Newsletter February – May 2022


0. Music As Organising Power – A Preface
1. Bargains and Rarities – New Special Offers Online
2. Shipping Cost Update & Instagram – Company News
3. Women in Classical Indian Music (1) – Devadasis, Tawaifs and the 20th Century
4. Obituaries - Lata Mangeshkar, Birju Maharaj, Shivkumar Sharma, Bhajan Sopori
5. Brief News: Pakrashi Centenary, German Records Critics‘ Award, Hindustani Vinyl
6. How to Make (Indian) Music? (28) – Finding Peace
7. Workshops – June to October
8. Concerts – June to August

0. Music As Organising Power

- A Preface -


War, pandemic, climate change, species extinction, etc., etc.... - world events seem to become increasingly chaotic, depressing and threatening. Familiar orders are losing their binding force or dissolve completely. Overstrain and paralysing resignation seem to be creeping in. At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved right now, both to help people in need directly and to have a positive impact on the bigger picture. At the same time, it is perhaps more valuable and necessary than ever to consciously and purposefully strengthen one's own mental balance. Music can make a significant contribution to this. Its essence is to arrange vibrations in a meaningful way. This organising power can be experienced directly when listening to music. And it is even more effective in one's own musical practice. At India Instruments, we have been working with dedication and passion to promote such a practice for 28 years.


1. Bargains and Rarities – Unique Specimen Online

- New Special Offers -

Bargains and rarities, curiosities and precious items - our special offers page presents second-hand instruments, samples, remaining stock, discontinued models and instruments with minor flaws. We have just added a lot of new items and put them online. From a purely economic point of view, the effort for this presentation hardly pays off. But in the sense of a sustainable lifestyle, we are committed to using instruments for as long as possible. This is another way to conserve resources and avoid emissions. All instruments on the special offers page are unique pieces - if you are interested, please contact us quickly! Enjoy browsing!

String Instruments


  • Radha Krishna Sharma Full Deco
    – beautiful excellent vintage sitar: 1359 €
  • Bharat Music House
    – beginner sitar with lavish decoration: 590 €
  • Sarangi Premium
    – 2nd hand bargain: 640 €


  • Bhava HarmoniumBhava Classic Concert Teak
    – noble luxury in topmost quality: 1349 €
  • Pakrashi Compactina
    – extra slim in various versions: 589 €
  • Pakrashi Premium Coupler
    – high quality classic with option for extra powerful sound: 759 €
  • Pakrashi Maestro foldable
    – triple reeds for extra powerful sound in practical case: 1089 €
  • Monoj Kumar Sardar Scale-Changer
    - 2nd hand professional model in good condition: 989 €


  • Professional quality from various makers



  • Khol / Mridanga Calcutta Premium
    – with small defect: 289 €
  • Mridangam from Bangalore
    – well broken in South Indian classic: 399 €

Electronic Instruments

  • Taal Tarang
    – vintage tabla machine: 75 €
  • Nagma
    – vintage lahara machine: 95 €

Special Offers page with infos, pictures & videos.

2. Shipping Cost Update & Instagram

- Company News -

Shipping Cost Update

VersandkostenFor 14 years, since 2008, we have always kept the price for a standard parcel in Germany constant at €6.90. We have also kept the other shipping prices very stable all these years. When the prices were introduced, our postage costs were covered by them and we paid the packaging costs ourselves. In the course of time, however, the postage costs have continued to rise and the costs for sturdy shipping boxes and packaging materials have recently exploded. It was therefore high time to thoroughly revise the shipping costs!

Many mail order companies keep the shipping costs artificially low by adding them to the item prices. In contrast, we rely on full transparency and now indicate the prices for postage and packaging separately: Shipping costs = packaging + postage. We have calculated in such a way that the actual costs are approximately covered. This makes hidden cross-financing superfluous - you only pay directly for your own order. And if you pick up your order in our Berlin store, you can save a lot of money. Fair and reasonable, isn‘t it?

New shipping cost overview.


Photos, Videos & Stories on Instagram

InstagramAre you on Instagram? India Instruments is now too! We post pictures and videos of our instruments, stories from our day-to-day store work, looks behind-the-scenes, news, tips & tricks, and info on new trends. Follow us!

India Instruments on Instagram.


3. Women in Classical Indian Music (1) – Devadasis, Tawaifs and the 20th Century

- Feature by Yogendra -

For Hindus, the god of Indian classical music is a woman: Saraswati is the goddess of music, language, knowledge, learning and science. Nevertheless, the publicly visible professional scene for Indian classical music is dominated by men - in India as well as in the diaspora. Male dominance, however, has not always been as pronounced as it has been in the last 100 years. And it is increasingly being challenged today. Time for a retrospective in this newsletter - and a discussion of the current situation in the next issue.


In ancient India devadasis ("servants of God") were women who were ritually married to a deity, lived in the deity's temple, and performed music and dance there as part of the temple rituals. They were considered guardians of the fine arts and had a high social status. The tradition of devadasis is documented from the 6th century, but was suppressed during Muslim rule in northern India and continued only in southern India. During Mughal rule, women played a central role in court culture as singers and dancers from the 16th century onward. They were called tawaifs and were trained in kathak dance, singing and reciting of ghazals, and highly refined court etiquette. The culture of the tawaifs experienced perhaps its highest flowering in the 19th century, when central Mughal rule disintegrated and numerous regional princes competed with each other for the most glamorous court culture. As accompanists on tabla or sarangi, numerous male musicians were also involved in the tawaif tradition. Under British colonial rule, however, both the temples and the princely courts became less and less important. Imported Victorian morality cinfined women to the role of wife and mother. The traditionally unmarried devadasis and tawaifs were stigmatised and marginalised. They were not seen fit to represent a national culture that was being redefined in the wake of the Indian independence movement. The 20th century became a male-dominated musical era in India.

