Daya Shankar - Shehnai -Raga Gujri Todi, Tabla in Teen Taal - Ajit Kumar Pathak, Debashish Bhattacharya - Guitar - Raga Bairagi, Tabla in ek taal - Subhashis Bhattacharjee, Allyn Miner - Sitar - Raga Durga, Tabla in Roopak taal - Shyam Kane, Snehasis Muzumdar - Mandolin - Raga Hansadhwani, Tabla in jhap taal - Shubhen Chatterjee, Arawind Thatte - Harmonium - Raga Tappa Khamaj,Tabla in punjabi taal - Ramdas Palsule, Tarun Bhattacharya - Santoor - Raga Bageshree, Tabla in Teen taal - Abhijit Banerjee, Kala Ramnath - Violin - Bhajan in Bhairavi, Tabla in Keherwa taal -Vijay Ghate,
1. Daya Shankar - Shehnai - Raga Gujari Todi
The Shehnai is the North Indian oboe. A double reed mouthpiece attached to a thin metal tube is fitted into the end of the instrument's body. The hollow wood body has seven fingerholes and is slightly flared, with a metal bell at the end. The ancestor of this instrument was the Persian surna or surnay, used in the outdoor court and temple ensemble called the naubat, which performed at fixed times of the day and for special events in medieval North India. The Shehnai, with its unique penetrating sound is essential at weddings and other auspicious events and processions.
The concert shehnai has a difficult and exacting technique. The slides and nuances essential to classical music are produced by partial opening and closing of the fingerholes, control of the lips on the reed, and varying pressure of the breath in the air column. Credit for bringing the shehnai to the modern concert stage goes to Bismillah Khan of Banaras (b. ca. 1908) after a debut in 1926. The concert format is traditionally a shehnai ensemble in which at least one player provides a background drone, and one or two others shadow the melody of the main player. The traditional drum for shehnai accompaniment was originally a pair of small hand-played kettle drums called khudrak, dukkar or duggi, but tabla is now commonly used. The music played on the shehnai is the alap-jod-gat genre which it shares with other Hindustani instruments: The shehnai now is a well-loved concert instrument.
Gujri Todi is a mid-morning raga which has six notes, Sa Re Ga Ma Dha Ni (C Db Eb F# Ab B) in ascent and descent. Gujari Todi is also known as Gurjari is characterized by a repeated gliding movement between Re and Ga. The tonic Sa is avoided for several sequences of phrases and there is pronounced use of the predominant note Dha on which many phrases resolve.
Daya Shankar learned the instrument from his father, well known maestro Anant Lal of the Banaras Gharana, and later from Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
2. Debashish Bhattacharya - Guitar - Raga Bairagi
Western guitars have been known and used in India since at least the 19th century, and have been used in film and light music ensembles for several decades but the guitar was developed as a serious concert instrument in the last three decades or so by players in musical lineage of Ustad Allauddin Khan. Present-day Virtuosi such as Debashish Bhattacharya have helped make the guitar a popular concert instrument. The Hindustani concert guitar is tuned almost like a sarod. It held on the lap and plucked with metal right hand finger and thumb picks. Players have added sympathetic strings and drone chikari strings which have contributed to give the instrument a resonant tone and long sustain. Melody is produced with a metal slide held in the left hand. The guitar has the capability to produce both vocal-like slides and fast instrumental rhythms. Concert guitar players play in the alap-jod-gat format which they share with sitar and sarod.
Bairagi is grouped in the Bhairav family of early morning ragas. Bhairav is a fearsome incarnation of the god Shiva. A Bairagi is a female ascetic or enunciate. Raga Bairagi uses a pentatonic scale consisting only of the notes Sa Re Ma Pa Ni Sa (C Db F G Bb C) in both ascent and descent. As in other ragas of Bhairav family, its melodic movement is particularly characterized by a descending slide on the important note Re. Its character is serious and meditative.
Debashish Bhattacharya was born to devoutly musical parents in Calcutta. He was trained in guitar by guitar maestro Brijbhushan Kabra. He also learned classical music from Ajoy Chakrabarty - the celebrated Vocalist.
