“My approach to music is very deep. I do not compromise with anybody or anything else in the world. I do not care. I want to really go beyond this materialistic world...not for the sake of enjoyment, entertainment, no. A musician must lift up the souls of the listeners, and take them towards Space.” --Nikhil Banerjee
Padmabhushan Nikhil Banerjee (1931-1986) was one of the greatest sitarists of the 20th century. His music earned deep respect among India’s classical music aficionados as well as gaining him a devoted international following. He was the disciple of the two greatest forces in 20th Century Indian classical instrumental music, Padmavibhushan Allauddin Khan and his son Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. Though he recorded many LPs, few were of live concerts, in which his leisurely, majestic raga development was unsurpassed. Mr. Banerjee recorded more than two dozen albums, on the Indian EMI label, and for Sonodisc in France, Harmonia Mundi and Chhanda Dhara in Germany, Amigo in Sweden, and for Raga, Capitol, Connoisseur Society and Musical Traditions in the U.S. (Many of these recordings are available through the Ali Akbar College in San Rafael, CA.) Mr. Banerjee disliked being recorded, feeling that the process distracted and somewhat compromised the inner meditative quality of his music, and high fidelity live recordings are rare. To preserve his legacy and show the full scope of his musical vision, Raga Records is reproducing a series of unique live concert masters.
“I think when any musician is recording, he becomes self-conscious and he cannot give his best. But it is also true that we have lost many great musicians; now at least the next generation can get some sort of idea of their music from these recordings. I think that recording live concerts is a much better way.” -- Nikhil Banerjee
Manomanjari is a raga created by Mr. Banerjee, a mix of ragas Kalavati and Marwa. A studio recording made by Sonodisc in France included a brief 23 minute exposition of this raga (ESP 155530, 1976). It was his favorite LP. Raga Records recently released a 1972 Amsterdam performance of Manomanjari accompanied by Kanai Dutta.
Mahapurush Misra (1932-1987), a disciple of Pt. Anokhelal, was renowned for the clarity and sweetness of his tabla solos and accompaniment. He performed and recorded with many of India’s foremost musicians.