Newsletter April - August 2021


1. Small is Beautiful - Harmoniums for on the Move
2. Service – Tanpura Price Reduction, Harmonium Bonus, Vegan Instruments
3. Teaching Material - Harmonium & Sitar
4. Covid-19 Pandemic - Problems for Indian Instrument Makers
5. Ideal and Reality - Film Review The Disciple
6. Brief News: Covid Victims, Random Raga Player, Raga Streaming
7. How to Make (Indian) Music? (26) - Balance
8. Workshops - September to November
9. Concerts - September to November


1. Small is Beautiful – Harmoniums for on the Move
- New in our Assortment -

- Harmonium Sarang Mini Pro – 549 €

Tanpura Calcutta MaleThe Sarang Mini Pro is a perfect companion for mantras and kirtans on the road and at home - light, compact, robust, pleasant to handle and yet a full-fledged harmonium with a powerful, round sound. The Sarang Mini Pro offers particularly fine quality, but thanks to its simple Delhi-style construction, it is considerably cheaper than the similarly small Paloma and Pakrashi models. The 27 notes from f to g range over 2 1/4 octaves and thus cover the tonal range of common mantras and kirtans. High-quality double reeds ensure good response and a powerful, rich sound. The transparent varnish brings out the wood grain beautifully. The precise workmanship ensures that the keys work smoothly and the air chambers remain tight.

More info, pictures & sound sample Sarang Mini Pro

- Harmonium Tirupati Kirtan Premium Mini - 549 €

Tirupati Kirtan Premium MiniThe collapsible Tirupati Kirtan Premium Mini is a smaller version of the Kirtan Premium model and therefore especially suitable for travelling. The simple construction makes it inexpensive and robust, high-quality double reeds provide a full, warm sound and for the small format it has an amazingly good sustain. A good choice for beginners as well as for ambitious kirtan singers. The outer bellows of the Kirtan Premium Mini is firmly attached and does not have to be unfolded and secured with hooks. This makes the entire folding mechanism much less sensitive and easier to use. When folded, the instrument is protected in an integrated sturdy wooden case. With a range of 32 tones, it is a bit smaller and lighter than our Bina Kirtan Premium Mini.

Further info, pictures& sound sample Tirupati Kirtan Premium Mini


2. Service – Tanpura Price Reduction, Harmonium Bonus, Vegan Instruments
- Company News -


Tanpura Calcutta MalePrice Reduction – Male Tanpuras Calcutta Standard 100 € Cheaper
Today, traditional tanpuras are being replaced more and more by apps and electronic devices. Digital sounds, however, always remain sterile imitations of the originals. We want to make the lively sound of acoustic tanpuras more accessible for beginners and have therefore reduced the price of male tanpuras Calcutta Standard by 100 € - they now cost only 589 €! Experience the unique richness and fullness of the true tanpura sound! Ideal for Nada Yoga, overtone singing, meditation and chanting.

Pictures, info & sound sample male tanpura Calcutta Standard.

Gratis Lehrmaterial als BonusHarmonium Purchase – Bonus: Free Teaching Material
To help you get started, you will now get free introductory harmonium videos by American kirtan and harmonium teacher Daniel Tucker with every harmonium purchase - very helpful for beginners. The videos also include access to what is probably the best and most comprehensive teaching material available online for harmonium today: the Bhakti Breakfast Club. Exclusively through this access, the first month of membership with full access to all the teaching material is free.

Info about the Bhakti Breakfast Club and regular membership.

veganVegan Indian Instruments Overview - Tradition and Innovation
Animal materials such as skins, leather, horn and bone parts are used for many Indian instruments. The traditional materials shellac and water-soluble hot glue are also of animal origin. However, there are also Indian instruments without animal materials that meet strict vegan requirements: traditional percussion, flutes made of bamboo, wind instruments made of wood and reeds - and innovative new instruments like the bamboo tanpura or the drums with synthetic skins by Karunya. We now have a separate webpage for all vegan instruments!

Overwiev vegan Indian instruments.


3. Teaching Material – Harmonium & Sitar
- New in our Assortment -


Vaisnava HarmoniumVaisnava Harmonium - Book & 2 CDs @ 24 €

Vaisnava Harmonium is based on the classical North Indian music system and presents 43 Vaisnava Bhajans. It goes step by step from very simple to more advanced melodies. Instead of Western notation, the easy-to-read Indian letter notation is used. The pitch of the basic tone can be determined by the student to suit his/her own singing voice. Apart from the 43 bhajans, the book also deals with different voice ranges, special features of Indian raga music, characteristics of 58 well-known ragas, drone notes, harmonies and chords.

