Newsletter February 2009

1. Konnakol-DVD-Professional-Set
- New in our Assortment -

Konnakol is the rhythmic syllable-language of South-Indian music.It probably is the most complex and comprehensive system for presenting rhythm.It is also a very good tool for teaching, analysing rhythmic structures and last not least a very popular and impressive element in performing music.India Instruments has been offering the DVD "Gateway To Rhythm" (Gateway To Rhythm) by John McLaughlin and Selva Ganesh Vinayakram as a compact introduction.Now we are glad to present the professional Set "Konnakol", made up of 54 lessons on 3 DVDs (228 minutes long) as well as a bonus-CD with all lessons as PDF files for printing.

The ultimate goal of these unique DVDs is to be able to perform a Konnakol-solo of 10 minutes, that is fit for the stage. On the way there you are led step by step through all important elements of the South-Indian rhythm-system: lessons for fast speech (Ferns), basic rhythms (Jatis) ,uneven hrythmic phrases and periods, the creation of tension by shifting accents in relation to the basic pulse (Muktayam), patterns that shorten systematically over numerous cycles, interlude of 3/4 feeling (Trishyam) and breaks of various lenghts and forms (Ardi).

Konnakol works with the voice and therefore is not restricted to any instrumental skills or certain places - but it can be transferred to any instrument. The material is presented in German language clearly and precisely by Christian Schmidhofer, diploma holder and member of the legendary Karnateka College of Percussion led by the master of mridangam T.A.S. Mani, with whom he organizes workshops regularly. You don´t need any knowledge in advance. The DVD-Set "Konnakol" is available from India Instruments for 139.- € (plus 1.95 € mailing costs if ordered).


2. Tabla-Flightcase 3 in 1
- New in our Assortment -

Drum-skins are highly damageable wear-and-tear-parts, that will tear sooner or later. But it is especially annoying when it happens on tour just before a concert. Some tabla-players therefore carry a second instrument with them as a replacement. Sometimes tablas are needed, that are tuned differently for different pieces of music. India Instruments offers the flightcase 3 in 1 made of fiberglass to meet these requirements. This case in its proven cylindrical shape is so high, that 1 baya and 2 dayans fit into it. Robust rolls are included as part of the equipment, of course. External dimensions (height / diameter) 89 / 38 cm, weight 6.8 kg. Pictures of the new flightcase-model can be seen at Cases

The price is 250.- € (plus 6.90 € forwarding charges if ordered)


3. Tuning-aid Narka
- New in our Assortment -

Tuning the sympathetic strings of a sitar, sarod, sarangi, esraj or dilruba often is very cumbersome and difficult, because the pegs can't be turned easily and it is hard to get a good grip on them. Some players then give up on tuning the sympathetic strings properly, hereby loosing the full sound of the instrument. A solution for this problem is a tuning-aid called "Narka". The Narka is put upon the peg tightly like a wrench, can be gripped by the whole hand, and thus allows you to move the peg smoothly, so that you can tune the sympathetic strings exactly. The result is an instrument, that can develop its full sound. Starting from now you can get Narkas from India Instruments for 8.90 € ( plus 1.95 € mailing cost , if ordered ) You can look at pictures of it at: Narka


4. Study Indian Music in London
- Scene Info -

Already since 2006, the Trinity College London is offering a practical 4 year-study of Indian Music in cooperation with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the renowned institute for Indian Culture. The study is mainly composed of Perfomance Studies and Contextual Studies. The core of the Performance Studies are solo-lessons in the main-subject you have chosen (vocal, sitar, violin or percussion), supplemented by lessons on a secondary instrument, by basic training and by playing in an ensemble. The Contextual Studies are about achieving a solid understanding of Indian Music for teaching and research, as well as dealing with the newest music technology and developing own musical projects. The conditions for admission are a musical audition and an interview. Also during the studies mainly performing music is tested. The studies are finished by a Bachelor of Music - Indian Performance, or alternately with a Diploma. The lessons are taught in English. Previous knowledge and special musical skills can be acknowledged so that the duration of the studies can be shortened. The studies start in September each year. For more information see:

For musicians who are already active as professional performers, but don´t have an institutional certificate yet it is possible to aquire a Performance-Diploma without participating in the lessons by delivering a 40-minute performance. For further information on this special offer contact the sitarist Dharambir Singh, who has developed this special offer and other studies for indian music. E-mail:

More fulltime studies for Indian Music in Europe are being offered by the Rotterdam World Music Academy, the Leeds College of Music, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) London, and by the Konservatorium Vicenza

