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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #1 
I was surfing around for interesting instruments for sale and ran across this statement by I'm sure a perfectly fine gentleman who was selling a sitar....."I've learned only a few raags to a beginner-intermediate level, so I can't tell you how it sounds for particular techniques,..." I read that sentence as a person saying that although they are intermediate level they cannot explain a technique used to execute the aforementioned "few ragas"!?
I have also read statements by well meaning persons who after purchasing either a sitar of uncertain pedigree or "The best that money can buy" complaining that after 3 months of serious study they cannot figure out why the instrument doesn't sound right. seems to have jawari problems or plays out of tune.

Other statements in this same vein are "When I graduate from AACM, Cal Arts, Weslyan etc I will have mastered Indian music as well as Western composition, jazz theory or whatever.

Another "I'm a healer and in my Reikian,shaitzu,kundalini,tantric workshops I decided to add sitar" as though its a new cell phone feature...
Is this just the folly of youth? Is there a speed raga course? What happened to the traditional years of study and more importantly the humility and peer review that used to prevent students of ICM from claiming levels of proficiency that I for one cannot believe can be obtained in so short of a time. Do Ustads condone this sort of puffery now days? I guess my real question is...when a post is made that obviously shows that the author hasn't obtained even the most basic knowledge of the music, which I hold to be very special and a blessing, should we try to be "helpful" and indulge them in endless discussions of jawari or jiva or tabli dimensions etc or should we pull the gauze from their eyes and suggest they put in 3 or 4 years first? I dunno maybe I'm just an old fuddy duddy, which I am, and I'm sure most of these folks are very sincere but do we need to re-emphasize to folks the importance of recieving proper training and a modicum of restraint before the world is flooded with untutored and bastardized versions of self proclaimed Classical Indian Music? I really hope I have not offended anyone with this line of thought.
salaam,
Abdullah

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trippy monkey

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Reply with quote  #2 
Salaam Masterji again

A pretty much agree with your sentiments too. But ICM is SOOOOO big it can accomodate even the casual listener/player. To taste the proverbial 'drop from the ocean' requires a sense of commitment not all of us have or even the time etc.

A talented person will obviously 'get it' quicker than the opposite but we mustn't try to discourage our friends from at least listening.

Allauddin Khansahb asked this of Ravi when he was training about it being possible to learn even a tiny bit of ICM by a non-Indian.

Indian classical dance had gone through a 'bad phase' up until the early part of the 20th century with its image being one of lower class & even prostitution. Though why the so-called prostitution thing should be stigma is beyond me.

As you say, should we be continually prodding these people in the 'right' direction or let them just go off & do their own thing? A little nurturing is a good thing.

We've had a looooooong discussion about this very subject in an earlier post I did called 'What exactly is ICM?'
We ALL remember how heated that got.

Nick
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
Salaam Masterji again

A pretty much agree with your sentiments too. But ICM is SOOOOO big it can accomodate even the casual listener/player. To taste the proverbial 'drop from the ocean' requires a sense of commitment not all of us have or even the time etc.

A talented person will obviously 'get it' quicker than the opposite but we mustn't try to discourage our friends from at least listening.

Allauddin Khansahb asked this of Ravi when he was training about it being possible to learn even a tiny bit of ICM by a non-Indian.

Indian classical dance had gone through a 'bad phase' up until the early part of the 20th century with its image being one of lower class & even prostitution. Though why the so-called prostitution thing should be stigma is beyond me.

As you say, should we be continually prodding these people in the 'right' direction or let them just go off & do their own thing? A little nurturing is a good thing.

We've had a looooooong discussion about this very subject in an earlier post I did called 'What exactly is ICM?'
We ALL remember how heated that got.

Nick
Good post Prmate, And I agree that inclusive is good. I didn't see the other thread but as its been done and in the interest of harmony (who says theres no harmony in ICM) I withdraw my comments from discussion. :wink:

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #4 
May I then resubmit your commentary !?! Normally I let this charm and fascination go. I get thrown when a self awarded and titled mock Ustad with a staggering 6 months of lessons from a book comes across as qualified to teach, consult or recommend instruments to the unsuspecting. I've seen this from students who are just itching to get out there and strut. Even belly dance students with 2 months "training" are suddenly teaching the fine art of that dance form. You would have ejoyed how that got shut down! This stuff takes years of work, love and dedication to get. After that, then you can actually start to learn the good stuff. To come across as someone who's "mastered" the techniques with no real knowledge and certainly no heart rattles me no end. GRRRRRRRR RUFFF
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adunc069

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi, I believe the bottom line is: If you have an ego, you won't can't learn anything. As the earlier message stated about students wanting to strut their stuff after 2 months study. People like that are not concerned about the art. The imediate aspiration seems to be, "wait 'till I show them this stuff I"VE been working on! Look at ME playing MY sitar. Can you tell ME how good I am? Oh yeah, did I mention I AM HERE!"