Further info & order Vaisnava Harmonium

Sitar MethodHal Leonard Sitar Method – Deluxe Edition with Book, Audio & Video @ 24.90 €

Hal Leonard Sitar Method by Josh Feinberg is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the sitar and its technique, as well as to the practice, theory and history of raga music. In addition to the Standard Edition as a book with online access to 42 audio tracks, there is now also a Deluxe Edition. It includes all the material of the Standard Edition plus 2 hours of videos for demonstration and play-along. Recommended for beginners as well as for sitar players who want to refine their technique and/or go deeper into the world of ragas.

Further info & order Hal Leonard Sitar Method.


4. Covid-19 Pandemic - Problems for Indian Instrument Makers
- Background Report by Yogendra -

Indian SitarmakerEuropean media have reported on the devastating wave of new Covid-19 infections in India this spring. The number of severe cases rose so suddenly and sharply that the Indian health system was no longer able to adequately care for all those who fell ill. Inadequate or completely absent treatment options led to countless deaths. New sharp lockdowns paralysed the economy and public life. What consequences does all this have for instrument manufacturers in India? We have asked our Indian partners. Conclusion: The situation for instrument makers in India remains difficult.

There are disruptions and obstructions everywhere - raw materials and components from suppliers have become considerably more expensive or are no longer available at all, local ordinances restrict working hours, employees have to go into quarantine, stay at home for fear of infection or can not come to the workshops because of curfews or the breakdown of public transport. Finished instruments can not be exported because packaging material or transport capacity is not available. Our supplier Haribhau Vishwanath (Paloma) in Mumbai, for example, had to stop production completely for months because skilled workers for crucial steps in the highly specialised manufacturing process had stayed with their families in the countryside. At Amaanshi (Sarang harmoniums) in Delhi, the whole team had to be quarantined because of positive corona tests. There were also reports of demands for bribes from corrupt police officers.

Picture UNICEFIn order to be able to deliver at all, quality standards are sometimes neglected. And since our independent local quality controllers can only work to a limited extent, more and more instruments with defects slip through to us in Germany and block our workshop with the necessary repairs. This results in domino effects of delays, bottlenecks and quality problems, which pose a great challenge to our Indian suppliers as well as to our team in Berlin. In addition to the health hazards, the massive drop in income is also putting instrument makers under severe financial pressure. A number of component suppliers and small businesses have given up and closed down because of this. The good news amidst all these difficulties: Many of our Indian partners and their employees have now been vaccinated. For some of our partners, we have been able to alleviate the financial hardship somewhat with advance payments. And at the moment it looks like all our partners are flexible and resilient enough to survive the crisis period!


5. Ideal und Reality - The Disciple
- Film Review by Yogendra -

DiscipleInternationally successful feature films in which classical Indian music plays a central role only occur every few decades. In Jalsaghar (The Music Room, 1958), Oscar winner Satyajit Ray presented an elegiac swan song to the declining Indian aristocratic patronage of music and dance. The classical Indian music tradition itself, on the other hand, had already successfully made its way from courtly patronage to the democratic public sphere and was flourishing. With Begum Akhtar, Roshan Kumari, Wahid Khan and Bismillah Khan, outstanding artists of that time could be seen and heard in Jalsaghar with phenomenal performances. When Rajan Khosa's film Dance of the Wind was released in 1997, Indian classical music had taken a breathtaking flight of instrumental styles while gaining astonishing global popularity. In Dance of the Wind, a young classical Indian singer refuses to ritually become a disciple of her mother and teacher in the sense of the ancient Guru-Shishya-Parampara tradition. After the death of her mother, the young singer loses her voice - and finds it again by becoming a singing teacher herself for a street girl. The film narrated Indian classical music as a medium of mental and spiritual healing through a renewed connection to the ancient tradition.

In The Disciple, on Netflix since April 2021 and shown at international film festivals before that, Chaitanya Tamhane now depicts the life of fictional khyal singer Sharad Nerulkar in four interlocking time levels over about 30 years. As a young boy, Sharad is forced by his father to learn vocal compositions instead of playing outside with his friends. In his early 20s, he is one of three students of a renowned classical vocal guru. A few years later, he ekes out a living as a singing teacher and with small concerts. And in the end we see him as a family man and press spokesman for a music publishing company. In Sharad's struggle with himself, with his family environment and with the noble old ideals of the classical music tradition, and finally in his failure under the conditions of the commercial concert business, the film paints a mercilessly realistic picture of the classical North Indian music tradition in modern India.

