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ragamala

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I have always enjoyed hearing the Gundecha Brothers, and indeed have regarded their sets as highlights of festivals I've attended. But it was with a sense of foreboding when I found according to the programme for last night's Saptak performance that they were to have "support" from saxophone and "silver flute".
My sense of doom was not allayed when Jesus look-alike (except Jesus never wore dangly earrings according to any iconography I've seen) Igino Brunori and his equally hippy-looking flute-playing chumette Virginia Nicoli took the stage. Now I am sure Igino and Virginia are very nice people and accomplished players, but to my mind they didn't belong on a dhrupad stage and I didn't belong at the front of the audience if I was to walk out early on, so I moved to the rear of the hall in case of an early departure.
Which was necessary. I can not describe how this performance turned into the worst pseud muzak suitable only for shopping mall elevators or kitsch Indian travel documentaries.
The Gundecha Brothers are masters, and I a humble listener. If the Gundechas want to inflict this sort of dhrupad-lite on us that is their right. But it is also my right to use my feet and take my ears elsewhere. Which I did. And I will never see the Gundechas again until they get rid of this inappropriate wind support which in my view can only help dig the grave of dhrupad.
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povster

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Take heart Ragamala. We have lost Rahim Fahimudddin Dagar, Faridi Desai and Asad Ali Khan, but they have left others to carry on. And there are still many vinkars and dhrupad singers remaining. The penetration of dhrupad outside of India, with more non-Indian people studying it, bodes well.

Besides, as you know yourself, dhrupad is as much a non-performance music as a performance one. Don't let an off or even muzaky performance get you down.

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ragamala

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "povster"
Take heart Ragamala. .
Thanks for the encouragement. Not downhearted, but disappointed. When we have all this talk from Gundechas amongst others about the esoteric variable sa etc ...


Fear not. I am very much looking forward to seeing Ustad Bahauddin at Saptak, at DLMC and hopefully also at Belur Math this month.

As long as he doesn't turn up with kazoo and harmonica support. :roll:
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DrKashyap

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Gundechas have denied anything except sarangi as their appropriate accompaniment. They also deny electronic tanpura as a standard gadget. But now they are changing their impression. There was a debate here before 3 yrs regarding tanpura harmonics. After a long scientific goody goody talk, all of a sudden they exclaimed (i presume not in a good state of mind) " who listens to tanpura once the performance starts". The question is whether tanpura is played for audience or for the performer ?
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ragamala

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "DrKashyap"
Gundechas have denied anything except sarangi as their appropriate accompaniment. They also deny electronic tanpura as a standard gadget. But now they are changing their impression. There was a debate here before 3 yrs regarding tanpura harmonics. After a long scientific goody goody talk, all of a sudden they exclaimed (i presume not in a good state of mind) " who listens to tanpura once the performance starts". The question is whether tanpura is played for audience or for the performer ?
I understand your comments completely.

Speaking to several of my Indian acquaintances yesterday I didn't meet anyone who had enjoyed the Gundecha's performance without sharing my reservations (although they stayed the course, which I didn't). One even described what they were doing as fusion rather than dhrupad. Whether this says more about the perception of presence of western instruments meaning fusion, or the appreciation that the western instruments were also played with a definite non-indian western accent I don't know. (Incidentally fusion was a word I heard more than once describing the Rao couple's sitar and cello jugalbandi, which conveys the impression Saskia Rao's playing of hindustani music made. Frankly I found the performance abysmal, I have never thought cello appropriate to Indian music, and having played sarangi with sitar myself I am aware of the pitfalls the scraper can fall into, and Saskia, sadly, fell into many of these).

This business about purity of dhrupad, the delicacy of tanpura tuning, the variability of the sa, all this talk and then we have performances like this, this is what disturbs me. If I mentioned the word hypocrisy it wouldn't be totally unreasonable for this to enter into the discussion.

Regarding tanpura it now seems standard in the khyal recitals at Saptak also to have not only two big tanpuras but an electronic tanpura. Which begs the question whether the real tanpuras are there simply for visual effect.

The problem also is not that the audience does not listen to the tanpura once the "music" starts, but that with overamplification of the main instrument or vocalist, and tabla, the audience can NOT HEAR the tanpura properly.

As a footnote to the negative comments, I'd say don't misunderstand me, Saptak is a great festival, and there have been some excellent performances.
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musicslug

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Reply with quote  #6 
it seems to me that a lot of ICM artists are willing to dabble in fusion as a possible way to to 'cross over' - acquire a larger audience in the west. after all, Zakir has done quite well with his many forays into fusion (esp. w/John McLaughlin). I imagine that for ICM artists, the risks ('cheapening' or diluting...) are worth taking in light of the possible rewards (larger western audience). we forum-ites are probably about the worst audience for these kinds of endeavors, being into classical forms, but I do empathize with these efforts (for the record: I personally do not like 'fusion', with very few exceptions...), since the economic 'pie' for ICM artists is pretty tiny, especially when it comes to the number of ICM artists who get regular exposure in the west. I guess what I'm saying is "they're just trying to put bread on the table". fwiw. Daniel
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povster

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "DrKashyap"
The question is whether tanpura is played for audience or for the performer ?
Quite simply, I feel tanpura is essential for both musician and audience, while being more useful for the musician.

I do not understand the equating of sarangi, harmonium etc. to tanpura. Those instruments tend to reflect what has been played rather than establishing a Sa-Pa, Sa-Ma etc. almost subconscious relationship throughout the raga.

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martin spaink

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Reply with quote  #8 
As to being able to hear a tanpura in the audience: when in Paris, at the Th
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