2008/05/12

OCORA: India part 1

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.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

sweet jesus. sweet, sweet jesus.

if these are 10% as kickass as the chidambaram temple periya melam i'm gonna freak out.

even if you don't pull this off the idea is worth the keys to the city.

bb said...

aw z yr my favorite kind of crazy.

I'm 99% sure my chidambaram links are still good from way back "in the day"

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You're stark raving mad and I love you for it. Good luck and thank you for all you do.

Saverino

Anonymous said...

http://www.ashokpathak.com/Ashok_Pathak_pages/Balaram_Pathak.html

eastern_branch said...

Man, thank you *so* much - I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series.

Anonymous said...

hola. the ram narayan file is borked. tried it 3 times now...zip won't open...

zhao said...

oh shit. i look into it. thanks for heads up

zhao said...

it worked fine for me. are you on PC? if so please use 7-zip to unzip...

Anonymous said...

have done - 7zip's all i use...i'll try again...

Anonymous said...

nope, tried again - every time i've gotten the same error messages - "cannot open output file [...]" for each of the individual files. the output folders it creates are marked "read only" but the zip file itself is not. so there seems to be some sort of permissions issue.

Frequent Reader said...

I love this blog, thanks for sharing.
- George Ya76oo

zhao said...

wha? weird... anyone else? I'll upload again to Mediafire see if that makes a difference...

zhao said...

alternate mediafire link, I've also got rid of an extra space or 2:

http://www.mediafire.com/?s2v5etz9wwc

hope it works for you...

quique said...

I'cant open the file "The salon of musique"...please, help!!!
Can you re-upload in Mediafire?

Anonymous said...

Well I've never had that happen before - I transferred the Narayan to a Linux machine & opened it as root with 'unzip' - and it worked fine - either version you posted. Thank you *so much* for being so accommodating - wish I had figured it out before putting you to such trouble, but like I said I've never before had a problem with my Windows 7zip setup... The Narayan is mysterious and intense....

sean said...

thank you soo much for doing this, i arrived a bit late to the sfrp ocora thread so i'm really grateful.

kevinass said...

well well.....good old synchronicity...(stupid sting)...so i've been downloading yr OCORA stuff and reading yr info w/interest cuz the OCORA label is new to me. On a completely diff. quest I came across Philip Best's profile (consumer electronics, ramleh, white house) and he lists the OCORA label as one of his musical interests!! god i love life....

kevinass said...

having same prob as quique...satyajit ray "le salon de musique" doesnt download as music file, cant open it.
everything else has been great, and i do so appreciate it!

jacob said...

i am incredibly excited about this project to upload all of these ocora recordings.

thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I have been having similar problems oipening Le Salon du Musique on my Windows machine. When unzipping it a password is required. So it seems that the zip file itself is password protected. I have this film on tape and love it, having first seen it in the 70's with my sitar teacher. The muisc in it IS outstanding and I would love to hear these tracks. And thanks for this Herculean effort on your part!!!

Indus Radio said...

The Ram Narayan .zip is corrupt on both the RS and Mediafire dl's.
Will not extract using winrar, zip, or stuffit programs.
Thanks anyway.

Anonymous said...

This worked for me: http://www.extractnow.com/

And Zhao, thank you so much for all you do here!

Anonymous said...

Thank You, especially for Amjad Ali Khan

rozo said...

Hi, I am very happy to have found your site. Some of these Ocora recordings are real gems and it is real good to be able to hear them again.Great initiative yours. I see you also posted some fantastic Vilayat Khan. Looking forward to explore this blog. Thanks and success.

LYM said...

You're mad, I'm mad. What's madness?
The Ocora label catalogue. The whole catalog!

GOD BLESS YOU!

SEE YOU LYM

Anonymous said...

I like this site...great music..by the way where do you live a poor live in berlin? Best Regards ram51 locted at india point com

zhao said...

i live in prenzlauerberg. india point dot com?

Easy Jams said...

More Ocora here: http://easyjams.blogspot.com/2012/02/various-artists-percussions-afrique-no.html

zhao said...

thank you easy jams!