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Essential Raag Vidiya reading and recordings


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Get hold of B.R Deodhar - 'Pillars of Hindustani Music'

This introduces you to doyens of the main gharanas of khyaal. It describes the lengths they went to to master the art form (in some cases, their search for raag vidiya blurs into a spiritual search as much musical). It will also be a good place to then start collecting recordings of the greats.

Unfortunately present day Raag darbar is dominated by the likes of pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia (bansuri), Shivkumar Sharma (santoor), Ravi Skankar, etc. No offence to them but they are not of the quality we saw a century ago. Both santoor and bansuri are limited instruments in terms of dynamics and subtlety - 'Call of the Valley' really saw them come to the fore (although it was Pannalal Ghosh for Bansuri, another Ustad Allaudin Khan-ite). Gaayaki seems to have taken a back seat for the first time.

The great gaayks of each gharana need to be listened to, to understand what perfection existed a century ago. Anyone who has heard Ustad Faiyyaz Khan will realise how different Agra gharana was from say Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan/ Patiala and from Kirana gharana (for me the greatest, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan). For those of you who wish to find some of the rarer recordings of the greats, go to Sangeet Natak Akademi in New Delhi. They have an excellent library there, and will allow you to listen to select records. It's the only place I've heard the very famous HMV version of 'Hari Om Tatsat' 7" by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, that is so beautiful I nearly started sobbing.

If anyone would like a good discography to go away and search out, let me know. In fact I'll post up a separate discography later on. We're looking at CDs, tapes and LPs. There's no chance with the original 78s anymore, although I can put people in touch (if I can find his e-mail) with a bloke in Delhi who will sell compilation tapes of old raag 78s. He also runs a fanzine detailing old 78s. Thank god somebody is. enough.

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