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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hey Tony,
        I have a friend/customer here in the city who always brings me really nice old stuff from his collection to sell. He's got terrible physical problems from years of dialysis that prevent him from playing a lot of his instruments. He called me today to say he's bringing in an old sitar, maybe 40-45 years old that he says has decoration and lots of key visual stuff that are identical in style to that of his Kanilal veena. But the name on the instrument is "Victory House". He says it belonged to one of his old teachers Vasant Rai and when Rai died RS asked his wife for the instrument - but she said RS had more than enough sitars and gave the instrument to one of Rai's Indian students by the name of Wasasinghe.
And he in turn passed it on to my friend. It has a huge toomba and a dragon head with pink stone eyes. I don't know much about Victory House so thought I would as you what you know. He's bringing it in, along with what he called a "Mayuri style" dilruba from the same maker and I want to get some idea of what would be a fair offer for the instrument. I will send some photos as soon as I receive the instrument. Also - I just moved down the street from him and have (after 7 years) finally got an invite to his house for dinner. His trove of old instruments is legendary!
Cheers,
Keshav
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #2 
"Victory House" !?! "Drool"! Don't know this brand. "Slobber" ! Need pictures. "Drool"! "Drool"! That Mayuri sounds like an eyeful, too. "Drool"! "Slobber"! Need pics!!! "Drool"! Send pics, please. "Drool"! Wipe. Wipe.
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #3 
Just now - soon coming Sahib!
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hmmmm the sitar description seems to match the Sarat Sardar gem that Coyootie added to his collection. I wanna see picks too!!
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #5 
Keshav Ji,
I've been a long time lurker on these forums and hope to travel downtown to your shop one of these days. I was curious about the history of the Victory House Sitar--I studied sitar with an early Pioneer, of sorts, in NYC named Dr. Wasantha Wanasingh (he was in his 60s when I first met him). The sitar he used for his students to play was a Dragon Headed Victory House Sitar...it felt and sounded absolutely amazing, though in the years I studied with him, I don't think Jawari was ever done, nor were the strings changed much. The coincidences are too much and my suspicions are that it's the same Sitar--what a rare and wonderful find for you(and Tony ji, I think your drooling would be well placed if it is the same instrument). Also, in my fuzzy, 1960's memory, I recall that Victory House was in Lucknow? I suppose my interest is more nostalgic than anything, and would love to see the pictures when they're available. Or even better, come to Keshav-Music and pay my respects.

Ken
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Ken,
I am still waiting for the arrival of this instrument. The history of it is as in my first post. The only thing I can add at this point is that Wasasingh was of advanced age when he began to study with Vasant Rai - and that his reputation was that allthough terrifically loyal to Pandit Ji - he was said to have been the quite the restless wanderer, having traveled back and forth across India numderous times, studying with many teachers of different backgrounds. When he passed it on to Frank Manuson (a very much loved and respected player here in Manhattan) Wasasingh was possibly in his 80's and died soon after. That Ravi Shankar - according to "legend" (and you know how legends are) should have repeatedly asked Rai's widow to sell him the instrument - is a fair indicator that this sitar is exceptional. As for the Jawari - Prasanna Kumar Thokcham - who does all our repair and jawari - will be tweaking it top-to-bottom before it goes up for sale. I promise to take photos as soon as it arrives. In any event - I hope you do make it down to the city - if nothing else - to hang out on the tucket, take some pukkah chai in a Vrindavan matka, smoke a cigarette (if so inclined) and shoot the breeze.
Cheers,
Keshav
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coyootie

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Reply with quote  #7 
Frank offered to sell me that very sitar many years ago and then sold it off to someone else, after I'd emphatically agreed to buy it and pick it up in NY.
Hope it gets a nice home after all.
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #8 
"That Ravi Shankar - according to "legend" (and you know how legends are) should have repeatedly asked Rai's widow to sell him the instrument - is a fair indicator that this sitar is exceptional."