It obviously is not about honest and sincere interest. Maybe it is at first, but it goes away really fast. If I could count the number of seemingly interested people that came to our classes in Ottawa. They walk in and start spewing stuff about "I want to play Ghandarav music. I want to study Brahaman music. I want to learn Shiva music. I want to listen to Krishna prayers on sitar while I'm microwaving my vegetable burritos" It's nothing to do with sitar. All about what they want to accomplish. ANd as for reall ICM, not that movie stuff with the constant kherewa with some guy saying "Cheley,CHeley, jayenge, cheley cheley jayenge", those damn hippies don't get into anything past that or the 900 year yoga teacher singing something about Pitch aki blahblahblah. Of course, this being the friendly forum that it is, I will stop there:-)

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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #6 
hi all,

interesting. i tend to agree with most of whats been said. but seeing as how i was just thinking of this the other day i must add my 5rs.

i think in order for a music scene to be vibrant, it must encompass all levels and attitudes about the music. now of course some of these are 'better' than others. the wise learned master is quite a different thing from the newbie. but without newbies, there'll be no masters of tomorrow. in many ways, i think the vibrancy of a scene is revealed in the diversity that one can find in the musicians and listeners. we're all just a drop in the bucket that is ICM. . .

best,

jf

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "adunc069"
I want to listen to Krishna prayers on sitar while I'm microwaving my vegetable burritos"
now THATS funny!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by "adunc069"
..those damn hippies don't get into anything past that or the 900 year yoga teacher singing something about Pitch aki blahblahblah.
:roll: ops: :wink: AWWW now ya hurt my feelings. What about 900 year old hippies??

I really do feel we cannot really judge a persons inner life, however outward action can be assesed. Bless all the newbies and the process will weed out the posers, right now its in vogue to play the sitar the cycle also includes the times when it seems like NO one cares about the music and no ego fufillment is derived. Stick through those times and your sincerity will be tested.
To illustrate the pretention and conceit of the current trend: A young man currently on the International art circut has combined "performance art" generally involving he and his wife prancing around half naked on oversized metalaphones, he claims in his liner notes to be integrating his mastery of Dhrupad into a dynamic and innovative genre. His "Dhrupad" CD also includes a NUDE picture of himself on the CD jewel cover. ARRRRRRGHHHHHHHH. In his case he studied breifly with a student of a Dhrupadi. Thats the sort of misappropriation of ICM that gets me torqued. Besides presenting a debased and distorted idea to the public I feel that should this young man ever desire to studie with a true master of Dhrupad how will a portfolio of he and his spouse mincing around like naked fairies go over?!?

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adunc069

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Reply with quote  #8 
HI, the whole hippie thing is ok I guess. I mean, if I did'nt know me, I would assume I was a complete hippie. I'm a white guy, I have long hair a little past my shoulders, I listen to Indian Music and I play sitar. But one has to discern between the hippie smoking his bong listening to Ravi Shankar's Tana Mana record for the hundreth time and the sincere person who wants to play the music :wink:

I think the hardest thing for the "newbie" to get past is that this is just another form of music that the person knows nothing about. Like that Gaungling Qin music, I love that stuff. The notation system is very cool too. BUt I'm not gonna get all dopey about it. I'm definetly against that naked guy and his wife, I don't want to know anymore but it sounds like the old "Take and Make$" stunt. :twisted: :twisted: :evil:

I remember when Anwar was teaching George Micheal's "Faith" at a sitar class. I immediatley recognized it but went along with his instruction. This other student was really taking him very seriously and trying to capture everything from the teacher. Eventually he got the joke, but see because it was on sitar it appeared to be "mystical music from 5000 years ago" Wait, need more faces :? 8) :x ops: :wink: :roll: :twisted: :evil: :!: :?: :arrow: :mrgreen: :|

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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "adunc069"
HI, the whole hippie thing is ok I guess. I mean, if I did'nt know me, I would assume I was a complete hippie. I'm a white guy, I have long hair a little past my shoulders, I listen to Indian Music and I play sitar. But one has to discern between the hippie smoking his bong listening to Ravi Shankar's Tana Mana record for the hundreth time and the sincere person who wants to play the music :wink:|
LOL no offense taken man, I'm happy to have re-emerged as an unreconstructed beatnik 8) I did 15 years as a yuppie and now no matter how many showers I take I can't remove the stench of unprincipled capitilism. :x ops:

Theres a lot more to add to the "naked dhrupadi" story that NO shower would clean. but suffice to say it is an all emcompassing metaphor for the issue at hand. So I and I comes back to the original query. I only sweep my side of the street but I do think I will refuse to participate in endorsing behaviors that disrespect the music either from intentional acts or ignorant ones, the question remains do we give em a clue or tell em to file their bridge like a waffle iron?

