Part of the 2017/2018 Season in Paris | On Septembre 10th, 2017 | Théâtre de la Ville, Espace Cardin
With Pelva Naik, vocals | Pratap Awad, pakhāwaj | Céline Wadier et Véronique Dupont, tānpūrā
A production by ECHO Collective !
Flashback to Fès World Sacred Music Festival in May 2016 for which I conceived a Homage to India with Denis Teste, my partner of ECHO Collective. Thirty established maestros and torchbearers from Kolkata, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Mumbai, Chennai, Toronto, London... to highlight the living sacred heritage of India and its endless creativity!
In this framework, we invited and produced "The King of Ghosts" project - a live musical performance for the iconic film Goopy Gayen Bagha Bayen by Satyajit Ray (1969) composed and performed by the sarod player Soumik Datta and the percussionist Cormac Byrne.
Here is a short film to relate the story. Music springs from encounters...
1001 thanks to Souvid Datta & Nick Atkins.
Samedi 1er octobre 2016, à 17h | Théâtre des Abbesses, Paris
Pandit Kushal Das, sitar | Gurdain Singh Rayatt, tabla
Dans le cadre de la saison 2016/2017 du Théâtre de la Ville. Au programme du Festival Namaste France 2016. Sous le haut patronage de l’Ambassade de l’Inde. Une production du Collectif ECHO !
Here are several episodes filmed in India in 2014 and broadcasted on Al Mayadeen in 2016 and 2017 to which I contributed as a music advisor, a local project manager and even as a little character.
Thanks to my friends Soumik Datta (Baul-Fakir gaan field work) & Sougata Roy Chowdhury (classical music in Kolkata).
Text reproduced from: Sadhana, the Realisation of Life, by Rabindranath Tagore - First edition. 1913, reprinted 1964
"Music is the purest form of art, and therefore the most direct expression of beauty, with a form and spirit which is one, and simple, and least encumbered with anything extraneous. We seem to feel that the manifestation of the infinite in the finite forms of creation is music itself, silent and visible. The evening sky, tirelessly repeating the starry constellations, seems like a child struck with wonder at the mystery of its own first utterance, lisping the same word over and over again, and listening to it in unceasing joy. (...)"
Canary Records, founded by the researcher Ian Nagoski, is a newcomer to the reissued vinyl scene. Some unearthed gems including a collection of Turkish-language tracks from the early 20th century (one fourth of Columbia Records’ Turkish recordings). “To What Strange Place: The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1930" was published by Tompkins Square Records in 2011.
But you will also find online: Indian classical music, Urban Greek songs of the 30's, ethnographic recordings from Southeast Asia, Brazilian folk recordings, African American gospel, Eastern European dances, Balkan folk music, Sub-Saharian acoustic guitars, etc, etc.
SELECTION GATHERED ON 'SARKARI SHORTS' BLOG.
A remarkably intimate portrait of Ustad Amir Khan (1912-74) by the Films Division experimentalist stalwart S.N.S. Sastry (1930-78). Khansaheb was emblematic of the profound changes in 20th century Hindustani music as the gharana system gave way to media-saturated propagation and public concerts.
A sympathetic, insider’s take on the iconoclast Wunderkind Kumar Gandharva (1924-1992) from Jabbar Patel, veteran Marathi stage and film director. Patel nicely frames the tale as the journey of Kumarji’s grandson Bhuvanesh Komkali, himself a practicing vocalist, to discover and understand further the life and music of his ancestor.
This luminous tribute to Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur (1910-92), who died during its making, was filmed by the Film and Television Institute of India graduate and acute documentarian Nandan Kudhyadi. It was inspired by Mansur’s autobiography. Even now, it’s baffling how even the highest echelon of sarkari bureaucracy via the Ministry of External Affairs would sponsor this level of abstraction. This film that won the National Award for the best short film in 1995.
Ustad Allauddin Khan (1862?-1972), reverentially and affectionately called Baba, is one of the most profoundly influential figures of 20th century Hindustani music. He was a master multi-instrumentalist and the founder and propagator of the Senia-Maihar Gharana, the juggernaut by which most non-South Asian folk got turned on to ragas.
Onto this 1989 Goutam Ghose (b. 1950) beauty produced by Films Division’s powerful sister branch, the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC). Ghose, like his mentor Satyajit Ray, is another Bengali autodidact who is adept in film, photography, music and theater. Indeed, the cinematography shot by Ghose himself is the eye to the soul of this brilliant documentary on Ustad Bismillah Khan.
