Sunday, 22 April 2018

Asad Ali Khan (1937-2011) - Rudra Veena - LP published in India in 1978

Here we present the only LP by the other great Rudra Veena master of recent decades, Ustad Asad Ali Khan. This LP was also a very exciting discovery for us as we were able to listen for the first time to the old Rudra Veena, before it was modified by Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. It is very difficult to say which one to prefer: both have their beauty and are in effect two different aural worlds.
In the 1990s and the 2000s I had the good fortune to experience Asad Ali Khan quite a couple of times in concerts in Germany and in Holland. I also had opportunities to talk to him and experienced him as a person extremely enthousiastic and proud of the tradition he belonged to. It was exciting to listen to him. I always was very impressed by his exquisite musicianship and his perfect technique, especially his playing with three fingers, which I never had seen before with any other musician.
Ustad Asad Ali Khan has quite a number of CD releases.
His German student Carsten Wicke, now living in Kolkata, has on his YouTube channel a good number of excellent videos of his concerts in Germany and Holland.
In 2011 we posted a recording of a concert in Germany on the occasion of his passing away. We added now a flac file and covers. We will post next another concert from the same tour.
In the winter 2016/2017 I had a little mouse in my appartment and this tiny mouse decided to build its nest behind one shelf of my LP collection. It made confetti out of parts of the covers of my LPs (about 20) to make its nest more comfortable. Luckily most of the covers I had already scanned a while ago, but this one not. One can see on one side the marks of the sharp teeth of that little mouse. The mouse fed on the food of my bird at night. It took a while until I noticed its presence. Finally I was able to trap it into a box and set it free outside in the garden (it was already beginning of spring then).

Friday, 20 April 2018

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (1929-1990) - Rudra Vina - Private double CD containing two cassettes from the 1980s

Here we present a private double CD from the collection of our friend KF. The two CDs contain two cassettes:
1. Cassette MA 8508 published in Holland in 1988: Raga Yaman Kalyan from the concert in Mozes and Aaron Church in Amsterdam on 19th of june 1982.
2. Cassette published by Swarashree Enterprises (CBS) in India in mid 1980s: Raga Ahir Bhairav & Raga Malkauns. As the sound of the cassette is not so good we decided to take the recordings from the re-release on CD published in 2008 which is no longer available. KF reversed the order of the two Ragas of this cassette, probably in order to have a logical succession of Ragas on CD 2 from evening and midnight to morning. We kept his order.
Here the original covers of this cassette, thanks to WD:

Many thanks to KF for sharing the recordings and creating the covers. Unfortunately the covers faded over the years.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (1929-1990) - Rudra Vina - Copy of a cassette published in India in 1980

These are the covers a friend of a friend created for this cassette. Many thanks to him.

Here the cover of the copy I had received many years ago:

Here we present another beautiful recording by the artist, published in 1980 on cassette by Amarnad, a small Indian label. Unfortunately we only have a copy of the cassette. We don't remember anymore from whom we received this cassette. It might be from Ambrose Bierce. Anyway, many thanks.
Recently we had another cassette from the same label by a student of Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, Chandrashekhar Naringrekar. Normally we post only orginal releases. But this cassette is so rare. that we decided to post it as we have it.
If anyone has the original cassette and could share the covers, that would be great and very appreciated.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (1929-1990) - Rudra Veena Recital - LP published in India in 1974

Here another very beautiful LP by the great master. I bought this one in mid 1970s in one of the Indian record shops in Southall, UK. An additional highlight on this LP is the great Pakhawaj master Swami Pagal Das. His solo is outstanding.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (1929-1990) - Raga Mangeyabushan - Re-release of an LP originally published in France in 1974

This LP was one of the greatest discoveries ever for me. I still remember vividly how I first saw the cover hanging in the window of a record shop in Cologne and discovered that it was a Rudra Veena recording. In effect, it was the very first Rudra Veena LP ever. I immediately bought the record. At home when I put the record on I was completely taken by the sheer beauty and majesty of the sound of the instrument and the exquisite musicianship of the artist. For many years it was my favourite record and till today it always kept a very special place in my collection. The LP I bought then was the first edition (see its cover below), but when the second edition was published a couple of years later I bought that one too, as I wanted to make sure never to be without this recording, if ever the first LP got damaged. I sold the first one when I had to reduce my collection as I had planned then to move to New York, which finally never happened.
An alternate take of this recording was published in 2001 on CD. According to the information given there the recording was done in Chembur, Mumbai, January 31, 1968. Also according to the information there the correct name of the Raga is Gangeyabushan. This CD can still be obtained on Discogs though the label doesn't exist anymore for quite some years.
We had recently posted a cassette from 1989 by the artist. More recordings will follow.

