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Jeevie

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Reply with quote  #16 
fosse, what a wonderful experience!

I grew up in a very "bollywood" kind of house. Indian movies on Sunday nights, and parents who appreciated music and encouraged everything I wanted to do. I had always wanted to learn the sitar but didn't pick it up until last year because I was kind of shy and nervous about learning. But I had an accident where I was off work for a year and decided to learn the sitar as musical therapy. It helped me get my memory and focus back and I now take 2 lessons a week. I am very fortunate that in Vancouver there are several teachers.
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Raag

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Reply with quote  #17 
How else is teaching sitar in Vancouver besides James Hamilton? I used to learn with James many years back
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theactor10

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Reply with quote  #18 
Guess I'll add my story, even though I'm very new to sitar. And yes, its gonna be stereotypical.

I grew up in an indian family, and went to my first sitar show when I was about 10 years old (I am now 27). At the time, I was young and didn't really care. So I don't really remember any of it. Fast forward to my young twenties and my obsession with the music of the 60s. Specifically the beatles, the doors, and jimi hendrix. They all had psychedelic sounds that I crave. Also I had been playing guitar since I was 18, so was very influenced by hendrix, and george harrison. I also loved the sitar kind of sounds that Robby Kreiger (of the Doors) got in the song 'The End'. Of course it was george harrison who got me listening to ravi shankar. Really started loving the soothing, meditative, magical, psychadelic sound of the sitar. A fews years ago, I decided that I really wanted one. It wasn't until this year that I became determined to find a good quality sitar that I would cherish. As of now, I've had a sitar in my possession for approximately 3 days. Yes.. 3 days.. and I am really loving it. It reminds me of how it was when I was learning the guitar. I really can't wait til I am able to pick up the instrument and play it well, and be able to really enjoy it. Super excited, and I am thankful for many on this forum providing me guidance in this quest. Some of the nicest people in the world are on this forum.
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CheesecakeTomek

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Reply with quote  #19 
Alright, I suppose I'll give this one a go!

I first experienced the sitar eight years ago, when I saw Roop Verma perform at a school near the college I was attending at the time. It was a beautiful experience and I looked forward to seeing future concerts. I even bought a Ravi Shankar CD (three ragas). Did not think I would EVER actually hold one, let alone study the music.

Fast forward a year and my music department announces an intro to indian music course being offered in the spring, taught by Roopji himself (he is local to the town)! I signed up as a sitar student right away. It was a great course that blended theory and philosophy with a comprehensive introduction to raga expression. After learning a few compositions in various ragas, we settled on preparing Yaman Kalyan for a class recital.

One day toward the end of the semester, Roopji asked me what my future plans for sitar were. Having not thought about this at all, I asked what my options were. He invited me to begin private lessons with him that following fall and so I did. Six years later here I am, still visiting him when I can, but also studying with Alif Laila in Maryland, where I have been living. I am moving back up to New York in a week and, grateful as I am for Alifji's guidance, I am excited to focus in with Roopji once more.
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Jeevie

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Raag"
How else is teaching sitar in Vancouver besides James Hamilton? I used to learn with James many years back
There is Kamal (http://www.kamalmusiccenter.com), who is my teacher (she plays many instruments and is a wonderful teacher), James Hamilton, Mohamed Assani, Naad Arts Foundation, plus a few others but their names escape me right now, but as soon as I remember them I will post them ops:
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Zulu

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Reply with quote  #21 
Oddly enough; I’m an American who never cared for the Beatles so the usual introduction was not that.
I began playing cello in 4th grade school which started my fascination with listening to and playing music.
Our next door neighbors were foreign exchange students from Kenya and I befriended their son; I became fascinated with them and their culture. Myself being African American; I found a connection with them that lacked in my family but I was only 9 years old and couldn’t quite comprehend things of a profound nature.
At this point I became a young boy obsessed with cultures outside of my own country; particularly their music and art. I found myself glued to the TV whenever National Geographic Society was on and saw these people from other worlds as very special; they seemed to have something I did not.
Amongst absorbing other practices from my neighbors, I started playing African percussion and oud; this was my first exposure to world music…I was hooked.
By the time I was in high school I was also playing bass in jazz band and tuba in marching band.
After high school I perused a career in art and tattooing. Tattooing took me all over the world participating in many tribal tattoo rituals…these rituals always involved sacred music…that was the key; the young boy in me had finally figured it out!
Much of Western music evokes emotion but is not approached as “sacred”.
Other countries have rules about what you wear, how you touch, and a respect you must have for an instrument and the music…here in Western society no one cares if you use your guitar as a footstool because there is not that connection.
All of this led me deeper in my pursuits of sacred tribal music.
One day I was to pick up a friend to go someplace; I got to his front door and I heard this incredible music coming from inside his apartment…so incredible that I could not raise my hand to knock on his door; I just stood there listening and transported to some wonderful place.
I snapped out of my trance and knocked on the door and immediately asked “what is that music playing?” He replied, “its Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.” We immediately drove to a record store and I purchased the particular album he was listening to called “Shahen-Shah.”
I went back to the store days later and told them I want more music from that part of the world. Amongst many artists from various regions I was also suggested to check out Pt. Ravi Shankar…I did and was blown away.
Fast forward through many years of now owning an immense collection of music and musical instruments from every remote corner of our planet…I noticed that a great deal of my mediation CDs had sitar…I wanted to learn.
My research led me to my Guruji Paul Livingstone; a student and disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar and then to Lars Jacobsen to purchase my Barun Ray sitar.
Life is good.
Namaste.

