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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #16 
Yep Barend ......See your point completely. All good players.
But you've got to be more of a serious jazz fan than ICM aficionado for this to really connect. I know you have great taste for a variety of genres. Even then as you pointed out this example just doesn't hit on all cylinders. Again couldn't ask for more competent players but this track just kinda is what it is. I included to show his chops.

Some of my favorite fusion artists are the George Brooks collaborations with Zakir & others. Of course Shakti. Anoushka. And the old Mahavishnu Orchestra tracks.

I got to run front of house for George with Larry Coryell on guitar Ronu Majumdar on bansuri & others a few years ago. VERY tasty live mix. Crowd was a diverse Anglo & Indian crowd & all were knocked out.

I will post a few George Brooks example tracks tonight. Off to bed now.

hg 8)

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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #17 
UPDATE - AWAKE NOW
here's the George Brooks Fusion clips I promised -



just found this one - from the concert I ran Front of House mix around 2003 at the schools inaugural program - Someone just recently posted to the tube - I didn't know anyone caught this - these are the intro's so music doesn't start til 3:45 but you get the idea



Now these & previously mentioned are pretty good examples of fusion - not all even sitar fusion. So we are getting away from the topic at hand & I don't like to hijack a thread - SO - back to Anoushka Home

As I opined at the beginning I really like her rendition of Manj Khamaj (one of my personal favorite raga) as well as her Jogeshwari.. gat in rupaktal .
I would like to hear others opinions on these tracks & interpretations of the ragas - not just another "well you should hear so & so's " except for comparison of style - interpretation - etc.

Let's stick to just Anoushka's playing for a while please.

HG 8)

PS: If you all wish to start a thread on George Brooks - Zakir - Gaurav - Shakti - John McLaughlin etc etc etc Fusion work I would be happy to get the ball rolling on the General Topic forum (can't think where else to put it) as again I don't want to hijack jojo's post.

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katyrow

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Reply with quote  #18 
The album version of the Shakti performance below was my introduction to Indian music 40 years ago. I still love it. Look at how young Zakir is in this video.



The performance by Anoushka's group below reminds me of the Shakti performance above, even though violin is the only overlap in instrumentation. I've lost count of how many times I've watched both of these videos.

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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #19 
As Hamletsghost said:
Quote:
As I opined at the beginning I really like her rendition of Manj Khamaj (one of my personal favorite raga) as well as her Jogeshwari.. gat in rupaktal .
I would like to hear others opinions on these tracks & interpretations of the ragas - not just another "well you should hear so & so's " except for comparison of style - interpretation - etc.
Manj Khamaj is also one of my favorite ragas, and is a staple of the Maihar gharana players, and so I have heard many versions by many artists, as I am curious how others would deal with it. And I have clear favorites that I listen to again and again and many I only listen to once. So given my reference recordings maybe my opinions on the Anoushka version are not quite fair.

Before I say anything about her playing, I will state that she is technically playing much better than I could for most of it except for maybe the alap, so who am I really, to make critical comments here anyway. But I am not going to let that stop me and I will blunder forth in the interest of science and better understood aesthetics. ops:

I did listen to the Manj Khamaj carefully, and it is quite pleasant at one level, but for me does not engage and draw me in for repeat listening. The recording production values and audio quality are great, and I truly think that some conflate this as reflecting the quality of her playing. There are some very fine performances that have been badly recorded, in India especially, but so it goes.

The things that I find, that make this not worth repeat listening and deeper attention are as follows:
-- Too many phrases are repeated almost note for note so it gets monotonous for me,
-- The alaap is way too short, even for an aochar and then she starts with a madhya lay dadra taal gat and then goes into way-too-long faster teentaal gats. Not a great aesthetic choice and design architecture of the raga IMO.
-- Less dynamic melodic improvisation than many sitar players who take a note cluster and play and explore variations of it in a much more interesting and revealing way. This kind of unveiling and expansion of a raga from core phrases is something all the better players do and I feel is pretty essential to proper ragadari.
-- Too much use of the same RH patterns e.g. the section in 13'30'- to 15' nice at first, but then it becomes rote and mechanical.
-- The understanding and presentation of the two Nishads was kind of blurred. I think n needs to be much more dominant, especially as a Maihar gharana presentation.
-- A sense that she has learned many PRS phrases by heart and has learned to play them back at will, but without connecting it to other phrases in a genuine flow, so for my ear there is a compromised quality to the organic wholeness of the composition.
-- A sense that this is a very carefully planned and sort of calculated musical structure that can be repeated, almost identically, several times over. But this also feels kind of mechanical to me and it is hard to believe this is a real flowing improvisation. The piece is just much too predictable -- like a movie where you can guess easily what is going to happen next. With real improvisation one has to take more risks and sometimes make mistakes, but also discover new stuff that is delight to both the player and the audience.
-- The piece is "Pretty" like many pop music tunes are, but not emotionally satisfying, and is not sometimes ugly like blues and real classic rock/jazz can be. But these raw and rough edges make a piece more real and touch you deeper.
-- The stop and start bits she does often, by hitting a lot of strings like chords to me is gimmicky and not raag mood enhancing.