On the artist see:
On the website of Raga Records you can read the booklets to the two CDs by the artist: Raga 219 & Raga 222.

Here the cover of the first edition:

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sharafat Hussain Khan (1930-1985) - In Memoriam - Cassette published in India in 1987

To close our Dhrupad Series (for now), which became much longer then originally intended, we present here a cassette by the great Ustad Sharafat Hussain Khan, who was, next to his teacher Ustad Faiyaz Khan, amongst the few outstanding singers of the Agra Gharana, who still sang reguarly long Alaps in the Dhrupad style, most times followed by a Khayal compostion. But Ustad Faiyaz Khan sang also Dhrupad compositions, mostly Dhamar. See our post of a cassette by Ustad Faiyaz Khan
Sharafat Hussain Khan (1930 - 1985) was amongst the most brilliant Khayal vocalists of the post-independence era. He represented the Agra Gharana (stylistic lineage), and was unanimously regarded as the most illustrious heir to the legacy of his principal mentor, the legendary Ustad Faiyyaz Khan (1886 - 1950).
Here on this cassette the complete Side A is filled with a long Alap in Raga Jaijaiwanti, followed on Side B by a Khayal composition in the same Raga.
In 2011 and 2015 we posted already four recordings by him, partly also with long Alaps. See here.

The Agra Gharana was originally a Dhrupad Gharana. See:

Here two pages from the book "Sonic Liturgy: Ritual and Music in Hindu Tradition" by Guy L. Beck, on which some information on the Dhrupad background of the Agra Gharana is given:

from: Google Books

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Falguni Mitra - Cassette published in India in 1992

"A foremost vocalist of North Indian Classical music and an outstanding exponent of its oldest and most revered genre, Dhrupad, Falguni Mitra has been a performing artiste since the age of 12. A Guru, and until recently also the Prefect, of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy (Kolkata, India ) Falguni Mitra brings impeccable musical credentials and rich experience as a concert performer, teacher and administrator. 
Falguni Mitra was initiated into music by his father, Sangeetacharya Shib Mitra at the age of five. Shib Mitra was a disciple of Sangeetacharya and Mridangacharya Bholanath Pathakji of Varanasi, a doyen of the Bettiah tradition, a school known for its expertise in the four Banis of Dhrupad that find expression in Falguni Mitra’s music. Shib Mitra also had the privilege of receiving training in “Alapchari” from Ustad Nasiruddin Khan Sahib, the patriarch of the Dagars. Thus Falguni Mitra presents a distinctive style of Dhrupad, blending elements of the Dagar style of Raga delineation and the Bettiah style of Dhrupad and Dhamaar, with an aesthetic balance that reflects his musical ideals.
Possessing a rich and sonorous voice, Falguni Mitra’s music is marked for the depth and sensitivity of alap, majestic compositions in all four Banis of Dhrupad, intricate layakari keeping intact the text of the composition, and an extraordinary sense of proportion giving an overall effect of great completeness and charm. Rooted in tradition, he is refreshingly innovative as his own compositions reveal.
Featured at prestigious music festivals in India and abroad, Mitra is the recipient of many titles and awards, and is a regular artiste of Akashvani and Doordarshan. A thoughtful musician and a wonderful teacher, his concerts, lecture demonstrations, workshops and articles in various journals receive unqualified appreciation from all. In Chennai for over a decade until 1998, he was a frequent speaker at the annual December conferences of Indian Fine Arts Society and the Music Academy, Chennai. He composed and directed the music for the dance ballet “Meera” choreographed by Smt. Rukmani Devi Arundale and presented at Kalakshetra’s prestigious Annual Arts Festival.
Pandit Mitra is associated with various Universities such as Viswabharati University, Rabindra Bharati University, Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University, and the Annamalai University as an expert scholar, advisor and external examiner. He is a member of the experts Committee of ITC Sangeet Research Academy, a panel member of West Bengal State Music Academy and the Audition Board of All India Radio."

