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Sitarsencat

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Hi all!
I am happy to let you know that after a lot of work to transcript it...sitarsencat has finally ready an interview we had with ud. Bahauddin Dagar in february 2011. Check it out:Bahauddin Interview

And enjoy it!

N
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musicslug

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thanks for the post - very interesting.

daniel
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John

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Very interesting interview. Thanks. Great insights from the Ustad. So sad that the list of beenkar's he mentions has reduced dramatically since the interview was conducted. The loss of Asad Ali Khansaheb & Ustad S.F. Desai cannot be over estimated. I would be interested to know what the beenkars of this forum think about the future of this most profound tradition...
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trippy monkey

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John
Do you really need an answer from me???? 8)

Nick
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musicslug

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hi John,
regarding your question about the future of this tradition, I'd say it's at risk - but not as much as it was 50 years ago, so at least there's hope. if the Dagars hadn't made the decision to teach non-family members, even this hope would be much diminished.

unfortunately, the factors working against it are formidable:
- very few teachers (skype is helping here, but Dhrupad is extremely subtle, making lessons in person all the more desirable)
- very difficult to find a good instrument. Bahauddin - and more than a few forumites - have encountered a lot of big promises, followed by disappointing delivery, from the current crop of vina makers. I hope his current optimism is well-founded, but from what I hear, nobody is currently capable of equaling the craftsmanship of Murari, the last vina maker at Kanailal and Brother, who passed a while back. and to all of you out there who'll say "so-and-so can make an excellent vina", please play one of them alongside a Murari vina, record them both with a good recorder, and post the results so we can hear the evidence for your claim.
- very expensive to get a good instrument. how many Indian students can afford a good quality vina, which these days costs at least $2K (and today's 'good' ones are still nothing like Murari's)? (this could change - see Bahauddin's comments - but the track record is not good...)
- very few people know how to work on vinas. e.g. vina jawari is nothing like sitar jawari, a fact well-known to anyone who's attempted it, especially on the kharaj. I don't know of a single case where a new vina was delivered 'ready to play' - they always have issues. Povster's saga with his is illustrative... (how many years did it take to get it playable?)
- the music itself is archaic, 'out of sync' with modernity, making it unattractive to young people. who wants to spend a decade or five learning introspective, low-key, meditative, extremely subtle music ? (and how many people in an audience will even notice when you play an andolin?)
- it's physically very difficult to play, much more so than sitar or surbahar - ever pull a meend on a vina kharaj? all of the playing positions have their issues too: take your pick - on your knees or twisted up like a pretzel.

there are a couple people, not looking to make a profit, who are working at creating Murari-quality vinas, so at least it's not all in the hands of people for whom the temptation to over-promise (and even rip off) people is too great to ignore in a poor country like India. and Bahauddin, who's still quite young, is dedicated to keeping the tradition alive. there's much more interest in India nowadays than there was in the mid-20th c., when Z.M.Dagar (probably?) had more students in the west than in India. I'm not expecting some huge surge in popularity, but I think it's 'safe' for another generation at least.

Daniel
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trippy monkey

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musicslug
You've hit more nails on the head as regards my new Rudra Veena than you may realise. Here's some things I've had to do....
None of the frets were positioned correctly, though not a prob.
An extra peg for some reason????
I have 3!! chikari now, might I tune SA SA PA? rather than ALL SAs as I was listening to Asad Ali Ji & was sure I could hear a PA in HIS chikari??

Looking at the string set-up re gauges & deer horn bridge etc, one might expect a sound like the surbahar but NO. It sounds like a Rudra Veena should. I've tried both mizrabs AND just fingers and am caught between the 2 in choice of playing styles. I feel I'm too big in stature to play it per Dagarbani style as I can't reach the bottom frets but happy in Asad Ali Ji style in over the shoulder!! I know it's possible to slightly move the toombas more apart but I don't want to go down THAT road yet!!!

Nick
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musicslug

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hey Trippy,

the Dagars tune all the chikaris to SA (2 low, 1 high - the one closest to the tumba being the high) - I don't know about other banis.

over the shoulder has advantages: you can pull bigger meends for some ergonomic reason - and you have your ear right by the tumba, so you can luxuriate in cosmic vibrations (even if nobody else can hear them...).

and yeah: a vina is not a surbahar. the biggest differences: surbs are louder, and the attack-decay curve is different. surbahars are loudest at the 'pluck', then decay; vinas actually 'swell' a bit (get louder after the pluck) before decaying - and have more sustain. it's that long sustain and 'swell' that enable those incredibly long 'one-pluck' phrases on vina.

I can't remember if your vina is teak, but if so: expect a year or so of break-in - and that's assuming lots of playing. have fun with your new baby!

daniel
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #8 
Daniel
Your second paragraph says it all for me. Here's a link to some pics I said I'd take today, 28th, on my facebook pages.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2652708476389.151545.1216086708&type=1&l=a0fa993340

Please make any criticism you like.

Thanks
Nick
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musicslug

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thanks for the pics Nick - looks like christmas came early this year!
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westsea

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Reply with quote  #10 
Daneil's post is excellent and one which should be a source of reference for years to come.
Regarding:
Quote:
Originally Posted by "musicslug"
- very difficult to find a good instrument. Bahauddin - and more than a few forumites - have encountered a lot of big promises, followed by disappointing delivery, from the current crop of vina makers. I hope his current optimism is well-founded, but from what I hear, nobody is currently capable of equaling the craftsmanship of Murari, the last vina maker at Kanailal and Brother, who passed a while back. and to all of you out there who'll say "so-and-so can make an excellent vina", please play one of them alongside a Murari vina, record them both with a good recorder, and post the results so we can hear the evidence for your claim.
- very expensive to get a good instrument. how many Indian students can afford a good quality vina, which these days costs at least $2K (and today's 'good' ones are still nothing like Murari's)? (this could change - see Bahauddin's comments - but the track record is not good...)

Daniel
I have been told, by an expert, that there is a builder in Miraj making excellent beens, for
(currently) less than $2K (traditional style). The instruments may not have the same look as a Kanai Lal, but they sound and play great... and are built properly. If anyone is considering buying a been, I encourage you to consider this builder.
http://www.rudraveena.org/Saraswati_Tantuvadya_Cendra.html

Disclaimer: I have no financial ties, nor do I benefit materially in any way, by this recommendation.
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