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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #1 
I quote from the attached comments:

"is this a Human Being Playing a music Instrument? i don't believe... Is this a real and Mortal Human being?? or an Alien Creature... i really wonder what He is doing in Heaven Right Now... he must be playing for God now and God is so happy that He has forgot Us down there on the earth... "

- Amit Mondal

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mahadev

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Reply with quote  #2 
Cant play this, net is too slow

Is this the old HMV LP from the 70s ? A landmark, benchmark, rock in the landscape,
as long as there is anyone playing sitar on this planet .

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #3 
Max
Yes It's the glorious Shankar Ghosh accompanied forever classic!!!

Nick
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #4 
It seems the two 24 minute segments here were recorded separately, there is an infinitesimal shift in the pitch of SA during the second segment with the tabla, and the microphone is moved further away from the sitar as well.

One of the great things about VK was he always had something more, IE he never showed everything he had. But here in this rendition it almost seems as if he laid it all out there on the field of play - I think he was inspired by the masterful tabla as mentioned by Nick, which is handled here with such a respectful, precise, and subtle approach. Great drum sounds, especially the very last one. As for Max's comment that this performance will stand like a rock as long as sitar is played on this planet, I could not agree more Max.

These great virtuoso's from India - all of them - have shown us that what seems absolutely impossible to achieve, can be made to look easy, and that music is bigger than the ocean of life itself. I will never forget any of the incredible performances I experienced in India and in particular Ravi Shankar at the Calcutta Opera House, where I was blessed to be in a private box hanging just above and to the left of the stage. It was beyond magical.

I was up in the Cochise Stronghold last night for a Winter Solstice Celebration at a roaring outdoor fire just under the towering cliffs and spires of the Stronghold. This world is careening into a new era and it seems the changes become more rapid every day, every hour. I wish my fellow sitaristas the very best for the holiday season and the New Year.

GF
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Greg

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Reply with quote  #5 
Here's more on that famous mukhra from the man himself...


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mahadev

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Reply with quote  #6 
Gregg,

same to you !

Btw, this was probably recorded at the HMV studio in Dum Dum, they had a Studer machine and some Neumanns. Pitch differences are most likely from the cutting machine which was probaly sensitive to fluctuations in the grid frequency where as the Studer was not. About the importance of microphone placement, well, that is still a relatively new science in India, at least it was in the 70s, most records of that period have these inconsistencies, never mind, we have the music.
And it sounds still great. That is if you listen to the original and not a %$##&^# mp3
or otherwise compressed version.
To hell with mp3, this pest has ruined the hearing of a generation.

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Abhimonyu

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Reply with quote  #7 
Dear Mahadev,

I had the privilege of being the recording engineer at HMV's DumDum studio until I left about 3 years ago. I can tell you that their Studer machines also had an AC synchronous motor which means that its speed would fluctuate with line frequency fluctuations. In fact, all recordings of HMV and all other music companies of India (maybe even the whole world) suffered from this type of deviation until at least the late 1970's. In the case of HMV DumDum, they used analogue recorders regularly until at least 1990.

Having said that, it is also true that, for Vilayat Khan's recording of Darbari Kanara, the alap and gat were recorded on different days. In fact, the alap that was published was actually the 2nd take and the gat was recorded (I'm guessing) about a week or so later.

Abhimonyu
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barend

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Reply with quote  #8 
Very good info. Good to have it from first hand!
I always wondered about that strange pitch difference halfway through the recording. Now we know why.
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Abhimonyu

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Reply with quote  #9 
In fact, since this is the sitar forum, most of us have probably heard Nikhil Banerjee's HMV LP record of Malkauns, Hem-Lalit, and the dhun. If you'll notice, in the Malkauns, the pitch of the drut portion is ever so slightly lower than the bilambit. I've heard an anecdote (I don't know whether it's true or not) that Nikhil Banerjee was playing the Malkauns in one go. At that time, HMV's studio was not airconditioned. So, in the summer during classical recordings, artistes would sometimes endure the heat by having the studio floor's windows closed. This ensured that the take would not be rejected due to extraneous sounds.

But, sometimes, artistes would take a risk and ask that the windows be kept open. This provided physical comfort during the performance, but it's risky because some outside sound could come in (most classical recordings were held at night to minimise this risk).

I'm told that Nikhil Banerjee asked for the windows to be kept open and, in the middle of the drut gat, an airplane flew by at low altitude (the studio is just next to the airport). So he could keep the bilambit but had to play the drut gat again. It is said that the original drut gat performance was even better than that which was recorded afterwards and published.
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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #10 
Namaste Bhai
Were all the 'rejected' recordings just wiped over or were any saved?

Nick
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #11 
This first hand, inside information on the recordings is great stuff, thank you! I have a relevant (it seems to me) VK recording story from the very first time I met him which also involves Nikhil Banerjee.......