Looking for that most touching of moods, pathos, on film? Then check Gulzar’s (the multi-awarded poet, lyricist, script writer and director) sarkari approach in this bio-documentary treatment of the troubled genius of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi (1922-2011). This was Gulzar’s third Films Division foray after “Ek Akar” and “Ustad Amjad Ali Khan” (1990). Gulzar not only presents a window into Joshi’s life story but also a history of his lineage within the Kirana gharana.
It’s a juicy one, this little gem, with Shyam Benegal getting inside the ragas in his representation of the ineffable shruti (“that which can be heard”) and the graces (gamak, meend, murki), ornamental techniques which transport the adept there. Benegal manifests this through extreme close-ups of the face and hands, and above all the breathing tones of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, maestro of that most sensuous of instruments, the bansuri bamboo flute, Lord Krishna’s own.
1001 thanks to Phong Tran, cataloger of South Indian materials for the Library of Congress.
On June 30, 2015 | at Patronage Laïque Jules Vallès, 15e arr.
With Sanjeev Shankar & Ashwani Shankar, shehnaï | Anand Shankar, tabla
A production of ECHO Collective ! With the cooperation of Alain Lutic
Part of the "NIGHT OF RAGA" | On January 31th, 2015 | Philharmonie of Paris
With Pt. Kushal Das, sitar | Satyajit Tawalkar, tabla | Tulika Srivastava, tampura
The 1st production of ECHO Collective !
Pandit Kushal Das, natif de Calcutta, est considéré aujourd’hui comme un représentant majeur de la Maihar Gharana, l’école fondée au Madya Pradesh par l’honorable Ustad Allauddin Khan disparu à l’âge de 110 ans en 1972. Il s’emploie ainsi à développer son propre style, dans la foulée de ses prolifiques prédécesseurs, qui ne sont autres que Pandit Ravi Shankar (sitar), Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (sarod), Maa Annapurna Devi (surbahar), Pandit Nikhil Banerjee (sitar), Pandit Pannalal Ghosh (flute) ou encore Pandit VG Jog (violon).
"(...) This underlying unity of matter, thought, sensation and life which shows through in music enables us to catch a glimpse of the nature of the cosmos, of the fundamental reality of creation."
An article written by the esteemed scholar in the fields of Indology and classical music and published in 1976 in three langages.
English + French versions here!
"Music is for Universe.
(...) Like a fresh air you feel. An air doesn't need any language, or sun doesn't need any language. "
— Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
"These songs are NOT for entertainment, you see... These songs are like if you are collecting power, knowledge, sound. You're purifying your inner soul and knowledge... and the music. And through this, you are almost making a road to reach God. And that's the purpose of our lives. Because we did not bring anything with us when we came, and we are not taking something better when we die. And what we are getting here, we have to give Him back, so what's left? What are you taking with you? The soul! And soul has to be purified and only God knows how to take care about that! (...)"
— Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
A man was lucky and great enough to meet the living Treasures of the XXth Indian century... Not only to approach them, but also to become a close and respected friend of them. But this was not his only accomplishment...
Sarbari Roy Chowdhury left us in February 2012. He had many lives in one. He was one of post-independent India’s foremost modern sculptors. The genius of his fingers and his fine spirit led him to travel to West to build bridges with other lovers of raw material and to "polish" his artistic identity. It seems Florence left him sensual memories of lights, shapes, sounds, tastes. He was in love with its refined cuisine and was perfectly able to follow an Italian conversation, even nearing the end of his life. However Bengal always remained his land whose the lighthouse was music, perhaps. It is said that Sarbarida used to find in Hindustani music the inspiration to persevere and make rise his creative freedom. His addiction to Beauty established him as an erudite connoisseur and a mad collector. The leading maestros of his times wanted to see him in the front row during their performances and considered an honor to sit for him. So did Ustad Ali Akbar Khan for eight days. Others, who had for instance a concert in Kolkata, were used to knock at his door of Santiniketan for acknowledging his art or for simple greetings. Further, some served as models for bronze portraits: Bade Ghulam Ali, Siddheswari, Alladiya Khan, Ali Akbar, Kesarbai, Zohrabai, Faiyaz Khan, Ravi Shankar...
I cannot resist the temptation to share the testimonies that Sougata, who is also a great sarod player and a precious friend, posted. This photos belong to the family's private collection.
All my thoughts of love & my gratitude to the whole family...
Article in The Times of India about the tribute given by the family one year after Sarbarida past away.