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Brigitte Menon - Successful Homage to Vilayat Khan

By Ingo Anhenn
(September 2009)

It is often heard that non-native performers of traditional art forms are basically guests or even robbers - handicaped in learning the art and faulty and / or superficial in their performance. This argument is sometimes used by nationalistic Indians when Europeans or Americans grab a tabla, sitar or their vocal chords and play Indian classical music. The argument seems to be supported by beginners playing anxiously and enthusiastically out of tune - and presenting their fruitless efforts on the internet. However years and years of working through the fine mists of besurism (playing out of tune) in search for the right tone are an essential part of learning Indian classical music, and the sheer quantity of beginners' videos only proves that camera and internet are more easily available than composure and patience. The spurious argument gets its death blow by this beautiful hommage to a really great sitar player - performed excellently, with great finesse and in full accordance with the spirit of the gharana by French Brigitte Menon: (first of six parts, her bhairavi is great, too).