Our dear departed friend Patrick Marks and I promoted a Nikhil Banerjee concert together which took place at a large concert hall (with balconey) at Northwestern University just north of Chicago. We were lucky, due to the large Indian contingent in Chicago (this was in the mid to late 60's) the concert was well attended and we actually managed to break even!! After the event I had NB and his entire troupe back to my parents home where I had prepared an Indian vegetarian meal for them. NB was so happy he took Patrick aside and gifted a fabulous sitar to him, and he gave me his address in Calcutta, saying if I was ever there to please look him up. Three months later I was on his doorstep. He was surprised but handled it with grace and generosity.

Nikhil Banerjee took me that same afternoon - my first full day in India - to the Ali Akbar College of Indian classical music in Calcutta, where he invited me to a private, one on one lesson he was giving to a very advanced student. Just the three of us in a large circular room with a very high domed ceiling, it was like attending a private sitar lesson in a miniature Taj Mahal. I was very privileged to attend. When the bell rang, ending classes for the day, I met, amongst the many students streaming out of the school, an American musician who had recorded an album with Grace Slick in a band before Jefferson Airplane, he invited me to his home for lunch which was cooked by his female servant. In Calcutta everything is cooked in coconut oil which gives all the food a slightly sweet and to me unappealing, oily taste.

While we ate I told him I had come to Calcutta with the determination to study sitar with the great Ustad Vilayat Khan and Peter said “I know him, I will introduce you!”. Sure enough, a few days later we knocked on the door of the great Ustad’s home, which was opened by a servant who showed us into a large living room overflowing with Persian carpet after Persian carpet, layered in profusion all over the floor. Seated on the carpets, sitar in hand (!) was the Ustad’s younger brother Ustad Imrat Khan. Hardly a word was spoken, perfunctory greetings and introductions only and he started to play! What an unbelievable surprise and what a sign of respect for my new friend Peter! I was so swept up in the moment I do not remember much of the music or the conversation after, but then the servant came in and said “Ustad-ji will see you now”. We thanked Imrat and excused ourselves as the servant opened double doors that led outside to a covered veranda surrounding an enclosed courtyard garden. There, seated on a royal rug, in traditional dress, sitar in hand, was Ustad Vilayat Khan. Peter introduced me as I sat down on the veranda itself. He began to play…..

I was so blown away that on a few occasions I did let out a small gasp or some other sound of joy or enthusiasm. When he was finished playing, he addressed Peter, saying “I like it that he not only appreciates the music but also that he shows his appreciation!”

I took that opportunity to thank him and tell him that I had come to India in hopes of studying the sitar with him. He accepted me on the spot. It is worth noting that my dear friend Patrick Marks (with whom I had promoted the Nikhil Banerjee concert) had thrown himself at Vilayat Khan’s feet after hearing a concert in a Rajah’s Palace, begging him to accept him as his student and Patrick was refused by Vilayat Khan, being referred instead to his cousin for tutelage. For some reason I was more fortunate, probably because I was from a far land and of a different culture. In any event, no time was wasted, he instructed me to meet him at the recording studio at 7 PM (it was now 4 in the afternoon) and gave me the address. We took our leave and as we departed I thanked Peter for the introduction, he obviously had considerable pull. I still cannot believe these two Ustads each gave us a private recital.

I met Ustad Vilayat Khan and his entourage at the recording studio, all of us went right into the soundproof recording room, there were several engineers behind the glass in the recording booth as he removed his sitar from it’s case. As he tuned the instrument he explained to me that the recording tonight was designed to show his development as a sitar player from the age of 12 until his first public concert at the age of 17. Then to my complete shock, he handed his very own, personal sitar to me and said “Here, you play, you can be me at the age of 12!”.

I was dumbfounded and speechless. I am sure you can understand the shock of eeven holding this instrument. I was awestruck just to see it, let alone to have him hand it to me and tell me to play!! OMG!!! Needless to say I was so awestruck and overcome that I could hardly play a note. Soon enough, with a kind smile, and maybe a wry sense of humor, he relieved me of the burden and started the recording himself. I do not remember much more of the studio experience, I was just kind of shell shocked to have all of this happening so fast and so soon after my arrival, halfway around the world. In any event, we left the studio and went straight to an outdoor concert festival in a huge tent with a stage. A vocalist was just finishing, singing a deep classical rag. I was overcome with the depth and power of this music, and then it was Ustad Vilayat Khan’s turn to go on stage at perhaps 2 AM. He instructed me to go up on the stage with him and sit behind him and between him and the tabla drummer!! So there I was, only a few nights after arriving in Calcutta, sitting onstage only a few feet from my idol, Ustad Vilayat Khan, as he performed an intense and very extended concert for the Calcutta Music Festival crowd inside of that huge tent. My head was spinning.

The man truly had the generosity of a KIng.
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "fossesitar"
This first hand, inside information on the recordings is great stuff, thank you! I have a relevant (it seems to me) VK recording story from the very first time I met him which also involves Nikhil Banerjee.......

Our dear departed friend Patrick Marks and I promoted a Nikhil Banerjee concert together which took place at a large concert hall (with balconey) at Northwestern University just north of Chicago. We were lucky, due to the large Indian contingent in Chicago (this was in the mid to late 60's) the concert was well attended and we actually managed to break even!! After the event I had NB and his entire troupe back to my parents home where I had prepared an Indian vegetarian meal for them. NB was so happy he took Patrick aside and gifted a fabulous sitar to him, and he gave me his address in Calcutta, saying if I was ever there to please look him up. Three months later I was on his doorstep. He was surprised but handled it with grace and generosity.

