Shiv Kumar Sharma – Himalayan Dawn

Shiv Kumar Sharma - Music of the Mountains

Shiv Kumar Sharma – Music of the Mountains

Daughter dear has reached India on her round-the-world trip. She is now in the Himalayas, currently acclimatising to the altitude and enjoying the scenery. She is shortly to head off trekking with the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company – a moderate trek initially with a more strenuous one later if muscle, bone, heart and lungs stand up! Read this Guardian article and then, if your back and knees are more robust than mine, start planning your own trip.

I’ve a few Indian music CDs in my collection so I’ll feature them over the next few weeks. It is music that I don’t really understand and so I do not play them very often. However, when they surface through the miracle of the shuffle play feature of my music player, i really enjoy them.

I’m starting with Indian if not Indic music. (Can the word Indic be used for music or is it limited to language? Answers on a postcard …) It is from an album called Sound Scapes – Music of the Mountains by Shiv Kumar Sharma.

The interwebs tell us that “Shivkumar Sharma (born January 13, 1938) is an Indian classical musician, working in the Hindustani classical music tradition. He is a master of the santoor, a folk instrument from the valley of Kashmir. It is a type of hammered dulcimer whose strings are struck with a pair of light carved wooden mallets. Before him the santoor was regarded as only an accompanying instrument.

He is credited with single-handedly making the santoor a popular classical instrument, to the extent that the santoor and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma are synonymous. Sharma modified the Kashmiri folk instrument to make it more suitable for his classical technique, increasing the range of the instrument to three full octaves and making it capable of a smoother meend (the glissando or gliding between notes required in Hindustani classical music to emulate the human voice). Besides, he also created a new technique of playing with which he could sustain notes and maintain sound continuity. Sharma has performed many concerts with renowned musicians such as the tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain.”

See what you think.

Shiv Kumar Sharma – Himalayan Dawn