View Full Version : Sitar music

04-16-2009, 08:21 AM
I would love to hear more about the sitar. Is it always accompanied with the Tampur and other Indian instruments?

04-16-2009, 09:14 AM
Is it always accompanied with the Tampur and other Indian instruments?
Traditionally I assume yes. Even George Harrison on "St.Peppers" was accompanied.
Possibly this is helpfull, I have never had it in my hands, though:

louped garouv
04-16-2009, 10:01 AM
the concert for bangledesh LP has a sitar track IIRC...

here's the info/links
Narrowband (http://www.concertforbangladesh.com/performances_ravi.html) Broadband (http://www.concertforbangladesh.com/performancescontent.html#)
(written by Ravi Shankar, published by Harrisongs Ltd)
sitar – Ravi Shankar
sarod – Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
tabla – Ustad Alla Rakha
tamboura – Kamala Chakravarty

(i like to use that album side for testing)

04-16-2009, 11:09 AM
Besides Ravi Shanker :D (I know..shankar) I am not familiar with this genre as much as I would like to be. He's probably the most popular due to the Beatles reference, but I am sure there are others who are equally good if not better though less known.

04-16-2009, 08:32 PM
Here is a keeper. The Master Musicians Of India / Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar-Khan. Ali plays sarod, probably better than anybody. A tabla player and two tamboura players are in attendance.

Even better, if tabla is your thing, Tabla Duet in Tintal is an awesome live set if you can find it. A father and son gig. Also known as Ustad Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain Tabla Duet. It builds with classical patience and becomes a session that will knock your socks off. I especially like the vocalizations. Tabla players often sing beats and these two can not be believed.


These names will be familiar from the track 2 info.


04-29-2009, 08:54 PM
...and a need for cash. I owned a sitar years ago. Bought it off the owner of a Penny Saver type local paper in my hometown in the late 1970's. It was quite the animal...I had a lot of fun with it before I let it go. I listened to all the Ravi I could find at the time, but mostly emulated the odd time signature with compositions of my own. I used to tune the lower set of drone strings in alternative tunings much like I do now with the upper octave strings on my 12 string acoustic.

05-21-2009, 11:41 AM
My Dad was a very musically conservative doctor..he thot "The Tijuana Brass" was hot & exciting....One Xmas my aunt gave him an LP of Ravi's -East meets West- He wouldn't even open it, and passed it off to me , (always thot she was just trying to tweak him or open his mind a bit) ...I loved it and was transfixed. Still enjoy his ragas, but a little goes a long way.

Was organizing old negatives and found shots I'd taken of him , but I do not even remember the concert...had to be late 60's in the bay area . :o:

05-21-2009, 02:08 PM
Ali Akbar Khan--Music for Meditation, Morning and Evening Ragas, and Shree Rag are three titles I have on the Connoisseur Society label.

I have these on vinyl; don't know if they've been issued on CD. I believe there are many later albums on other labels.

Nikhil Banerjee is another excellent Indian musician. I have his Ragas for Meditation: Raga: Bhatiyar and Raga: Hemant. He was recorded by Capitol, so was a "stablemate" of Ravi Shankar and the Beatles.

There is also a vocal raga tradition, which I personally find more involving. I like Prabha Atre and have her Raga: Maru bigag and raga: kalavati on the EMI/ Odeon label. More esoterically there are Pandit Pra Nath and Shanti Sharma. These later two work solidly within the classic tradition where the music is seen primarily as a spiritual practice and the recordings are often made by their students and devotees and may be self-published and can be hard to a find. You might be able to Google up something on them. Shanti Sharma died tragically last year just as she was reaching full glory in her music, and she is very much missed.

Look at the Water Lily Acoustics web site. This might be your best introduction to Indian music, since they publish some east/west fusion as well. Anything from that label will be musically excellent and well recorded. One of their performers is V.M. Bhatt. You can see him playing an instrument of his own design--a cross between the vina and the guitar on the Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD. I can particularly recommend one of their fusion titles with Taj Mahal, N. Ravikiran on Chitra vina and V.M. Bhatt on Mohan vina (I think that's what he calls his fusion instrument); the title is Mumtaz Mahal. I heard V.M. Bhatt play the vina in Delhi and can recommend anything you can find by him. Water Lily also issued a SACD double CD set of Ali Akbar Khan called Indian Architecture, most excellent recording and musically just marvelous. Another musician who recorded some on that label was Hamza el-Din, whose father was the sheikh of a Nubian village that was flooded by the Aswan Dam project. He made his way to a conservatory of music in Italy and later spent most of his life in Marin County and Japan. I heard him first almost forty years ago and listened to him as often as I could over the years. He plays a middle eastern lute-like instrument called the oud and sings. Very, very fine music. I am lucky to have his Escalay: The Water Wheel on vinyl from the Nonesuch Explorer Series, 1971.

I have for the moment ignored the distinctions between the sitar and the vinas of various types, since I assume they would mean little to you at this point.

I believe in India Ravi Shankar is considered more a populizer of the classic Indian genres, but that may be because his efforts at east/west synthesis (the Beatles, Yehudi Menuhin) were not universally appreciated there. It seems to me that when he is playing in his own tradition he is very good, though perhaps a little flashy.

You do have to be careful buying off-label music by musicians you don't know from those parts of the world, because there are imitators, just like anywhere else. As anyone who has traveled there can tell you, it is easy to find musicians who really do not play very much, and who quickly become annoying. They are looking for donations, and I have found they will accept one to NOT play, which is very gracious of them, and I think raises their type of musical beggary well above what one so often finds on the streets, and sometimes in the recording studios, of the capitol cities in the west.


05-22-2009, 11:30 AM
I would love to hear more about the sitar. Is it always accompanied with the Tampur and other Indian instruments?

Not always. Coral made an electric version in the 60s-70s that appears on lots of rock songs without the other traditional Indian instruments (e.g., Stones Paint It Black).

05-30-2009, 10:40 PM
I would love to hear more about the sitar. Is it always accompanied with the Tampur and other Indian instruments?
It's usually Tambura or Tanpura (Devanagari: तम्पूरा).

Thanks for all the music ideas guys! I'd love to find anything with Zakir Hussain and Ali Akbar-Khan, as I saw them once at a little club in SF. My brother took tabla lessons from Zakir, so we were comped into the front row on a night when John Handy sat in. Two hours passed in the blink of one or two ragas... My favorite part was seeing Ali Akbar's hand at BOTH ends of the neck at the same time, proof that the hand IS faster than the eye... Oh, and the little hammer for tuning the tablas, used only ON the beat. The tonal limits of the sax were a little disconcerting at first, but it sort of grew on me as the music progressed.

07-06-2009, 11:15 AM
Here is a keeper.
Tabla Duet in Tintal is an awesome live set if you can find it. ... Also known as Ustad Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain Tabla Duet.
It ... becomes a session that will knock your socks off.

Tribut to Zakir Hussain & Ustad alla Rakha!
I have got the CD "Memorable Tabla Duet - Teental",
(Germany, Stuttgart, 1988)
which sounds like this: YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u61fjD4_jsE&NR=1)

And thank you to Ducatista47 for this great tip!

08-04-2009, 09:32 PM
I was at this stunning Charles Lloyd show some years ago that featured Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland on percussion. The show was also taped and put out on CD as Charles Lloyd's Sangam, but the CD seems very mediocre to me...it doesn't even come close to capturing the essence of that show.

08-04-2009, 09:50 PM
By the way, Ravi Shankar's performance at Monterey is amazing--

http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/326 (I came across this box set at my public library)

It's also a trip to see how orderly the audience was back then.