On Bettiah Gharana:

On Indra Kishore Mishra, who seems to me to be the more authentic representative of the Bettiah Gharana:

Here you can purchase recordings by Indra Kishore Mishra for a very low price:

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Shiv Shankar Mukherjee (1928-2004) - Gouhar Bani style of Dhrupad - Raga Bhairo

Not much is known about this Dhrupad singer, except for the notes on the back side, taken from the booklet of the only commercial CD by the artist, published in 2004 by Makar Records in Paris (see below). Amongst his students are Satinath Bhattacharya & Durga Shankar Acherjee. 
I don't remember anymore if the recording is from my collection or the one of KF. Anyway, my friend KF made a CD out of this recording and created the covers. Many thanks to him.

Here the commercial CD by the artist:

It can be obtained for only 6 Euros here:
At the same Discogs shop can also be obtained other Dhrupad releases from Makar Records:

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Temple Dhrupad - Recordings from the Dhrupad-Mela in Vrindaban in 1982 - From broadcasts by WDR, Cologne, Germany

Painting of Swami Haridas teaching Miyan Tansen in the presence of Emperor Akbar.

Here some more recordings from the Dhrupad-Mela in Vrindaban, recorded by Peter Pannke in 1982 on behalf of WDR, the West German Broadcasting in Cologne. Peter Pannke made 7 broadcasts out of these recordings:

Dhrupad-Mela Vrindaban · 7 Folgen · WDR 1982
Dhrupadas aus Darbhanga
Dhrupadas aus Braj
Asghari Bai - Die letzte der Baijis
Pakhawaj - Die Trommel mit dem satten Klang
Bhutji - Der singende Dämon
Holi - Das Fest der Farben
Der gestohlene Ring - Ein traditionelles Musikdrama 

The first program we had already posted recently under the title "Nicht einmal Gott steht höher als der Klang". As I don't have recordings of the complete broadcasts with the announcements and comments I don't know from which ones the recordings of this post stem. Only the recordings of one of the singers, Kundanlal Sharma, seem to be from the broadcast "Bhutji - Der singende Dämon".

The origin of Dhrupad are the temples, before it turned into court music. But there was always a Dhrupad tradition which stayed in the temples. Here we have recordings from three different of these traditions:

1. Kundanlal Sharma "Bhutji" (Bhootji) (tracks 1 to 4) was, according to a recent talk to Peter Pannke, a leading senior temple Dhrupad singer from Punjab.

2. The Caturvedis (tracks 5 & 6), popular known also as Caube, are representing an old form of Dhrupad sung in certain temples in Marutha and Vrindaban, belonging to the Mathura Gharana of Dhrupad. Our two artists of this tradition, Lakshman Caturvedi (Caube) and Balaji Caturvedi (Caube) have been in the 1980s eminent artists of this tradition. 
See here on this tradition some excerpts from "Sonic Liturgy: Ritual and Music in Hindu Tradition" by Guy L. Beck:

from: Google Books.

3. Swami Shriramji Sharma (track 7) was the director of the Krishna Ras Leela Mandal troupe in Vrindaban in the early 1980s and, according to Peter Pannke, had some knowledge of Dhrupad, probably of a tradition similar (if not the same) as the Caturvedis, and performed it on the Dhrupad Mela.

We received these recordings from our friend KF. Many thanks for the sharing.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Dhrupad recordings from All Pakistan Music Conference in 1961 - Mian Mehr Ali Khan of Talwandi Gharana & Niaz Hussain Shami of Sham Chaurasia Gharana

Talwandi Gharana. Lahore. Early 1920s

Here we present some Dhrupad recordings from the All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC) in march and april 1961. We downloaded these many many years ago from the Esnips and Mediafire folders of "Holistic" Ashfaq Khan, which have disappeared already many years ago.

Mian Mehr Ali Khan (1913-1976) of Talwandi Gharana was the father of Muhammad Afzal & Muhammad Hafeez Ali Khan. We have here twice the same recording, first a shorter excerpt in good sound quality, second a longer version unfortunately of very unequal quality.
On the Talwandi Gharana see our previous post.

Niaz Hussain Shami (1924-1972) was a famous Dhrupad singer of Sham Chaurasia Gharana. This Gharana, founded in the 16th century, was till quite recently a Dhrupad Gharana. Only with Nazakat Ali Khan and Salamat Ali Khan and some others it turned into a Khayal Gharana. Even Vilayat Ali Khan, the father of Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan, was apparently still a Dhrupad singer.
We have here three recordings by Niaz Hussain Shami, all three in Lalit or variants of Lalit.
On the artist see:
On the Sham Chaurasia Gharana:

In all these recordings Pakhawaj accompaniment is provided by the legendary Ustad Bhai Naseera, one of the greats of the Punjab Pakhawaj Gharana.