We see the singing student Sharad practicing, in class, as an inhibited accompanist to his guru in a concert and as an unsuccessful participant in a singing competition. He has fallen out with his mother and found shelter with his grandmother. He sees his singing studies as a life task that does not allow him to have a normal job on the side. His only concession is working for a small record company that digitises historical tape recordings of old masters. There, he admiringly delves into the lost teachings of the legendary ascetic singer Maai, with sentences like "Through this music, the path to the divine is revealed to us" or "If you want to walk this path, learn to be hungry and lonely.“

The radical sternness of Maai's teachings is in sharp contrast to Sharad's experienced reality. People are interested in current stars, not old masters. The audience for classical concerts is sparse and mostly of retirement age. Sharad's students would rather sing rock music than ragas. He himself lacks creativity - he meets neither his own nor his guru's expectations and is dismissed as a bore in comments on his YouTube channel. He has to go door to door as a supplicant for performance opportunities. He lives his sexuality masturbating to internet porn. His revered guru is hardly doing better – he is old, sick and penniless, depends on his students, has to keep performing despite his frailty and is cheated out of his fee by concert organisers. A music critic with insider knowledge exposes Sharad‘s revered old masters as hypocrites. Glamour and recognition can only be found on television for the winner of a casting show. Loneliness, disappointment and self-doubt finally culminate in a raga performance that Sharad finds so disintegrating that he breaks it off and walks silently off the stage. His artistic ambitions have thus finally failed. Sharad only appears cheerful and relaxed afterwards, for the first and only time, in a scene near the end of the film: travelling on a train with a happy girl on his lap and a pretty woman next to him. Happiness seems only possible for him outside the gruelling world of classical music.

The Disciple shows the classical North Indian music tradition in the midst of a complicated transformation process. After the very dynamic period with worldwide success in the second half of the 20th century, a congealment and musealisation has crept in. The spiritual and ascetic ideals have become increasingly difficult to reconcile with the modern world. Profanisation, digitalisation and commercialisation are eating away at the substance of tradition. The deprivation-laden apprenticeship for musicians still lasts decades, but the career prospects are bleak. Only very few succeed in first mastering the traditional repertoire with virtuosity, then creatively enriching it, and finally inspiring both the professional world and a wider audience. On the one hand, tradition demands to be faithful to it, and on the other hand, it thrives on constantly renewing itself with innovations. All these are contradictions that are difficult to resolve. It might be helpful to reflect on the essence of raga music though: Ananda - bliss. Those who forget this essence and strive for recognition and material gain through music are on the wrong track. But if you look for emotional depth, beauty and refinement in the ragas, you may find fulfillment again and again.

The Disciple is available on Netflix and through


6. Brief News: Covid Victims, Random Raga Player, Raga Streaming
- Scene-Info -

Covid-19 Pandemic – Renowned Musicians Among the Victims

MishraThe escalated Covid-19 pandemic in India this spring has led to partly chaotic conditions in the health system, to which several renowned Indian musicians have also fallen victim. The best known was probably the khyal singer Rajan Mishra, who had enjoyed worldwide success for decades in a duo with his younger brother Sajan and had received the high order Padma Bhushan in 2007. Rajan Mishra died on April 21st at the age of 70 in a Delhi hospital - reportedly because a ventilator could not be procured in time for the covid-19 complications that had arisen. Also due to Covid-19 complications, Debu Chaudhuri, recipient of the Padma Shri and one of the defining sitarists of the 1970s - 90s, died in Delhi on May 1st at the age of 85. Tragically, his son and disciple Prateek Chaudhuri also died of Covid-19 in Delhi just a few days later, on May 6th. Prateek had followed in his father's footsteps and made a name for himself as both a sitarist and a musicologist. He lived to be only 49 years old. The latest in the line of prominent Covid-19 victims so far is tabla player Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay, deceased at the age of 79 in Kolkata on May 7th.


NeckarGanga Reloaded – Endless Digital Raga Variations

NeckarGangaWith funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Indo-German band NeckarGanga has developed a virtual music player that is freely accessible online. The player has been fed with more than 240 short pieces of music in the ragas Kirwani and Hansadhwani, in free rhythm or in 41, 82 or 164 bpm, recorded individually by the musicians of NeckarGanga and various guests. These set pieces are independently recombined by the player in almost infinite combinations with a mixture of programmed rules and chance. Instead of repeatable pieces, the player thus offers a slightly different listening experience each time. By clicking on 6 buttons, listeners can choose whether they want to hear Kirwani or Hansadhwani or both, and whether the music should be more or less rhythmic. By foregoing a conscious design of larger contexts, there is neither beginning nor end nor development in the music - and thus neither tension nor meaning. Everything always fits together somehow nicely and thus ultimately blurs into arbitrariness. NeckarGanga Reloaded has neither the lively processuality of improvised classical Indian raga music nor the product character of composed works - but as pleasant background music with original exotic ingredients, the player is certainly wonderful to use for relaxation at home, in Indian restaurants or in yoga studios.

