol. 3 (East Meets West, 2011)
Nine Decades – Vol.4 – A Night at St. John the Divine (East Meets West, 2014)
Ravi & Anoushka Shankar Live In Bangalore (East Meets West, 2015)
Nine Decades 5 – Ghanashyam: A Broken Branch (East Meets West, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Shujaat Husain Khan

Shujaat Husain Khan

Born into one of the most illustrious musical families in India, sitarist and vocalist Shujaat Husain Khan is one of today’s most notable artists in the realm of Indian classical music. Shujaat is the son and disciple of one of India’s great living masters of the sitar, Ustad Vilayat Khan, from whom he has absorbed the art of playing in this gayaki ang style. Because the traditions of poetry, singing, and instrumental playing are so strongly linked in the Imdadkhani legacy, Shujaat has an enormous repertoire of poetry to use in his own work, often, when giving a sitar recital, he bursts into song mid- performance. And because of his extraordinary family, he had the chance to learn from many elder masters from his earliest years. As such, he has a profound knowledge of hundreds of rarer ragas from the Indian classical repertoire.

Shujaat first picked up the sitar at age three, playing a specially made custom instrument to suit his size. He represents the seventh generation in an unbroken family line of North Indian (Hindustani) master musicians. Among the illustrious names in this family are his grandfather, Ustad (“Master”) Inayat Khan, his great-grandfather Ustad Midad Khan, after whom the Imdadkhani gharana, or school, is named, and his great-great-grandfather, Ustad Sahebdad Khan. The Imdadkhani school of North Indian classical music is especially famous for a technique called gayaki ang, in which the instrumentalist mimics the tones, inflections, and subtle phrasing of singers.

Shujaat began his career in Indian classical music with his first public performance at age six. Since then, he has played at all the major music festivals in India and on stages across the world. In 2001, he was awarded the Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sammaan, India’s highest honor for a classical musician under the age of 45.

Throughout his career, his work has been sparked by a deep love of the music of his homeland and an intellectual curiosity that has led Shujaat to invent new musical horizons, setting the pace for other artists to follow.

He ventured into new territory in 2003 by releasing a CD, Hawa Hawa, devoted entirely to folk songs. “Those rhythms, that raw style of singing,” he declared passionately, “really does something to me.” Shujaat adds that playing folk music makes special demands of players that are quite different than those required of musicians playing classical music. “You can be an incredibly virtuosic sitarist or vocalist, but in order to play folk, the music and emotions just have to boil out of you.”

Shujaat Khan has over 100 musical releases on various international labels; and a video called Khandan.

Discography:

Waiting for Love (1999)
Hawa Hawa (World Village, 2003)
Spring (2013)
Dawning (2013)
Ruby (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Subrata De

Subrata De

Subrata De was born in 1970 in Jamshedpur. He was initiated in the art of playing Hindustani Classical Music on the sitar at the age of seven under the guidance of Sri. Amarjeet Singh of Jamshedpur. Later, he obtained training from Suramani Bauri Bandhu Sethi of Bhubaneswar, from where he has imbibed the essential elements of sitar with great devotion

After 10 years he placed himself in the hands of sitar maestro Pandit Manilal Nag of Calcutta of Bishnupur Gharana, with strict discipline and sincerity, to learn extensively the Dhrupad and Gayeki Style, Tankari, Alapang, Gatkari etc. of Bishnupur Gharana and now has become an accomplished sitar player. Currently, he is involved in various musical organizations as a lecturer in sitar.

As a professional artist, he has been awarded ‘Sangeet Praveen’ by ‘Prayag Sangeet Samiti’, ‘Allahabad and Sangeet Bhaskar’ by ‘Pracheen Kala Kendra’, Chandigarh. Also he has received ‘National Scholarship’ from Govt. of India Ministry of HRD, Dept. of Culture and he has been selected by ‘Indian Council’ for Cultural Relation for their panel of Musician. He has been associated with ‘All India Radio’ as a graded artist since 1990. He has been selected by ‘Sahitya Kala Parishad – New Delhi’ to perform in Yuva-Mahotsova’98.

The release of few audio cassettes and CDs like meditation de la India, Ganga, Insearch & Swaranjali, also created a milestone in his musical career.

He has given numerous performances in various International & major festivals all over India and many countries in abroad namely, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Cuba, Brazil, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Peru, Columbia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Paraguay, U.S.A, Armenia, Austria, Holland, Germany, Sweden, South Korea, Hong Kong, as a Solo and an accompanist and also he dedicated himself to extend and create an environment of Classical Music in rural areas of India and in abroad with leading organizations and eminent dancers. Apart from this, he has been associated with media & various cultural organizations as a sitarist and& cultural coordinator. At present working with G.D. Goenka World School, Sohna.

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Artist Profiles: Surajit Das

Surajit Das

Sitar player Surajit Das was born in Calcutta (India) in a musical family. His aunt, Shrimati Suruchi Das, gave him his first sitar lessons at age of nine. After a few years of training he developed great interest in Indian classical music and received further guidance from the well-known sitarist Prof. Kashinath Mukerjee. In 1983 he obtained his Masters Degree in Indian classical music at the Music University Proyag Sangeet Samity in Allahabad. He gave many concerts, some of which were broadcast on radio and TV in India.

Surajit studied and developed all the ragas known to Prof. Chinmoy Lahere, a well-known classical singer in India, who gave him further guidance. To promote his music, he went on a European tour to France, Belgium, Switzerland in 1988-89 and later moved to The Netherlands where he still lives and works. He gave guest performances at the seminars of Deepak Chopra and recently has been working with Roy Martina.

He teaches the value of his music and regularly performs in several European countries. Surajit is convinced of the peaceful influence Indian classical music has. Except Indian classical music he also did experiment successfully with fusion music and world music.

Surajit has a fusion group called Shanti. The instruments used include sitar, tabla, mantra singing, didjeridu, and keyboards.

Discography:

Sapta Rasa: Seven Moods of Our Mind (Oreade Music)
Secret Chants – A Trip To India (Oreade Music)
Ayurvedic Healing Cycle (Oreade Music)
Chakra Yoga Meditation (Oreade Music)
Ayurvedic Music Therapy (Oreade Music)
Kamasutra (Oreade Music)

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