Anoushka is really nice to look at and I am sure she will draw many new ears and eyes to this music, but I also hope that these newcomers will take the time to listen to others who go deeper. IMO Anoushka is a good performer but she is not yet a sadhak.

From the traditional perspective of the teachers whose perspective I value the most, (Kishori, Jha-sahib, UAK, PNB, AAK, UVK), the presentation is cute and pretty but lacks bhava and rasa. (Not sure how to translate that other than saying soul.)

The thing I find most attractive about "real ICM" is the quality of "self-awareness" that some of the raga development has in the hands of any "decent" player. It almost feels like an aural persona is shaped and created out of the air, and it does not absolutely require technical mastery, though that of course helps, but it always requires delicacy, keen attention to every phrase and a kind of tentativeness about what you are doing, as the true ICM IMO ethos is always about stepping into the unknown and invoking a sonic presence into being. ICM is more about meditation than performance. This is why Kishori can sing Yaman and Bhoop 300 times, and somehow it is always a little different and still a mystery and exciting to her.

For those who care here are the reference versions of Manj Khamaj that are really hard to beat and worth going to listen over and over again and study to get the bhava and the rasa (the soul) of the raga.

The first two are just magical and well recorded too, and I recommend that you listen to them to get a sense for what I mean by bhava and rasa.
AAK & PRS

PNB
-- This is the best version I know and even PNB regarded it as one of his best studio recordings. He has several others that are also very good from concert recordings.


AAK & PNB

PNB


This old one 1975 is also very good
but not great audio quality and there is a very nice alap by Amit Roy (Hiren Roy's son) on YT as well that is worth a careful listen.

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Kirya
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #20 
WOAH

Kia Bhatt hai ...

Friend kirya...... I'm just knocked out.
THIS is the type of deep scholarly discussion I was hoping (begging ) for.
I'm at work right now & still on shift tomorrow.
After that I'm on vacation, & will give your words the due diligence they deserve & listen to your recommendations.
AND BOY I can't wait till Gaurav gets back to Chicago in May & we can sit & discuss this. I will DEFINATELY pass on your take & recommendations also.

I am most impressed with the thoroughness of your explanations.
I will address one part. I think the section where you mentioned where she strikes many strings to form chordal sounds is not so much gimmicky as an homage to her fathers performance of chordal riffs from the live Woodstock recording.
That recording is many casual listeners favorite & that passage IS pretty exciting again for the casual listener.
While not my FAVORITE Manj Khamaj .. It is right up there for one reason.
Pandit Ji''s Woodstock take still resides in my playlist along with the Bhimpillassi at Monterrey Pop just because they were some of the early exposures to Sitar from my youth, & near & dear to my heart.
Thanks again kirya... I knew I could rely on those here like yourself to give a great reply.
Again I will respond more in the near future when I can take in all your comments... NOW BACK TO WORK.

Brian 8)

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #21 
Just happened across this:


PRS and Yehudi Menuhin's Raga Piloo jughalbandhi from East Meets West is literally the first actual ICM I was exposed to (no, the Beatles don't count, really ) and I loved that album dearly, even though I didn't really understand it yet. So I am impressed at this rendition, literally note for note. Which to echo some of Kirya's thoughts, is one of the slightly more Western strengths Anoushka possesses..the ability to learn intricately detailed passages, or whole performances, note for note with precision.

