Tag Archives: India

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

It has not been a good week. First we lose two musical greats, Dave Brubeck & Ravi Shankar. And then we have the killings at Newtown, Connecticut

The world is less of a place today for having lost two “greats” who fulfilled their potentials in long, ground-breaking careers. And it is also less of a place for the loss of twenty six innocents in Newtown, many of them just starting on life’s journey.

I don’t have any Brubeck or Shankar in my collection but the Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet, Indo-Jazz Fusions will serve as a more than adequate tribute.

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Zakir Hussain – Ektala

Zakir Hussain - Sangeet Sartaj

Zakir Hussain – Sangeet Sartaj

More from India this week – a track from my double album Sangeet Sartaj by Zakir Hussain. For those who don’t know, Zakir Hussain is a tabla player – so those who always leave when the drum solo starts, you can head for the bar now.

But Zakir Hussain is not any old tabla player – he is “the most celebrated classical percussionist of modern times” in the words of the album notes. And this is probably not hyperbole either.

Zakir Hussain was born the son of another famous tabla player, and accompanist to Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha and his younger brothers are also percussionists of some stature.

Apart from his playing of classical Indian music, Hussain is known for his many collaborations with western musicians. Amongst others, he has played with George Harrison, Bill Laswell, John McLaughlin, Mickey Hart, and Bela Fleck & Edgar Mayer.

He has also composed and arranged music for the cinema most notably the Merchant Ivory Film Heat and Dust.

Zakir Hussain – Ektala

N Ramani – Buntureethi

Music from Mystic India

Music from Mystic India

More Indian music this week. I’m posting a track from the compilation album Music from Mystic India. the track is Buntureethi.composed by Thyagaraja and played on the flute by N Ramani.

I’ve already confessed my complete ignorance in the matter of Indian music but, to my untrained ear, this is more authentically Indian than the music on my last post. And, consulting Google and Wikipedia, N. Ramani, or Natesan Ramani to give him his full name, is a famous and respected Carnatic flute player. I won’t copy across the Wikipedia entry but, if you find this week’s track at all interesting, hit the link above for a short but informative article on Ramani and the Carnatic flute.

N Ramani – Buntureethi

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

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – Isa Lei


Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – A Meeting by the River

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – A Meeting by the River

A very short post this week because I’m ill. I should be in bed but the twin attractions of the computer and the garden call.

Last weekend I was away at the wedding of my nephew Chris. His new wife Nin is from a Sikh family and so, to celebrate one marriage between East and West, I’m posting another – Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt with Isa Lei from the A Meeting by the River album.

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – Isa Lei

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – Ganges Delta Blues

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – A Meeting by the River

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – A Meeting by the River

I’m cheating this week; I confess. I’ve run out of sitar music and haven’t got round to purchasing any more yet. “Shame!” “Charlatan!” and more cries beginning with the phoneme sh..!

To fill the sitar shaped hole I’m posting Ganges Delta Blues by Ry Cooder and VM Bhatt from the album A Meeting by the River. This album was a collaboration between Cooder (no introduction necessary) and Hindustani classical musician VM Bhatt. It won the Grammy for Best World Music Album in 1993.

Bhatt plays the mohan vina, a modified 20-string archtop guitar of his own invention. It has twelve sympathetic strings, three melody strings and five drone strings and is played with a slide. Ry Cooder plays bottleneck guitar and percussion on the album is provided by Cooder’s son Joachim on dumbek and Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari on tabla.

The album was recorded live with no overdubs at Christ The King Chapel, St Anthony’s Seminary, Santa Barbara, California, in September 1992. The sound is gorgeous and the music miraculous; more so because the musicians had never met before the recording.

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – Ganges Delta Blues

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Partita

Joe Harriott - John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

Thanks to the suggestion of my great friend Dill, this weeks sitar-tastic track is from the Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet’s Indo-Jazz Fusions album.

In 1966, at the behest of record producer Denis Preston, Anglo-Indian John Mayer and Jamaican Joe Harriott put together a double quintet, half jazzmen and half traditional Indian musicians. The group, recording under the name of Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet, released three albums: Indo-Jazz Suite, Indo-Jazz Fusions and Indo-Jazz Fusions II.

I heard the music when it first came out. An imaginative teacher of mine (name forgotten) used to open his classroom up one lunchtime a week to play an LP to anyone who cared to attend. The idea was to open ears to sounds beyond the pop music of the day. The music, as I recall, was mainly Jazz and I can vividly remember just 2 albums, one of the Indo-Jazz records and Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation by Ornette Coleman. (The Ornette Coleman album embodied by a Jackson Pollock painting on the front cover).

The track I’ve chosen from the five on the Indo-Jazz Fusions album is Partita. It is the longest but, to my ears, the unhurried development of the tune suits both the Jazz and the Indian aspects of the music

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Partita