You mean he wouldn't take 2 rupees for it and carry the loan!

So Coyootie the description of this instrument does sound like the Sarat Sardar you bought (and that I sinfully covet.) Is it in the same category with the same visual appeal? When my wife cools off about the recent aquisitions I'll be looking for one of those beauties.

I'm actually surprised they aren't being reproduced by someone. I guess the knock off market is fairly conservative, reproducing the tried and true RS and VK designs by the boatload. At least some of the Miraj shops are trying out TK designs.

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"Words are said to have a delusive nature (Mahamaya Matrika) because the word itself, although it may contain a reference to an object is often surrounded by clusters or Kulas of lesser Shaktis...."
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #9 
The saga continues . . . I was told by the owner some time back that he'd been invited to teach at small music school that was in the proposal stage and that he'd now decided not to sell. Last night coming home I ran into the seller - who has again changed his mind. So I'm hoping to get my hands on the Victory House sitar in the next 7 days.
Cheers,
Keshav
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #10 
Keshav,

I would still be very interested in seeing this sitar and see if indeed this is the instrument I first learned on in the 60's. AND I still need to get down to your shop for some pakkha Chai!
Ken
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #11 
Wow, so this beautiful instrument still exists!
I first saw and heard this sitar when Vasant Rai was teaching my guru Pandit Amiya Das Gupta in L.A. Amiyaji, Vasantji, Shubho (Ravi Shankar's son) A tabla player Anand Gopal and my self were sitting, while Vasant rai was explaining the the difference between the raga Kaushi Kannada and Kaushiki, and played the sitar demonstrating the differences to Shubho Shankar and Amyaji. The sound of the instrument resonated throughout the room. Vasantji mentioned the significance of the instrument.
Vasant Rai's family also has two nodu mallik sitars which are stored at a instrument collectors residence at Woodstock Ny.
I was friends with a sarod player Steven James who unfortunately passed away sometime ago. Steven mentioned that RS have repeatedly requested to purchase the Nodu mallick sitars and the Dragon head sitar over the years, however the Rai family who are in no need for money politely declined stating the instruments have a sentimental value and are not for sale at ANY price.
Steven James once introduced me to Vasant Rais son, dont remember his name, but he's a charismatic young man who was riding a skateboard along with his punkrock type girlfriend, who looks more like a california surfer dude than a sarod maestros son. He was soft spoken and answered some questions I had.
Steven mentioned Vasant rais family did not involve themselves in Indian Classical music after Vasant's death, and went on to mention he had to literally beg to be let in the house after 12 years of rai's death, but they finally relented
steven talked Vasants younger son to play the sarod.
Who ever buys that sitar should make proper use of it, as it is a special instrument.
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #12 
I have been away driving up the coast along Highway 1 and not really checking email or the forum - but have a few days at a friend's house in San Francisco and finally got a chance to check the forum. It's really nice to hear from someone who is familiar with the instrument. You will be happy to know it went to a Sikh gentleman who'd originally come in to to buy an old Rikhi Ram piece we had. The strings on the dragon head sitar hadn't been changed in years and with fresh strings and a bit of jawari work the instrument sounds just gorgeous and I have to say - I'm a bit sad to see it go. It is a very special piece.
........ The name of Vasant Ji's skateboarding son with the punk-rock nose ring is Annirudh. Anni - is a sweetheart of kid and comes by all the time just to shoot the breeze and tell stories about his dad. Tho he's not interested in playing for a career - he studies regularly with Tejumdar Majumdar ( when he's not busy skateboarding ) . His older brother (whose name escapes me just now) is taking his sarod playing very seriously and will no doubt in time - show up on the concert circuit.
........ Sarodiya Stephan James was a great friend and played on my Barefoot In The Heart CD and also played killer N. and S. Indian style violin. We have a picture of him at the shop to remind us of all the wonderful music and great times. He is very much missed.
Cheers,
Keshav
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