i have a crazy and over ambitious idea to upload and make available the (very near) entirety of the Ocora catalog (400+ including the very rare early vinyl-only releases) on this here blog. a monolithic task, and I will likely die of old age before it is complete, so let's get this party started PRONTO. (in reality what will likely happen is the uploading of what i consider the Crème de la Crème...)
lately I have been listening to a lot of the recordings from India, so it is i s'pose as good a place as any to jump in - here are 4 + 1 from the past, with much more come.
"Balaram Pathak is a very peculiar sitar player. After many years of listening to Indian classical music I have never come across someone of this style. The use of flageolett technique is typical for his way of playing - something I have never heard with any other sitar player.
Even though I searched for long in India and in Europe I couldn't find further recordings of Balaram Pathak (other than the original Ocora Double LP of which this is a CD re-issue, which had one more Raga), and although the booklet says he lives in Delhi since 1981, nobody I asked there had ever heard of him. Strange, I thought, since he is definitely a true master of sitar. All I could think of is that some people take great caution to prevent him from playing on stage and recording music in India.
Actually there is some kind of "music mafia" in India, very active in this field. They don't let anyone come up from outside their own circles. I was told the great sarod master Amjad Ali Khan was sort of the head of this "mafia". If you don't bow to him, you'll never find a chance to record in India, since any company would have to face that Amjad Ali Khan and his circle would never record for them anymore - and his CDs and cassettes bring good money." -- Ambrose Bierce (to whom we owe the original rip)
Inde du Nord / Balaram Pathak
1. Raga Bilaskhani Todi - Alap, Jod, Gat (Rudratal)
2. Raga Kinari Bhairavi - Alap, Jod, Jhala, Drut Gat (Tintal)
3. Raga Mishra Pilu - Alap, Sitarkhani Gat (Adhatal)
Balaram Pathak - sitar
Vinode Pathak - tabla
and speaking of the God Father of the Indian Classical Music Mafia, here is the O.G. son of a bitch himself. (original upload also from Ambrose)
"Mian-ki-Malhar is a rainy season raga composed by the great North Indian composer Mian Tansen. It is to be played in the late night, or, during the rainy season, at any time of the day. Its associations are depth, seriousness, and a majestic and heroic demeanour. Its ascending scale is pentatonic, the descending scale is heptatonic.
Zilla-Kafi is a mixed raga of recent origin, and it is here used as the basis for a raga-mala ("garland of ragas"), where many different scales are used in succession"
Inde du Nord / Amjad Ali Khan
Amjad Ali Khan - sarod
Shafat Ahmed Khan - tabla
"Born in 1927 in Rajasthan's Udaipur, his father was a musician "at the court of the Maharaja of Udaipur" who played the dilruba, described in the notes as "a sort of cross between the sitar with its movable frets and the sarangi with its bow," who "worked out a special and rather unusual fingering technique for his son . . ." to play the sarangi, starting at age 6. Ram Narayan pioneered the use of the sarangi as a classical solo instrument. Ram Narayan studied as a child under a local sarangyia and also learned dhrupad, "a hieratic and sober genre from which khyal originated," with the famous Dagar brothers (cf. Music of the World CDT-114). "The essential approach of dhrupad stands out in the alap elaboration more particularly." At 16 he was seeking employment at All India Radio in Lahore as a vocalist, "a ploy to increase his chances of employment. The producer he met did not take long to notice the scars on his nails, which he knew at once were the result of intense sarangi practice (from 10 to 16 hours a day)." " -- Arcturus, original uploader.
"By the time he was just 14 years of age, Ramnarayan was a music instructor in a college in Udaipur; and by the time he was barely 16 years of age, he was appointed staff artiste by the All India Radio and posted in Lahore in undivided India. This was in 1943. By 1947, Ramnarayan had accompanied some of the foremost male and female classical singers of the time. His playing was both inspired and inspiring. He was able to spontaneously improvise as well as reproduce tonal nuances of the singers he accompanied. He played in the style of their ‘gharana’ and made the sarangi both speak and sing in what we may now call, in retrospect the ‘gayaki ang’. . . .