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AllenDS

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Reply with quote  #22 
Zulu,

You have an extraordinarily poetic manner of speaking through the written word. If your hands can produce music of equal beauty, the world will soon be blessed indeed! Keep practicing!

Namaste,
Allen

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #23 
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
I never got into this stuff seeking spiritual awakening - too much theater of which I'm already overloaded. Drugs never came into being - Raviji said not to so there it is. I'm a chemical virgin to this day.
Ich auch! Funny that when folks sort out I'm learning sitar, they assume I'm either new agey and/or drug-experienced. For me there was nothing necessarily "spiritual" about Indian music...but everything musical and beautiful. I've had to explain to a probably-disappointed yoga studio owner that no, I don't play sitar to [fill in the blank with some very spiritual new age jargon about showing inner light/god/chakras, I don't quite recall], I study the music because I love the music intensely and enjoy playing and listening to it. Just as I would if I were a cellist in a Western symphony. Well, except I don't practice nearly that much... ops:
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OM GUY

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
Ahhhhh, the Beatles ! ! ! The tracks previous to Sgt. Pepper that featured sitar and tabla for some strange reason didn't register in my head. Dave Wiget got the new Beatles record "it's a gas" so the B.A.M.F team ditched school and headed over to hear this latest offering. Dave flipped the record over (LP, that is. 12". Virgin vinyl). My ears, along with my jaw dropped. I was hooked. It was now just a matter of reeling me in. Prior to this life changing event, my ears were locked on WTRX "the friendly giant of the Saginaw Valley - 1330 on you dial", Jimi Hendrix and Dave Brubeck. Jimi's chain fuzzed guitars stroked my ears while Mr. Brubecks drummer, Joe Morello had me mapping out 5/4, 12/8 and other odd meters. Ravi Shankar albums and anything else related started piling up at home and for the next 2 years this was all I did - saturate my ears with sitar and tabla tracks getting very familiar with the recorded ragas and talas, staring at the album covers ( I can draw for you the grain pattern on Raviji's main Nodu sitar ) and learning as much of the technical info that was available. I never got into this stuff seeking spiritual awakening - too much theater of which I'm already overloaded. Drugs never came into being - Raviji said not to so there it is. I'm a chemical virgin to this day. Finally, after 2 years of ear strokes, I got to see my first sitar. Ms. Mamie Brieholz, proprietor of India Art House just stepped back from her shops window after placing a sitar there for sale as I happened to walk by. This was in Ann Arbor, Mich. Nearly had an accident right there on the sidewalk! Stumbling in, gasping to her that I have to see this instrument, she let me have at it. Having spent the previous 2 years ear training, I had it figured out how this sitar needed to be tuned and didn't fall into the trap of hacking out Jimmy Page riffs on it. We got aquanted like on a first date. So poor I couldn't even pay attention, Ms. Brieholz accepted a $3.00 deposit on this sitar knowing full well I'd be back reeeeel quick like to settle the balance. Two weeks later baby was mine. I haven't looked back since.

Can we say---- " Stand by for episode No.2, where Tony hitches his wagon to Ravi Shankar's Tour ----" ?

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #26 
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OM GUY

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Reply with quote  #27 
Tony--- you were in your element there, right in the zone... why...I could almost smell the incense...

I knew I'd get that story out of you sooner or later....

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lostandlau

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Reply with quote  #28 
I fell in hopelessly, stupidly in love with a worthless man who happened to own a horrendous and cheap sitar that he had bought while visiting India more than ten years ago. One day I asked to borrow it from him. As I fell more in love with playing the sitar, I fell more and more out of love with this man until one day I bought my own sitar and gave his sitar back to him. I haven't spoken to him since. I found a good teacher and have been studying the sitar for about two years now.
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OM GUY

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Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "lostandlau"
I fell in hopelessly, stupidly in love with a worthless man who happened to own a horrendous and cheap sitar that he had bought while visiting India more than ten years ago. One day I asked to borrow it from him. As I fell more in love with playing the sitar, I fell more and more out of love with this man until one day I bought my own sitar and gave his sitar back to him. I haven't spoken to him since. I found a good teacher and have been studying the sitar for about two years now.
Well, look at it this way, it surely wasn't a total loss. You've got a better sitar... Plus, he's lucky that he got his axe back...in one lame piece..

All's well that ends well.

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Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!
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