Newsletter December 2009

1. New Tunings for Shrutiboxes
- Company Info -

So far shrutiboxes have only been available from us with a tonic set to pitch c. We will keep that as a standard for various reasons: c is widely used as a tonic both in Western and Indian music, each of the 12 half notes is available at least once, and each note can be played in combination with a fourth or fifth above or below to get a full drone sound.

However, we do now offer any other note as a tonic as well - i.e. shrutiboxes covering a complete chromatic octave starting at c sharp, d, d sharp, e, f, f sharp, g, g sharp, a, a sharp or b. For that purpose we replace the original reeds by an alternative reed set in our workshop in Berlin - and we do not charge anything extra for that! The order of the levers remains the same, so they do not correspond exactly with the black and white keys of a keyboard any more. The ascending half step order from left to right remains the same, though, and still covers a complete octave.

This unique service is very attractive for anybody using a shrutibox regularly with a tonic other than c, e.g. to accompany bamboo flute and of course for singing and sounding at one's own personal tonic. You can now get a vibrant rich drone with tonic, fifth and high octave at your own favourite pitch! Our new alternative pitches are all in the octave below the standard c. This makes them attractive to anybody looking simply for a deeper, wamer drone, too.

Of course you can also get the tuning of your existing shrutibox changed by us according to your individual specifications. This service is available at 30.- Euros (including the new reeds, plus shipping cost).

General information on shrutiboxes, the various models and prices.


2. Double-DVD Yoga Unveiled
- New in our Assortment -

In three hours and 15 minutes "Yoga Unveiled - Evolution and Essence of a Spiritual Tradition" gives an introduction to the historical development of yoga, its various styles, its amazing therapeutic potential and its importance in the modern world. The film consists mainly of the explanations of an impressive array of leading yoga masters and other experts, complemented by background information with evocative images of India and animated charts. The resulting richness of authentic insights gives the viewer a multi-faceted and complex picture of the yoga tradition. However, the aim is not a practical learning of certain exercises, but an understanding of the very essence of yoga and its underlying spiritual concepts - which is of crucial importance for successful practice as well!

The list of participants reads like a who is who of yoga in India and North America. The following masters, therapists and scholars have contributed verbal statements and / or their practise:

  • Indian Yogis Swami Sivananda, Krishnamacharya, Indra Devi, B.K.S. Iyengar, B.N.S. Iyengar, Mala Srivatsan, Pattabhi Jois, T.K.V.Desikachar, Ranganath Desikacharya, Kausthub Desikachar, Swami Rama, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Tyagananda, A.V. Balasubramaniam, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, S. Sridharan, Father Joe Pereira, Pattabhi Jois and M.M. Murugappan
  • American Yoga teachers Rodney Yee, Deborah Willoughby, Patricia Walden, Larry Payne and Mary Palmer
  • mantra singer Krishna Das, dancer Adam Battlestein and writer cum photographer Robert Arnett
  • yoga scholars Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak and Edwin Bryant
  • medical doctors Dean Ornish, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Herbert Benson, Mehmet Oz, S.V. Karandikar, Bernard Clark, Timothy McCall and Jagdish Hiremath
  • ayurvedic doctors Martina Ziska and Vasant Lad

The zeal and enthusiasm of Gita and Mukesh Desai, producers of Yoga Unveiled, is obvious: the whole movie is a passionate plea for the spiritual depth and universal healing powers of yoga, deeply rooted in ancient Indian tradition, yet highly relevant for contemporary life. Instead of boring the viewers with well-meaning pedagogics or overstraining them with technical details, the film tries to go straight to the heart with its moving and telling statements. This approach is wonderfully supported by sensitive use of Indian raga music to create a refined atmosphere, by evocative imagery and by the tasteful integration of archive material. An eye-opening experience for all friends of yoga! The movie consists of the following chapters:

  • What is Yoga? - Definitions by experts
  • Origins of Yoga - Development of yogic philosophy, the Vedas and Upanishads in ancient India
  • The Branches of Yoga - The ways of bhakti-, karma-, jnana-, raja-, tantra- and hatha-yoga
  • The passage from East to West - Swami Vivekananda as a messenger of yoga in the West
  • Modern Yoga - Krishnamacharya, his most important disciples and the place of yoga in the modern world
  • Yoga and Modern Medicine - Interviews with pioneers in this field

Most of the spoken texts are in English. Passages in Indian languages have English subtitles. Subtitles in other languages are not available. The official trailer for Yoga Unveiled is available at

Yoga Unveiled is now available from us for 32.90 Euro (plus 3.90 Euros shipping within Europe)!


3. Suggestions for Christmas
- Special Offers -

Still looking for a Christmas present for your loved ones? Here are some suggestions from our assortment - not too costly, immediately available and really enjoyable! PLEASE NOTE: As a Christmas special we do NOT require advance payment for these items for orders reaching us until December 21st - we will simply ship your order with an invoice!