Practical lessons are taught within the context of other studies e.g. by the Musikakademie Basel and the University of Hildesheim


5. Waldschmidt-Price for Heike Moser
- Scene Info -

German indologist from Tübingen Heike Moser received the Ernst-Waldschmidt-Price worth 5000.- € which is only awarded once in five years for her research on the South Indian Sanskrit-dance-theatre Kutiyattam. Kutiyattam, an earlier form of the better known Kathakali-theatre, distinguishes itself by a complex language of hand-gestures and a highly stylized facial expression.Kutiyattam has been handed down in Kerala over centuries and it is the only pre-modern form of theatre in India in which both women and men take part together as actors on stage. Heike Moser has not only done scientific research on Kutiyattam but also, after studying Indology and Ethnology and doing a basic training in Bharata-Nayam, learnt the dance herself and, as the first non-Indian ever, reached stage maturity. Her comprehensive field-material is available on the internet in a database about the sanskrit-theatre. Since 2008 Heike Moser, now 38 years old, is a scientific coordinator for the newly founded Asia-Orient-Institute of the University of Tübingen and staff-member in the Exzellenzcluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context - Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows" of the University of Heidelberg.

Multimedia-database about Sanskrit-theatre:
Website of Heike Moser:
Infos about the Ernst-Waldschmidt-Price:


6. Interview with Amelia Cuni
- Scene Info -

A Berlin resident and native Italian, singer Amelia Cuni is one of the most high-profile interpreters of the old Indian Dhrupad style of singing and also active in the field of contemporary experimental music. From February 27th till March 1st, 2009 she is doing a workshop on vocals in Berlin together with Feldenkrais-teacher Ute Birk. This workshop initiated Birgit Kratz to do an interview with Amelia about Akar, her special form of dhrupad-based vocal work. Read it at:

Two CDs of Amelia Cuni are available at India Instruments: "Morning Meditation" containing the two morning-ragas Todi and Nat-Bhairav and the brandnew production "Ocean of Colours", an hommage to her teacher Bidur Mallik with the ragas Desi, Hindol and Shankara, - both in the traditional Dhrupad-style accompanied by the drum pakhawaj.
Price: 15.- € each (plus 1.95 € mailing cost, if ordered ).

You´ll find Amelia´s own website at


7. India and the World
- Conference-Report by George Ruckert -

Titled "India and the World – The Performing Arts" a conference was held from November 19th till November 23rd as part of the month-long Amsterdam-India-festival, bringing together almost all of the leading scientific specialists on the field of Indian Music worldwide. Read the report, that was sent to us by George Ruckert (Massachussets Institute of Technology, Boston), author of the excellent book "Classical Music of North India"

While the November winds and wet rainy snows swirled around the old streets and canals that are the milieu for the University of Amsterdam, a hundred or more scholars and musicians interested in the music of India crowded into several lecture halls to hear one another hold forth on the music of India. Everything from North and South Indian classical music to modern hip-hop blends and western compositional experiments were heard in tapes and the ubiquitous power-point demonstrations. The participants were mainly from the West, but a number of distinguished Indian scholars were also present, including Arvind Parikh, Sunil Kothari, Shubra Chaudhuri, and several others. But perhaps the mixed nationality of the presenters was indeed an important point of the Conference itself: the performing arts of India are now an international phenomenon, with many of the most significant studies and performances growing in western soil.

The range of papers included music, dance, theater, history and esthetics, and one was dazzled by the fertility of the papers and the great sweep of the scholarship, from exploring local historical events (such as Joep Bor's discussion of a tour of 19th-century temple dancers, or Richard Widdess’ “Prabandha in the Kathmandu Valley” ), to modern effects (e.g., David Trasoff’s “Devotional Music in a Western Context,” or Huib Schippers’ discussion of the resilience of raga). Several modern composers presented samples of their pieces, including Shirish Korde and Francis Silkstone, and including Steve Slawek’s discussion of Ravi Shankar’s sitar concertos. There was something for everyone here, and the all-day, non-stop flow of topics was personally interspersed with many pauses at the coffee bars to review, reconstruct, laugh, and revive the many memories of the music and travel in India which was common to all.

University of Amsterdam’s Professor Wim van der Meer (the current editor of the “Journal of Indian Musicology”) and his crew worked themselves to exhaustion to make this a very effective gathering for the exchange of ideas and attitudes, and one hopes that it will recur in the West in the future, so that more of those working with and around these rich musical traditions can get together to goad, inspire, and share.

This newsletter has been translated from the original German (except George Ruckert's conference-report) by Kiran Singh Maini

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