He has performed with renowned guitarists such as Dr. Martin Simpson (UK), Dr. Robert Brozman (USA), jazz saxophonist Chicko Freeman.
3. Allyn Miner - Sitar - Raga Durga
The sitar is one of the most common concert instruments of Hindustani music, and is India's most famous contribution to world music culture. The sitar has a half-gourd body, flat wooden face and long hollow wooden neck and 20 arched metal frets movable to different scale positions. The sitar has six or seven main strings, and 13 sympathetic string running under the frets and resting on a small bridge of their own. The long wide neck and the positioning of the playing strings to one side allows' main melody string to be pulled laterally, sounding intervals of up to a fifth on each fret. The right hand rhythmic work is made possible by a pointed wire plectrum (mizrab) worn on the Forefinger.
It is believed that a brother of Na'mat Khan, Delhi's leading musician of the time, introduced the small three-stringed Persian sitar which he had brought from Kashmir at the court of late Mughal Emperor Muhamrrntd Shah in the mid 18th century. The sitar was quickly adopted for use in accompaniment to song and dance, and soon professionals gave it some of the physical attributes of its predecessor the vina or bin. They also created for it a solo music of its own, the compositions called gat and their variations. Today it has virtually become a musical emblem of India.
Durga is an evening rage named after the Goddess, the powerful and benevolent wife of Shiva. It uses the notes Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Sa (C D F G A C) in ascent and descent. Pa (G) is the most predominant note, and leaping phrases such as Sa Dha Ma Re, Sa Re Pa characterize the raga, giving it a bold yet delicate character.
Allyn Miner was trained in western classical violin from an early age in her native city of Philadelphia. She studied sitar under Thakur Raj Bhan Singh in Varanasi from 1971-82, and has been a disciple of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan since 1985. She performs regularly in India and the U.S. and teaches Indian Music at the University of Pennsylvania.
4. Snehasis Mazumdar - Mandolin - Raga Hansadhwani
The mandolin is rarely heard in North India, though it has become familiar in South Indian music in the hand of young virtuosi in the last few decades. Like the guitar, violin and harmonium, the mandolin came to India with Europeans in the 19th century. Hindustani music is playable on any instrument that can handle the nuances of the ornamentation and slides. Snehasis Mazumdar’s mandolin is deep-toned and has chikari striagstas'irn'si1ar and sarod. He is able to produce a powerful and nuanced sound from this, instrument and produce very fast and unusual right hand rhythms.
Hansadhwani, the voice of the swan, is a well-loved raga of South India. It was introduced into North Indian music in the last few decades and is now a standard part of the Hindustani repertoire. It is an evening raga using the notes Sa Re Ga Pa NI Sa (C D E G B C) in ascent
ascent and descent. Its predominant notes are Pa and Re, and some of its characteristic phrases are Ga Pa Ga Re, Ni Pa Re Sa.
Snehasis Mazumdar was born in a family of strong musical background. His grandfather Bibhuti Ranjan Mazumdar gave him early training and later his father Himangshu Mazumdar and uncle Ranjan Mazutndar groomed him. His cousin, Tejendra Narayan Mazumdar, who is is renowned sarod player, gave him the guidance as well.
For the past twelve years he has been learning music from a great Musicologist of the Maihar Gharana. Acharya Ajoy Singha Roy and rhythm from Talkari Anil Palit.
5. Arawind Thatte - Harmonium - Raga Tappa-Khamaj
Ubiquitous in North India in accompaniment to nearly all classical and non -classical vocal music and dance is the harmonium, a free reed keyboard instrument brought to India from Europe in the mid 19th century. A box measuring about 2'x1'x9in, the back of the harmonium opens as a bellows which is pumped with one hand while keyboard is played with the other. It has a range of about three octaves. In concert music it quickly assumed the function of the bowed sarangi, providing accompaniment to vocal performances. Because of its fixed pitches, the harmonium has been the subject of debates questioning its suitability to Hindustani music. Its use was even banned for some time on All India Radio. Despite its limitations, the harmonium is pervasive in North Inidian music for classical vocal, film, and light genres.