He decided to become a free-lance sarangi artiste in Bombay where he could make himself financially independent by playing for commercial cinema as well as by cutting discs of his own. He recorded his first 78 r.p.m disc in 1950 with His Master’s Voice (now EMI) in Bombay. It is now a collector’s item with its beautiful rendering of the ragas Lalit and Marwa.
When Ramnarayan arrived with his sarangi in Bombay, film music directors did not know the potential of the sarangi. When he left the commercial film industry a few years later, music directors wondered what they would do without the sarangi of Pandit Ramnarayan. But Ramnarayan’s sight was set on something else that no one at that time thought was possible. His brother, Chaturlal accompanied Ali Akbar Khan on his pioneering visit to the West. Yehudi Menuhin welcomed and introduced them in the historic album “The Music of India”. In 1964, Ramnarayan and Chaturlal toured Europe and created a sensation." -- author unknown
"At first a rather coarse affair, the sarangi has become through the ages a sophisticated bowed instrument whose imitative capacity to reproduce the sound and texture of the voice is without comparison. Hence its use for accompanying singers... Its actual shape and structure probably date back to the 14th Century and it is mentioned in a 16th Century text. Successive improvements came later.
Its technique is unique in the fact that the back of the nails glide along the three gut strings placed 1 centimeter above the neck, which allows all types of phrases characteristic of Hindustani music: meend, which are glissandos prevalent in dhrupad, and gamakas, which are oscillations made around the notes and widely used in khyal. (Talc powder is used in order to ease the gliding of the palm on the side of the neck).
The gliding of the nails on the strings gives in the slow tempi a special flavour and much precision in the production of a continuous sound and it also enables the performer to display great virtuosity in rapid tempi.
The perrenial charm of the sarangi lays in its sympathetic strings. Of all the the Indian instruments which have them (like the sitar and the sarod), it is the one that creates a halo of sounds for the most part continuous and integrated in the melodies, this being due to the everlasting vibrations emitted by the friction of the bow. The considerable umber of metallic strings further increases the resounding force (as compared to the 11 or 15 sympathetic strings of the sitar and the sarod). But their role is not confined in enriching the general sound effect: when perfectly tuned, they give a useful harmonic reference in order to reach the right notes as they start vibrating only on the impulse of the notes played on the frequency which correspond to any of them.
1. Rag Purya-Kalyan: Alap, Jor, Jhala
This traditional rag is played in the evening.
This noble and sometimes austere rag shows also a feeling of tenderness. It is rendered here in a very classical way, according to the melodic laws ruling it. The third and seventh notes are particularly important. The gentle strokes of Ram Narayan's bow gradually bring out the typical phrases of the rag (rupa), first in the slow and non-rhythmic alap, second, in the jor with the increasing speed of the tempo, third, in the very fast taan-s of the jhala (23'45 onwards).
2. Rag Purya-Kalyan: Bandish (Teental), Drut (Ektal)
A bandish is a composition for singing. This term can be applied to the sarangi as it is so associated with singing."
-- from the cd notes by Christian Ledoux. and here is wiki on sarangi
Inde Pandit Ram Narayan Vol. 1
alternate MEDIAFIRE LINK
Ram Narayan: sarangi
Suresh Talwalkar: tabla
recorded Paris 1978 & Bombay 1979
"The soundtrack of Satyajit Ray’s famous film, with top musicians like Vilayat Khan (sitar), Bismillah Khan (shenaï oboe), or Imrat Khan (surbahar)." -- from liner notes. this one is a lot more lively, even aggressive, than the others...
Inde Le Salon du Musique
just a reminder billybilly brought us this bad ass recording a while back. find it here.