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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #1 
Dear Friends,

Namaskar and Salaam.
It is with great sorrow and unbearable pain that I inform you of the passing of my beloved Guru and fellow Chandrakanth forum member Shurbahar.His real name is Jose "Joey" Valenciano,a professor of music and art studies at the University of the Philippines.He was a direct student of Pandit Debu Chauduri at the Delhi University back in 1979 where he graduated as a music(sitar) major.He was also a personal student of Panditji.He was also very fortunate to be a student of Ustad Asad Ali Khan in the university,and have been very fortunate to personally meet and receive the darshan not only of great maestros such as Ustad Mustaq Ali Khan,Pandit Balaram Pathak,Ustad Bismillah Khan,Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan but also of Master craftsmen such as Kartar Chand,Hiren Roy and Hemen Sen to name a few.

My Guru was a really low profile person,a purist(to say the least) and a traditionalist who preferred authenticity over popularity.Yes he may have played a few "commercial" and fusion gigs once in a while (he has a family to feed,and the academe isnt really the best career path for moneymaking unless of course you have a Phd ,a tenure and teaches in the "First World" ) but he was always devoted to the true tradition of his Gharana. He is actually the only formally trained and accomplished Filipino Sitar player as well as Hindustani musician.Aside from this,he is also an accomplished Kutyapi(Filipino indigenous lute) player and a Jazz drummer/percussionist(even considered as one of,if not the best in the country).

His experiences in India are worthy of publication.After dropping out of being a Zoology student in the Philippines,he followed his heart and with the blessings of his parents studied in India for 3- 3 and 1/2 years.He said his Guru would require him to practice 10 hours a day for the whole duration of his study and if he ever miss a hour of Riyaz,his beloved Guru would notice the difference. When he reasoned that he needed time to wash his laundry and cook food,his Guru told him that his Riyaz is more important than anything else.
While he was new in India and looking for a Guru or an institute to learn ICM and Sitar,he got lost in a train ride after a wedding party offered him opium (which he didnt know was opium!)
His first sitar was a "display" sitar he and his mother begged an Indian restaurant owner in the Philippines to sell to them.The sitar though that he played until he passed away yesterday was made by Maestro Hemen Sen which he has been playing for the past 35 years.

My Guru lived in a environment which didnt really understand the depth and sanctity of Hindustani music.And this has partly made him sad.Our country's idea of sitar and India music is still mostly associated with bellydancing and Bollywood.He has many times,declined teaching students whose sole purpose is to make "fusion" music,despite the offer of considerable teaching fees.Probably the only reason why he accepted me as a student at first is because I was at that time a social/cultural worker and a former Hare Krishna monk transitioning into Sufism (thus lessening my "future commercial interests" with the Sitar and ICM.).After actually only a few months since i started learning the sitar,I told him I wanted to quit since I felt I didnt have the time,discipline,and most specially the commitment to devote myself to the Tradition(I was already an apprentice Martial Arts instructor and percussionist that time and juggling all these Arts were too much for my two hands to handle).But instead of letting me quit,he gave me a copy of Pandit Raviji's book My Music My Life plus hundreds if not thousands of Mp3s of different Maestros and Ragas.He told me " just try to push it as far as you can" and so from then on I never looked back ( I gave up 2 ex fiances who wanted to have kids so I could spend more time in Riyaz than raising children).

Anyway I could go on forever sharing the greatness,kindness and generosity of my Guru,but the real question I ask myself now is how do I move on with my life without him.Where do I find the courage to play the Sitar without his physical presence and guidance?I guess the moral of the story is we have to study,and if possible fully surrender ourselves to our Gurus while we still can,while they are still alive and can guide us with both harsh criticisms and a loving encouragements.At times like this,I guess only Spirituality and yes,Music could save a devastated orphaned disciple like me.

May we all fulfill our Gurus' wishes.May we all live according to our Guru and our Traditions' desires and aspirations.May we all find the strength,courage,and yes,Faith to keep our Riyaz,our Sadhana ,for the sake of the Art.for the sake of the Divine Source of Music.
Thank you.

yours in full humility and yours in the tradition,
Ramesh

p.s
im attaching a photo of my beloved Guru,Prof Joey Valenciano aka Shurbahar

Attached Images
jpeg 524118_10203953047246883_3133033427851909204_n.jpg (56.01 KB, 2 views)


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"If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music this country would never have been partitioned."-Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

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Lars

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Reply with quote  #2 
Sorry for your loss Ramesh, it was a nice tribute to your Guruji you wrote.

Lars

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Kirya

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Reply with quote  #3 
My sympathies for your loss and I am sure he would have appreciated your heartfelt statement of gratitude.
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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you very much Larsji and Kiryaji.I deeply appreciate your kind words.

One of the reasons I decided to post this information is because I know that Guruji has corresponded with some of the forum members here through PM,so in case anyone is waiting for a reply from him through any correspondence,then you know now why he isnt and no longer can( it breaks my heart just typing and telling you this).

Anyway,thank you so much again.And do take care,all of you my fellow travelers.

Namaskar.Salaam.

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"If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music this country would never have been partitioned."-Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #5 
Rameshbhai
You have my deepest condolences.
This is a loss of beauty, and a kind spirit.
Your loss is immeasurable but with the passing of time you will find the pain and loss you feel now will turn to sweet and treasured memories.
Not that some memories will not bring forth tears, but they will be the happy tears of the love and bond you both shared thru the music you both loved.
His soul is now one with the ages, and his music lives on thru his disciples.
A loss of one such as this is a loss to us all, and it is up to those who he touched to carry on as best as they can.
This is his legacy.
Play... Play... And play again and let his spirit wash over you with the healing notes he taught you.

Be well
Brian 8)

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Bakersbites786

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Reply with quote  #6 
The heart remembers most what it has loved best. May memories comfort you and bring you peace Ramesh Bhai.

So sorry for your loss!!
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Ramesh

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hamletsghost,

Thank you for such comforting words Brianji!I am so blessed to have a community like ours to keep me sane in the most depressing times of my life like this.Your wisdom actually reminds me of my own Guruji's.Wisdom that can only be gained and nurtured through years of Riyaz,of meditation and of surrender.Namaste Prabhuji....Namaste.

Bakersbites,
Salaam Wasimbhai
Thank you so much for the deep sympathies.Yes,my memories of him are the most important memories i'd like to keep for the rest of my life.It also comforts me to be reminded that all creations come from the Divine Beloved,and to Him all must return.May we all return to the Source with nothing but love and compassion in our hearts.


Another thing i would like to share about my Guruji.When he left India in '82 to go back to the Philippines,he had to fend for himself (as a Sitariya) until the day of his passing(that's 30+ years).That means he had to learn how to fix his sitars by himself when a tumba or a kunti got broken,be able to refine a jawari,etc.He always told me that a musician must know his/her instruments like a spouse or a dear friend.Thus one must be able to the "needs" (repairs) of one's beloved instruments.One must also treat the instrument in a very respectful and dignified way.To never touch it with dirty hands,never to step/walk over it,to never play it with the wrong(ex.selfish) intentions,and as much as possible put it in a designated place in one's home where it is safe from any danger.It was only at the arrival of the internet and this Forum/Website that he was able to correspond with some of our dear members here.
So THANK YOU VERY MUCH Mr David Courtney for this website/forum.We are indebted to you in this lifetime and the next.

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"If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music this country would never have been partitioned."-Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
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