Khamaj is a beloved evening raga used for classical and semi-classical song and instrumental genres. Its ascending scale omits the note Re: Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa (B C E F G A B C). In descent the flat instead of natural seventh is used and the second Re is added: (Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa (C Bb A G F E D C ).The third is a strong note giving the raga a major sound in Western terms. Various lyrical phrasings in the raga center on the third, the fifth, and the upper half of the scale, giving this raga a sweet and sentimental character. Tappa is a semi-classical song genre that originated in the folk music of the Punjab. It is akin to the more common thumri with its love lyrics and playful melodic phrasings, but is unique in its use of a profusion of fast trills, runs, and clusters of notes. Tappa is difficult to perform because of its demanding technique. There were specialists in this genre in former times, but it has now become relatively rare.
Arawind Thatte, one of the leading harmonium players of India, is a reputed accompanist and fast emerging soloist. He is a self taught harmonium player but also learned tabla from the late Pandit G. L. Samant of Pune and vocal music from Suhas and Sudhir Datar of Pune and has been a disciple of Pandit Jasraj since 1991.
6. Tarun Bhattacharya - Santoor - Raga Bageshree
The santoor or santur is a relatively recent concert instrument although it has a long history in South Asia. A hand-played box zither known as the quanum entered India as one of the instruments of Persian court music. The quanum disappeared from Indian court music, but the Persian santoor played by hammers became a common instrument in Kashmir, where it was adopted for use in the Persian-influenced Sufiana kalam music. Santoor is box zither, parallel front to back with sides at 45 degrees angles to the longer front. The concert santoor has 100 or more strings which rest on twenty-five bridges, positioned parallel to the sides of the instrument. The strings are attached on one side of the instrument to metal pegs which are tuned with a tuning key. The santoor is held in the lap and struck with light wooden hammers. It has an echo-like resonance, and a sound ranging from delicate and ethereal to forcefully percussive. A tremolo created by allowing a hammer to bounce on the string simulate the slides necessary to alap and slow sections of performance. In the last three decades the santoor has become one of Hindustani music's most popular instruments.
Raga Bageshree, sometimes called Bageshwari, is an major night time raga played frequently in classical conserts. Its ascending scale is Sa Ga Ma Dha Ni Sa (C Eb F A Bb C) and the in movement in descent is more complicated Sa Ni Dha Ma Pa Dfta Oa Ma Ga Re Sa (C Bb A F G A F Eb D C). The central note is the fourth (Ma), and the fifth (Pa) is only delicately and selectively used.
Tarun Bhattacharya was trained initially by his father Robi Bhattacharya, later by Pandit Dulal Roy and finally by the illustrious Pandit Ravi Shankar. He has performed in many countries at prestigious venues like the Royal Albert Hall, London, the Kremlin in Moscow, the Paris de Beaux Arts, Brussels to name the few.
7. Kala Ramnath - Violin - Bhajan in Raga Bhairavi
The violin came to India with the Europeans and was taken up by Indian musicians notably Balusvami Diksitar of Madras, as early as 19th century. It has become one of the most important instruments of Karnatik music. The violin has had relative* presence in Hindustani music, but it is a standard classical instrument and has a number of well-known players. Violin players may accompany khyal singers or play a solo repertoire in which they either follow the vocal khyal style or the instrumental genre of sitar and sarod. The Hindustani violin is usually held with the peg box, pointed downward resting on the foot to allow the left hand to slide freely on the fingerboard, although some violinists hold it upright in the Western position. It is often tuned to a somewhat lower; pitch than the Western violin.
Bhairavi is one of Hindustani music's most popular ragas and is used for classical, semiclassical, and devotional genres. A morning raga, it is also played or sung as the auspicious end to any concert or full performance. It is associated with feelings of devotion. The basic scale of Bhairavi is S R G M P D N S (C Db Eb F G Ab Bb c) in ascent and descent, but typically, other notes are added to create a wide repertoire of imaginative and lyrical phrasings. Bhajans are devotional songs with lyrics often describing the love between Krishna and Radha or the love of a devotee for Lord Rama or other such theme.
Young Kala Ramnath is the student of Pandii Jasraj and stand amongst the most outstanding violin players of India today. She was born into the family of great players N. Rajam and T. N. Krishnan. She has extensively performed in North America and Europe.
Liner Notes by Allyn Miner, Philadelphia, PA USA