  • CD - Indigo Masala: Big Gods & Little Animals - 15.- Euros -
    Magical sitar, whirling tablas and a cello with a really cool groove, exquisitely arranged with enchanting vocals, colourful percussion, overwhelming joy of playing and a fine taste of jazz - that's world music by Indigo Masala. In 2008, the press called this "probably the hottest album of the year".
  • CD - Anuraag - 15.- Euros
    Guitar, sarod, sometimes a female voice (Shirin Sengupta) and occaisonally tabla accompaniment (Rupak Bhattacharjee). The result is simply beautiful. The cover, the recordings, the compositions - everything fits perfectly in this production. Wonderful result of 3 years of cooperation of Indian sarod player Ranajit Sengupta and Swiss guitar player Miguel Guldimann.
  • Double-DVD - Raga Unveiled - 260 min., 32.90 Euros
    Basics and essence of the North-Indian raga tradition in explanaitions and concert footage of more than 70 leading musicians and musicologists, complemented by info sections, atmospheric images and animated graphics - a who is who of Indian music and a great key to enlightened auditory enjoyment!
  • DVD - Zakir and his friends - 88 min. main movie + 135 min. extras, 19.90 Euros
    Filmed journey to the most exciting drummers and percussionists of this world, focused on tabla master Zakir Hussain and covering India, Bali, Japan, Califonia, Venezuela, Trinidad and Burkina Faso. The film blends rhythmic worlds which seem infinetely far apart from one another into one new complex whole. Rhythm is life and life is a rhythm experience.
  • DVD - Music Masala - 68 min., 35.- Euros
    A journey into the magical world of North Indian classical music, spanning the modern age and tradition. While musicians and music lovers tell of the uniqueness and beauty of the music, shots of concert highlights combined with pictures full of vibrant Indian life create an unforgettable film experience which enchants the uninitiated as well as experts on Indian music.
  • DVD - Gateway to Rhythm - 82 min., 22.- Euros
    Basics of and simple exercises in Konnakol, the universal South Indian language of rhythm, presented by John McLaughlin and Selva Ganeshan. Helpful for enhancing rhythmical skills for any musician, irrespective of instrument and style of music!

4. Obituary Gangubai Hangal
- Scene Info -

Cologne-based West-German radio station WDR 3 is going to broadcast a whole night of Indian music on November 22nd from 5 minutes after midnight until 6 o'clock in the morning. The title is "Nord- und südindische Klänge in west-östlichem Dialog", which translates as "North and South Indian Sounds in a West-Eastern Diaogue". The night consists of recent live recordings from concerts and festivals in Bielefeld, Bonn, Duisburg and Cologne with the following ensembles:

  • Shastriya Syndicate: Purbayan Chatterjee (sitar), Veenai Jayanthi Kumaresh (saraswati-veena), Rakesh Chaurasia (bansuri), Murad Ali (sarangi),
  • Subhankar Bannerjee (tabla), Pramath Kiran (percussion) and Satish Patri (mridangam) Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha (dhrupad vocal) with Jörg Kaufmann (pakhawaj)
  • Karaikudi Subramaniam (saraswati-veena) solo
  • Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi (violins) with Patri Satish Kumar (mridangam) and V. Suresh (ghatam)
  • G. Ramanathan and Rainer Pusch (saxophones) with Arup Sengupta (tabla) and Herbert Lang (mridangam)
  • Stephanie Bosch (bansuri) with Arup Sengupta (tabla)

Complementing the music will be a couple of informative background features (in German). Detailed info in the WDR programme schedule at


5. How to Replace Tabla Heads
- Background Info -

Tabla heads need to be replaced from time to time because of general wearout. Could that be a project for your Christmas vacation? You can get the necessary new tabla heads and straps from India Instruments in any size and in different styles and qualities, of course. However, fixing and tightening a new head is a difficult job and requires a certain amount of strength, knowledge and feeling. The basic practical knowledge is now available for free on the internet: Our friends from the Ali Akbar College of Music Store in San Rafael, California, have produced a series of 5 instructive video clips of about 9 minutes length each. Kalyan Godden explains and demonstrates all steps in a clear and easily understandable manner. The first clip is available at and the following ones are linked to that page. If you still have open questions after viewing you might find help on David Courtney's detailed pages at

Of course India Instruments offers a reheading service as well. Our fee for the work is 60.- Euros plus the cost of the required materials and shipping. Unfortunately there is never any guarantee that the new tabla head will sound as good as or even better than the old one. Therefore simply buying a single new tabla or baya is often a more sensible solution. We always carry a great selection of fine tablas and bayas in different qualities, sizes and tunings. Every instrument is available separately without having to buy a complete set. An overview is available at:

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