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rex@sitar.co.za

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Reply with quote  #1 
Just for your interest, here's a recent article from the Times of India (don't click the link, it's full of terrible adds, but I've copied the full text below: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/String-theory-Sitar-no-longer-strikes-chord/articleshow/17632527.cms)

String theory: Sitar no longer strikes chord

It was three years ago that Sashi Bhatnagar took her reluctant teenaged son to an old master who taught the sitar to a motley crowd of mostly grumpy children in Lucknow. Now, though, the boy, 16, has rebelled. He's abandoned the guru, bullied his mother into silence and taken rather heartily to Linkin Park.

In Chennai, music teachers like V Rangaraju and S R Padmavathy are not surprised. Very few, they say, are interested in instruments like the sitar or the veena anymore. They quietly mutter that we might just have seen the last of mighty classical musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan.

"They (the instruments) are bulky and need years of practice," says Rangaraju. "When I started teaching the veena 20 years ago, I used to get around five students. That has dropped to maybe two, and they are all above 30 years of age." Many of those clinging on to India's famous stringed instruments say it is time everyone realized that for the younger generation of the country's musicians the veena, sarod, tanpura, sitar or sarangi are just not "wow enough".

That things aren't upbeat for this "besieged family" is clear from the classes that are taken up at Chennai's Laksman Sruthi music school. K R Rajendran, the principal, says that a majority prefers vocal music and western classical instrumental. If not vocals — with reality shows and eventually films in mind — the attraction, across Indian cities and towns, is for the keyboard, considered glamorous and a more sure way to achieve the A R Rahman kind of success.

Parents like Bhatnagar, who are trained sitar players themselves and dream of their children following the parampara, have given up. "Most gifted children want to sing," she says. "The money and trappings of fame are no match for the forlorn existence of those carrying around a sitar to some ill-attended function in Gorakhpur. They all want to be in Mumbai. Children are fast realizing that."

Students still flock to maestros

No wonder, Bhatnagar adds, few can today command the kind of respect and audience that Ravi Shankar or Vilayat Khan did. "It is obvious that as these great instrumentalists become stars in another world, fewer still will take their place in future."

Then there are those who continue to be dismissive about the "three-minute artistes", as sitar player Shujaat Khan, son of the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, says. "Those who want to be instrumentalists will become one, come what may," he insists. "Most vocalists from the current crop are three-minute artistes. Ask them to sing the fourth minute and they'll turn 'be-sur' (out of tune)."

Moreover, established musicians like violinist Lalgudi G J R Krishnan and Mandolin U Shrinivas don't lack students. "I have students throughout the world," says Shrinivas, who runs the Shrinivas Institute of World Music in Chennai. But, he admits, the crowds are mostly in the West.

Lovers of the desi stringed instruments aren't resigning to fate just yet. They continue to have faith in the ability of the great "harmonizers" to thrive. At the Banaras Hindu University, the number of students learning the sitar seems to be growing. Krishna Chakravarti, professor of sitar at the faculty of performing arts there, takes this as a sign that there will be more Ravi Shankars in the days to come. She would be glad to meet Kolkata youth Kaushik Senapati, a student of sarod maestro Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Senapati declares he will never sell out. "Some of my friends have rock bands and are earning well. I don't envy them."

(Reports from Sandhya Soman & Priya M Menon in Chennai; Jhimli Pandey in Kolkata; Binay Singh in Varanasi, and Meenakshi Sinha in New Delhi)
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pbercker

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Posts: 1,451
Reply with quote  #2 
Interesting but quite a sobering article as well. I decided to brave the ads and clicked the link anyway to have a look at the comment section from other Indians which is also instructive but must of course be understood to be anecdotal. Still, one that caught my eye is the following
Quote:
Sitar will always attract many to try but will chase way the less hard working ones. This is one instrument easy to start but gets challenging by the day. Unlike guitar, sitar can be very frustrating as it requires constant tuning and in order to get a student interested to continue practising, must be of very good quality with good fret setting. The role of a good teacher willing to pass on crucial technical information is vital to learn this instrument. Unfortunately most sitar teachers teach a raga but never pass on the knowledge of good technic. Most sitar teachers teach differently to their kids compared to outside students. This is why most good sitar players are sons or daughters of sitar players. BHU has not yet produced one performing sitar player of good quality, the institution only produces teachers. There will always be many sitar players as long as Indian music is wanted in the west though it will be hard to find true sadhaks who take their music to Devine heights.
The bold sentence above is what caught my attention, having read (15 years ago) the very same thing except that it was about tabla teachers!


Pascal

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My opinion given without any warranties, expressed or implied, that it's even relevant. It would be folly to rely on my opinion without seeking more professional tabla advice. If you are suffering from a tabla condition, seek immediate attention.
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trippy monkey

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Posts: 4,281
Reply with quote  #3 
I very often wonder just how many of us here on this forum & others, NON Indian or hereditary musos, have actually carried on our mad passion after more than a few years, some of us several decades- I started while still at high school in 1978.

Many times I've heard said by westerners AND Indians that it's very often 'we' that are holding on to ICM & other Indian arts such as classical dancing while the Indian youth goes for modern Bollywood. :roll: Sanjeeb bhai, any ideas???

I'm back off to India at the end of January & will ask as many Indians AND NON Indians as I can what they feel.