As the original recordings have been in mp3 format we offer them here also only in mp3 format.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Muhammad Hafeez Khan Talwandi (1933-2009) - Dhrupad from Pakistan - Talwandi Gharana

Here we present two recordings by Muhammad Hafeez Khan Talwandi (1933-2009), who was, together with his late brother, the eminent representative of the Talwandi Gharana, the only Dhrupad Gharana in Pakistan. The recordings, Ragas Bageshree & Jaijaivanti, we downloaded, if I remember right, many many years ago from the website, no longer existing, of the Lahore Music Forum or from Lahore Chitrkar, also no longer existing. 
Orginally Muhammad Hafeez Khan performed with his late older brother Muhammad Afzal Khan as a duo. In 2015 we had posted a cassette by the two brothers. 
Peter Pannke recorded them for the CD "Pakistani Soul" published in 1997 by Wergo: Rag Patdeep (14:08). He also invited them for the Festival "Pakistani Soul - Musik der Sufis aus Pakistan" in Berlin and Munich, also in 1997. This was perhaps the most beautiful Festival I ever saw.

Today's representatives of the founding family of the Talwandi Gharana of Dhrupad vocalists, Labrez Afzal Khan and Ali Hafeez Khan, also known as Talwandi Brothers, are the sons of the two older brothers and are quite active, performing in Pakistan and India. On YouTube one can find a good number of recordings by them.

For a very detailed and fascinating article on the Talwandi Gharana see:

Another fascintaing article. Read from page 147 (page 3 of the pdf):

For some beautiful recordings see:


As the original recordings have been in mp3 format we offer them here also only in mp3 format.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Frères Dagar: Nasir Moinuddin Dagar & Nasir Aminuddin Dagar - Inde du Nord - Private CD

Here we have a private CD with beautiful recordings by the Senior Dagar Brothers. And here we have an extreme case of a private CD looking like a real release, in this case an LP published by Ocora, the well known label of Radio France. But for sure it is a private CD and never was published by Ocora. An Indian collector made out of these recordings of unknown sources a private CD and created covers for it. This person seems to take a great pleasure in creating covers and to let them look like real ultra rare releases. Which is sort of funny and sympathetic. And looks nice. But can create some confusion amongst music lovers and collectors.
There are several details proving that this is not an official recording from Ocora:
1. The release date is given as 1977. At that time it was LPs and the tracks are too long to fit on an LP. 
2. The two tracks have very different sound quality and different accompanists, but are supposed to stem from the same concert. 
3. The Dagar Brothers are accompanied in the first track by harmonium, pakhawaj and in the last composition by tabla. In the second track they are accompanied by sarangi and pakhawaj and the track is incomplete and ends abruptly (we made a short fadeout). Ocora would never have published recordings as imperfect. Also the only moment these recordings could have been recorded in France was during their 1964 tour (as mentioned on the back cover), but this tour was organised by Alain Daniélou on behalf of the Unesco and Alain Daniélou as a strict purist would never have allowed the singers to be accompanied on harmonium or sarangi in a Dhrupad performance. On the backcover are given the correct accompanists of the 1964 European tour. But in India it was not unusual for the Dagar Brothers to be accompanied by these instruments, as one can see in other recordings posted by us.
4. The track information is wrong: the first track has after the Alap as a composition not a Dhrupad, but a Dhamar, then in the last few minutes a Tarana in Khyal style with Tabla accompaniment. The second track is neither in Raga Rupashree nor in Raga Shree, as mentioned at another spot on the backside. It sounds like a Hori in Kafi - "Aaj Brij Mein Holi Khelat Nandlal" (different from the one found in the Royal Collection of Mewar CD set). Track information given to us by the Indian collector who shared these recordings. Many thanks to him.
So it is clear that these recordings are not from the 1964 European tour of the Senior Dagar Brothers. And that they were not published by Ocora. They must be recordings done in India at different moments. 
I only know of one other case of someone creating covers to make recordings look like real, but ultra rare LPs. They can be found on the Harmonium blog. See these for example:

I received these recordings from an Indian collector based in the US. Many many thanks to him for his kindness to share these.