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #10 
Ah, how can I resist jumping in on this one? I think it does come down to , as Aretha Franklin once said, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. If you respect the music, and that involves placing the music and the desire to master it above yourSELF, then I believe you have a chance to rise to great artistic heights. That can be said about all art really. In today's environment, success seems more and more to be judged by commercialism. If you can "create" a sound, or a commodity, that lures in the unsuspecting, and equally uncritical, mass music public, you are considered a successful musician. I HATE the cut and paste, synthesized composing and performing that much western music has succumbed to. A guy buys a digital recording program, a drum machine, and figures out how to make 16 measures of something, then loops it, quantizes it, and calls it creation. A kid buys a guitar (at least it's a real instrument) and learns four chords and forma s band. It's the Fast Food music market. Instant Gratification. No time to study for years- why bother? Isn't it kind of a reflection of our Microwave Society (yeah, I'm pontificating- I use them sometimes too). So many musicians have made a fortune without years of selfless riyaz. But, in the end, the musiucians that we remember for generations, the ones we speak with reverence for, are the ones who paid their dues- the Vilayat Khans, the Jascha Heifitzs, the Bachs, the Eric Johnsons- people who practiced and sacrificed and didn't stop when they were half assed ready. Sure, it is great to see the current interest in Indian music, thanks in large part to greater exposure from western name artists, and of course this will spawn wannabees and those who will buy a sitar and six months later say they are ready to perform, or just use it for another sound on a rock and toll CD. Time weeds out the phonies. The rest of us can be thankful that we see the difference and get such joy from the real thing. Sorry if I got a little philosophical on ya.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #11 
Now that calls a spade a shovel! Thanks, Sitarman. You covered it brilliantly!
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element-82

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Reply with quote  #12 
When I see a new student show up, keen as the day is long, buy a sitar, then dissappear. I think at least they bought the sitar and the teacher makes a few bucks. I think this is the kind of thing that helps to keep teachers teaching, by helping them past some hard times. A little extra money goes a long way.

Maybe this is bad for the sitar industry, in that it brings down the quality of the instruments, but that is why there is another niche that sitarsetc, tonyK et al. fill. And eventually, a new person will come along who has genuine desire and dicipline to learn. In the meantime, let people come into ICM with whatever preconceived conceptions they have. It's the hook that can help it survive and they can always be gently corrected later.

Philosopher at large...

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Monica

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Reply with quote  #13 
One of the scariest craig's list posting I have seen yet:

"Original One Man Army Of Sounds/Nightmare Sitarist /Circus Sitarist Seeks Band."

The guy also offers playing sitar for weddings. Eeep!

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sitarman

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Reply with quote  #14 
Cool- does he take requests? How about Smoke on the Water? Sa ga ma _ Sa ga Pa ma_ Sa ga ma ga Sa__ Through a Marshall, of course...
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #15 
Now you're dredging up memories of my six year stint with Harem Caravan Belly Dance Revue. Between the dancers we played a lot of filler material. Imagine 'Dueling Banjos' on Oud and Sitar. How about "Midnight in Moscow' with the sitar playing the running 7th. line. How bout 'Zorba the Greek' at warp factor 7 with the Sitar playing the harmony line in unison with the Oud. Given the hotel lounge venue and a load of happy tourists decked out in polyester bellbottoms, white patent leather shoes and matching belts, we were the darlings of the San Diego nightclub scene. Everything has its place, even the bastardization of the sitar, my trusty axe and tool of the trade. What rattled me as stated earlier is the presentation of this magnificent instrument by a rank beginner passing themselves off as knowledgeable, trained, qualified, etc. to an unsuspecting audience or student. The initial interest, appreciation and enthusiasm by them is great. I wholeheartedly support that. Just retain the rank and place until "promotion" is earned through time, practice and some kind of proper training. Passing ones self off as a sitar teacher when that person doesn't even know how to tune the damn thing, let alone play properly - that's what I'm on about. Anyway, play on, everyone!
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