Nick
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coyootie

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Posts: 490
Reply with quote  #4 
thought provoking. It seems that the best dhrupad audiences moved to the West. we brought the very wonderful Ud. Asad Ali Khansahib to St Louis for a gig years ago- the desi Indians on the Sangeetha Club board didn't think it would draw anybody, especially Indians, who only wanted khyal and ghazal singers.........................anyhow he sold out the venue, most of the audience was Westerners, and it was one of the most extraordinary concerts I've ever had the privilege to attend. Khansahib said most of his serious students were non- Indians.
of course granted that dhrupad veena is in fact way too subtle and sophisticated for most listeners anyhow,but it was interesting that so many wanted to hear this music.
but i've heard it for years, that ICM is losing its appeal.And frankly one of the worst concerts I ever heard was Shujaat Khan's sitar playing, at the same venue in St Louis, where he was playing at 500 miles an hour. Almost no alaap, he just rushed into the pyrotechnic display nonsense. Half the audience walked out at intermission including me. One of my Western pals, who actually had a lot of experience with ICM, asked, "is it just me or is this guy all speed and no soul"?
how many sitars have we all seen rescued from closets, basements, attics- where they were abandoned by some rocker usually- who couldn't deal with the stringing,tuning, holding posture, etc. it does work out for the sitar devotees though, as a lot of these are great old gems that ended up in the West in the 60's and 70's when a lot of great instruments were still readily available.
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Sanjeeb

Senior Member
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Posts: 464
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
I very often wonder just how many of us here on this forum & others, NON Indian or hereditary musos, have actually carried on our mad passion after more than a few years, some of us several decades- I started while still at high school in 1978.

Many times I've heard said by westerners AND Indians that it's very often 'we' that are holding on to ICM & other Indian arts such as classical dancing while the Indian youth goes for modern Bollywood. :roll: Sanjeeb bhai, any ideas???

I'm back off to India at the end of January & will ask as many Indians AND NON Indians as I can what they feel.

Nick
There are so many mixed opinions about this that it is difficult to say definitely.
I think it’s a constantly changing, evolving and developing process.

See you.
Regards.
0
Lars

Senior Member
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Posts: 1,452
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "rex@sitar.co.za"
Just for your interest, here's a recent article from the Times of India (don't click the link, it's full of terrible adds, but I've copied the full text below: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/String-theory-Sitar-no-longer-strikes-chord/articleshow/17632527.cms)

String theory: Sitar no longer strikes chord

It was three years ago that Sashi Bhatnagar took her reluctant teenaged son to an old master who taught the sitar to a motley crowd of mostly grumpy children in Lucknow. Now, though, the boy, 16, has rebelled. He's abandoned the guru, bullied his mother into silence and taken rather heartily to Linkin Park.

In Chennai, music teachers like V Rangaraju and S R Padmavathy are not surprised. Very few, they say, are interested in instruments like the sitar or the veena anymore. They quietly mutter that we might just have seen the last of mighty classical musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan.

"They (the instruments) are bulky and need years of practice," says Rangaraju. "When I started teaching the veena 20 years ago, I used to get around five students. That has dropped to maybe two, and they are all above 30 years of age." Many of those clinging on to India's famous stringed instruments say it is time everyone realized that for the younger generation of the country's musicians the veena, sarod, tanpura, sitar or sarangi are just not "wow enough".

That things aren't upbeat for this "besieged family" is clear from the classes that are taken up at Chennai's Laksman Sruthi music school. K R Rajendran, the principal, says that a majority prefers vocal music and western classical instrumental. If not vocals — with reality shows and eventually films in mind — the attraction, across Indian cities and towns, is for the keyboard, considered glamorous and a more sure way to achieve the A R Rahman kind of success.

Parents like Bhatnagar, who are trained sitar players themselves and dream of their children following the parampara, have given up. "Most gifted children want to sing," she says. "The money and trappings of fame are no match for the forlorn existence of those carrying around a sitar to some ill-attended function in Gorakhpur. They all want to be in Mumbai. Children are fast realizing that."

Students still flock to maestros

No wonder, Bhatnagar adds, few can today command the kind of respect and audience that Ravi Shankar or Vilayat Khan did. "It is obvious that as these great instrumentalists become stars in another world, fewer still will take their place in future."

Then there are those who continue to be dismissive about the "three-minute artistes", as sitar player Shujaat Khan, son of the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, says. "Those who want to be instrumentalists will become one, come what may," he insists. "Most vocalists from the current crop are three-minute artistes. Ask them to sing the fourth minute and they'll turn 'be-sur' (out of tune)."

Moreover, established musicians like violinist Lalgudi G J R Krishnan and Mandolin U Shrinivas don't lack students. "I have students throughout the world," says Shrinivas, who runs the Shrinivas Institute of World Music in Chennai. But, he admits, the crowds are mostly in the West.

Lovers of the desi stringed instruments aren't resigning to fate just yet. They continue to have faith in the ability of the great "harmonizers" to thrive. At the Banaras Hindu University, the number of students learning the sitar seems to be growing. Krishna Chakravarti, professor of sitar at the faculty of performing arts there, takes this as a sign that there will be more Ravi Shankars in the days to come. She would be glad to meet Kolkata youth Kaushik Senapati, a student of sarod maestro Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Senapati declares he will never sell out. "Some of my friends have rock bands and are earning well. I don't envy them."

(Reports from Sandhya Soman & Priya M Menon in Chennai; Jhimli Pandey in Kolkata; Binay Singh in Varanasi, and Meenakshi Sinha in New Delhi)
That picture in the article was Deobrat Mishra from a tribute just a few days ago for Pandit Ravi Shankar. Funny to see it linked with this article really I'm sure he'd wrinkle his nose although it seems as if ICM is on the decline. My 2 cents on the University thing in India is that it's so regimented and 'wooden' that it won't produce any serious players but is good for theory and the other aspects. Reminds me of taking the recorder in grade school (anyone remember those days?). It'll survive well in the West although no great players but good ones and hopefully more good ones will come out, the joke is that it's not called the Senia gharana but the 'Sony' gharana since many artists get their best stuff from others recordings.

Lars

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