Original here! Stroll down memory lane, for me.
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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #22 
I think one of the reasons that Anoushka is so successful on the World Music stage is exactly this skill, to be able to memorize long sequences note for note, and be able to reproduce it almost identically repeatedly like the best Western Classical music soloists often do. This makes musical collaboration much easier. Many others of the new generation of sitar players don't have this skill as developed, and thus I think are less likely to do as many fusion experiments as Anoushka does. Her stuff with flamenco players is also amazing, and I wonder if many others could do it as well as she does, since the formal musical script is much more critical in such an experiment.

While a singer like Kishori Amonkar or Amir Khan might be singing the same raag for the 50th time, there will almost always be a quality of exploration that could result in a completely new direction and fresh view of the raag. Many elements might be the same but there will be a lot that is new and fresh that emerges from the quality of focus and improvisation in that very moment.

I think both PNB and UVK also could memorize long sequences, but they always seemed to find a new direction to explore along the way and that's why it was always interesting to hear them do a raga they liked repeatedly. One approach stresses "the fixed composition" and the other stresses "the expanding flow" around a raga theme.


But this skill to memorize a 10-15 minute sequence is also a formidable skill,
as all of us who try and learn a gat and several variations that run a few minutes can attest to.

She is an amazing musician even though she may not be regarded as the best traditional ICM sitar player around.

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Kirya
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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #23 
I'm going to stick my neck out here and make a prediction about Anoushka, where she is going and what she is about.

She acknowledged that right from the start she smarted from the criticism she got at fourteen when she first started appearing with her father. As a result, she became very aware that there will always be people comparing her to her father.

So she chose to cut her own path by composing and playing fusion, which it seems no-one here disagrees that she has done very well at.

But also, as Kriya has pointed out, she has been memorising really long passages of her fathers work. Now we all should know just how important memorising is in being able to play well in ICM. My suggestion is that she has gone further than others, even the other children of the greats, in doing so, and in doing so has sacrificed the earlier recognition that could come with launching into a normal career exploring improvisation.

Now, she has nearly embodied the structures and forms that ravi Shankar developed over his many ears playing and soon she will begin to use that knowledge, of a 90 year old RS, at her age of 35, as a launching pad to begin to explore improvisation.

Its only a theory, but if you look at what she has done with home, and many of her classical performances now, she seems to be saying I understand the structures of RS, i have it all under my belt. Kriya (I think it was) also mentioned that her sound of her sitar is good but that is production, but it is more than that, it is a very clear and precise technique. he also mentioned the manj kamaj as having a too short alap and the choice of taal and pace not the best, I don't imagine that she is incapable of alap, I think it is a deliberate choice to avoid being the improviser , just yet, and show that she understands ravi's music. It is a sound principle to first explain the form, then elaborate.


if I am correct then we will see something amazing over the next 30 years or more.....that will confound the critics who still dog her (Incidentally she post on facebook, as being a bit miffed by the reveiw in the guardian, which was more of the same for her performance this week in London: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/may/24/tribute-to-ravi-shankar-albert-hall-hariprasad-chaurasia-anoushka)
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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #24 
Baba Allaudin used to tell his students to stay away from Alaap until they had complete mastery of gatkari and had more than a basic understanding of several ragas. PNB mentions in interviews that he was warned repeatedly to not play alaap if he wanted to continue in Maihar because alaap requires a kind of maturity and long-term exposure to the music to do properly.

So you may be right - Anoushka could flower into the most formidable sitar player of the new generation. It could happen if she keeps up with a serious sadhana practice that runs much deeper than "what should I play at the next concert". The financial survival realities of ICM make this very hard to do. You have to practice all the time. In the documentary RAGA even PRS says with a look of remorse at one point, that he could have been a much better sitar player if he had kept his practice steady and continuous .

In the Maihar days PRS and PNB played 10-12 hours a day for 5-10 years to not only hone their technical craft but also to FIND the basic approach to the spirit of the raga. This was funded by the patronage of rajahs and lords who thought this was good stuff. Maybe that era is gone and now we have performers who are very good technically but rarely touch your soul and make you feel wonder and awe at the power of raag sangeet.

I hope that Anoushka ignores all the naysayers and begins to really explore even just one raga as she gets older -- it would be wonderful for us all.

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Kirya
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Sillofthedoor

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Kirya"

I hope that Anoushka ignores all the naysayers and begins to really explore even just one raga as she gets older -- it would be wonderful for us all.
Well said, as were the variuos insights and observations...
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