Music-Player NeckarGanga Reloaded


Ragya – Classical Indian Music Streaming

RagyaRagya is a new streaming service for hardcore fans of classical Indian music. The service is still under construction and so far only offers classical North Indian music - but in good technical and artistic quality. World-famous stars as well as lesser-known masters from the second row are represented. The spectrum of recordings ranges from historical material to relatively recent live recordings and is sorted according to the traditional assignment to times of day. At night, for example, only supplementary recordings can be played. This limitation can be circumvented with the mobile app by creating your own playlist that can be played at any time. The selection is very limited in the free version, but quite sufficient for testing. With the premium version for just under 4 € per month, it can be expanded to over 1000 hours of music and enriched with background information on ragas and artists. So far, it is not possible to search for specific ragas or artists. This can be seen as an invitation to broaden one's horizons and make new discoveries. In the future, however, a specific search function, a constantly expanding repertoire and the integration of classical South Indian music are planned.

Ragya Website.


7. How to Make (Indian) Music? (26) - Balance
- Quote by Lü Buwei -

The series "How to Make (Indian) Music?" presents thought-provoking, inspiring or controversial quotes from artists and intellectuals. 

SpringAutumnWhen the world is at peace, when all things are at rest, then music can be perfected. When the desires and passions do not go on wrong courses, then music can be perfected. Perfect music has its cause. It arises from balance. The balance arises from the right, the right arises from the sense of the world. Music is based on the harmony between heaven and earth, on the agreement of the dark and the light.

Lu Buwei (ca. 300 - 235 BC) was a Chinese merchant, politician and philosopher. As a patron of the arts, he initiated the writing of "Spring and Autumn Annals of Lu Buwei". Quote from: Hermann Hesse: Das Glasperlenspiel, p. 27 f., licensed edition RM Buch und Medien Vetrieb 2002


7. Workshops - September to November
- Scene-Info -

We are relaunching the workshop calendar after the corona break. Like a good notice board, it is limited to short, essential information with links to the respective websites for more info. Here is the overview:

03-05.09. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium Advanced Seminar with Devadas Mark Janku
17-19.09. FRANKFURT: Bhakti Yoga Immersion with Aleah and Jess
24-26.09. BAD MEINBERG: Advanced Harmonium Seminar with Michael Bier
01-03 Oct. OBERLAHR: Harmonium learning seminar with Marco Büscher
08-10.10. ULM: Bhakti Yoga Immersion with Aleah and Jess
08-10.10. OY-MITTELBERG: Harmonium learning seminar with Jürgen Wade
15-17.10. OY-MITTELBERG: Harmonium Advanced Seminar with Jürgen Wade
17-22.10. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium Intensive with Sarada Drautzburg
22-24.10. BAD MEINBERG: Indian Dance with Anna Grover
05-07.11. EICHSTÄTT: Bhakti Yoga Immersion with Aleah and Jess
05-07.11. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium learning seminar with Jürgen Wade
12-14.11. BERLIN: Bhakti Yoga Teacher Training Begins
12-14.11. WANGERLAND: Harmonium learning seminar with Jürgen Wade
19-21.11. RATINGEN: Bhakti Yoga Immersion with Aleah and Jess

More information about all offers and further dates on our workshop page.


7. Concerts - September to November
- Scene-Info -

After a long Corona break, our concert calendar is back!

01.09. BONN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
03.09. COLOGNE: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
04.09. HAMBURG: Ek Minute Baba - Rag ‘n‘ Roll
11.09. FALKENSEE: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
11.09. A - VIENNA: Kaveri Sageder - Kathak Dance
16.09. B - BRUSSELS: Joachim Lacrosse - Sitar
30.09. A - REIGEN: Once In A Blue Moon - Sitar & Accordion
01.10. A - TRAUN: Once In A Blue Moon - Sitar & Accordion
01.10. SCHWERIN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
03.10. BAD MEINBERG: Ananda Caitanya Das - Kirtan
15.10. BERLIN: Dave Stringer - Kirtan
02.11. BAD MEINBERG: The Love Keys - Aleah G. & Friends
06.11. CH - ZURICH: Satyaa & Pari - Mantras
12.11. COLOGNE: The Love Keys - Aleah G. & Friends
26.11. FULDA: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
30.11. BAD MEINBERG: The Love Keys - Aleah G. & Friends


More detailed information, place and time as well as further dates in our concert calendar.

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