Nikhil Banerjee took me that same afternoon - my first full day in India - to the Ali Akbar College of Indian classical music in Calcutta, where he invited me to a private, one on one lesson he was giving to a very advanced student. Just the three of us in a large circular room with a very high domed ceiling, it was like attending a private sitar lesson in a miniature Taj Mahal. I was very privileged to attend. When the bell rang, ending classes for the day, I met, amongst the many students streaming out of the school, an American musician who had recorded an album with Grace Slick in a band before Jefferson Airplane, he invited me to his home for lunch which was cooked by his female servant. In Calcutta everything is cooked in coconut oil which gives all the food a slightly sweet and to me unappealing, oily taste.

While we ate I told him I had come to Calcutta with the determination to study sitar with the great Ustad Vilayat Khan and Peter said “I know him, I will introduce you!”. Sure enough, a few days later we knocked on the door of the great Ustad’s home, which was opened by a servant who showed us into a large living room overflowing with Persian carpet after Persian carpet, layered in profusion all over the floor. Seated on the carpets, sitar in hand (!) was the Ustad’s younger brother Ustad Imrat Khan. Hardly a word was spoken, perfunctory greetings and introductions only and he started to play! What an unbelievable surprise and what a sign of respect for my new friend Peter! I was so swept up in the moment I do not remember much of the music or the conversation after, but then the servant came in and said “Ustad-ji will see you now”. We thanked Imrat and excused ourselves as the servant opened double doors that led outside to a covered veranda surrounding an enclosed courtyard garden. There, seated on a royal rug, in traditional dress, sitar in hand, was Ustad Vilayat Khan. Peter introduced me as I sat down on the veranda itself. He began to play…..

I was so blown away that on a few occasions I did let out a small gasp or some other sound of joy or enthusiasm. When he was finished playing, he addressed Peter, saying “I like it that he not only appreciates the music but also that he shows his appreciation!”

I took that opportunity to thank him and tell him that I had come to India in hopes of studying the sitar with him. He accepted me on the spot. It is worth noting that my dear friend Patrick Marks (with whom I had promoted the Nikhil Banerjee concert) had thrown himself at Vilayat Khan’s feet after hearing a concert in a Rajah’s Palace, begging him to accept him as his student and Patrick was refused by Vilayat Khan, being referred instead to his cousin for tutelage. For some reason I was more fortunate, probably because I was from a far land and of a different culture. In any event, no time was wasted, he instructed me to meet him at the recording studio at 7 PM (it was now 4 in the afternoon) and gave me the address. We took our leave and as we departed I thanked Peter for the introduction, he obviously had considerable pull. I still cannot believe these two Ustads each gave us a private recital.

I met Ustad Vilayat Khan and his entourage at the recording studio, all of us went right into the soundproof recording room, there were several engineers behind the glass in the recording booth as he removed his sitar from it’s case. As he tuned the instrument he explained to me that the recording tonight was designed to show his development as a sitar player from the age of 12 until his first public concert at the age of 17. Then to my complete shock, he handed his very own, personal sitar to me and said “Here, you play, you can be me at the age of 12!”.

I was dumbfounded and speechless. I am sure you can understand the shock of eeven holding this instrument. I was awestruck just to see it, let alone to have him hand it to me and tell me to play!! OMG!!! Needless to say I was so awestruck and overcome that I could hardly play a note. Soon enough, with a kind smile, and maybe a wry sense of humor, he relieved me of the burden and started the recording himself. I do not remember much more of the studio experience, I was just kind of shell shocked to have all of this happening so fast and so soon after my arrival, halfway around the world. In any event, we left the studio and went straight to an outdoor concert festival in a huge tent with a stage. A vocalist was just finishing, singing a deep classical rag. I was overcome with the depth and power of this music, and then it was Ustad Vilayat Khan’s turn to go on stage at perhaps 2 AM. He instructed me to go up on the stage with him and sit behind him and between him and the tabla drummer!! So there I was, only a few nights after arriving in Calcutta, sitting onstage only a few feet from my idol, Ustad Vilayat Khan, as he performed an intense and very extended concert for the Calcutta Music Festival crowd inside of that huge tent. My head was spinning.

The man truly had the generosity of a KIng.
Very nice! Continue anytime....

Lars

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #13 
What a truly fantastic anecdote. As Lars says, please feel free to continue.... LOL

It reminds of when I met Pt Ravi Shankar a few years ago, at his Delhi school after sending all recordings I had of him playing on UK television but especially him duetting with his late son, Shubho.
Quite a selection of the pics I was allowed to take are on my facebook. Just before I was shown round the school I actually had a south Indian meal with him & his delightful South Indian wife, Sukanya-ji.

Nick
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Abhimonyu

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Reply with quote  #14 
Nick,

Would you mind giving me your e-mail address?

Abhimonyu
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