DevadasisDespite adverse circumstances, there were also outstanding female musicians in the 20th century. In 1902, the singer Gauhar Jaan from the Tawaif milieu was one of the first Indian musicians ever to be recorded on gramophone records and published commercially. Her records with semi-classical pieces, released from 1903 onwards, made her a kind of pop star. Singers such as M.S.Subbulakshmi, Kesarbhai Kerkar, Mogubai Kurdikar, Gangubai Hangal and Begum Akhtar reached a wide audience in the middle of the century through radio, records and concerts. In the next generation, singers such as Kishori Amonkar, Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Girija Devi, Prabha Atre, Shruti Sadolikar and Aruna Sairam enjoyed great success. Perhaps the abundance of outstanding female singers can still be understood as a legacy of the Tawaif culture?

N. Rajam

Important female instrumentalists, on the other hand, were rare and only appeared after Indian independence. The gifted sarod player Zarin Sharma Daruwala had a great career start, but led a rather secluded life after her marriage. And the sitarist and surbahar player Annapurna Devi, daughter and disciple of the legendary Allauddin Khan, refrained from public appearances throughout her life after marrying her first husband Ravi Shankar. The sarod player Sharan Rani Backliwal was quite different - her marriage to a wealthy businessman gave her every freedom to pursue a career as a musician and even led to her being honored with the high state order Padma Bhushan. A very special success story is that of violinist N. Rajam. She not only established herself as a classical Indian soloist, but also founded a veritable female dynasty of successful violinists as the teacher of her daughter Sangeeta Shankar, her granddaughters Ragini Shankar and Nandini Shankar, and her niece Kala Ramnath.

>>> To be continued: In the second part of this feature, we will discuss the current situation of women in Indian classical music....

Audio Gauhar Jaan: Bhairavi Dadra.
Video Tawaif culture: The iconic kathak performance from the film classic Jalsagar..


4. Obituaries - Lata Mangeshkar, Birju Maharaj, Shivkumar Sharma, Bhajan Sopori

- Scene Info -

Lata Mangeshkar - Indian Nightingale

Lata MangeshkarOn February 6, Lata Mangeshkar passed away in Mumbai at the age of 92, following a corona infection. The death of the legendary Bollywood singer shook all of India as well as the worldwide diaspora. India's government ordered a two-day national mourning for her. In hardly any other large country would such a tribute to a cultural icon be imaginable. Lata Mangeshkar was born in Indore in 1929 as the granddaughter of a devadasi. Her father Deenanath Mangeshkar was a classical singer and theatre actor who gave her lessons and introduced her to the world of theater and film. From 1947, Lata Mangeshkar established herself as a playback singer for Bollywood films and in the 1950s became the favorite singer of leading Bollywood composers such as Shankar-Jaikishan, Sachin Dev Burman, C. Ramchandra, Madan Mohan, Hemant Kumar and Salil Choudhury. Her distinctive high voice became a style defining ideal for the entire genre of Bollywood singing. In her decades-long career, she sang well over 10,000 songs in all major Indian languages. In 2001, she was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor, for her lifetime achievements. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter. "She leaves a void in our country that cannot be filled".


Birju Maharaj - Charismatic Dancer

Birju MaharajKathak master Birju Maharaj began his training in the style of the Kalka-Bindadin school of Lucknow as a child with his father Acchan Maharaj, kathak dancer at the court of the rajas of Raigarh. After his father's early death, he continued to study with his uncles Lachhu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj. As a teenager, he successfully performed on stage as a soloist and began teaching himself. This was followed by a stellar career as a dancer, choreographer, musician and kathak guru at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra and the Kathak Kendra in Delhi, which earned him the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award as early as 1964 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1986. Birju Maharaj was one of the last to present the ancient tradition of kathak as poetic storytelling with gestures, facial expressions and singing while seated. He excelled as well with complex rhythm, elegant flow of movement and expressiveness in the classical kathak solo repertoire. He also composed kathak music and created award-winning choreographies for soloists and ensembles in major Bollywood films. As a teacher, he has influenced generations of kathak dancers. His most famous students are Saswati Sen and Aditi Mangaldas. On January 16, Birju Maharaj died of heart failure in Delhi at the age of 84. Shortly after his death, former students of Birju Maharaj published allegations of sexual harrassment.


Shivkumar Sharma - Spirit of Kashmir

Shivkumar SharmaThe santoor has long been considered a Kashmiri instrument; its shimmering cascades of sound are associated with the pure clarity of the north Indian mountains. Shivkumar Sharma grew up in Kashmir's Jammu, learned singing and tabla from his father Uma Dutt Sharma as a child, and decided to take up the santoor as a teenager. With novel playing techniques and the exploitation of its manifold percussive possibilities, he succeeded in making the santoor presentable for classical ragas as well. The 1967 album Call of the Valley, recorded with flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia, guitarist Brijbhushan Kabra and Manikrao Popatkar on tabla, was one of the greatest commercial successes of all time for a classical Indian record. In addition to his classical career, Shivkumar Sharma, together with Hariprasad Chaurasia as the duo Shiv-Hari, was also successful with music for numerous Bollywood films. Since 1996, he performed as a santur duet with his son Rahul Sharma. Until shortly before his death, he was present in many Indian media as a celebrity and eloquent elder statesman of Indian music. For his cultural services, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, the Padma Shri in 1991 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. On May 10, Shivkumar Sharma died of heart failure in Mumbai at the age of 84.

CDs by Shivkumar Sharma at India Instruments.
Personal memories of Shivkumar Sharma by Ty Burhoe.


Bhajan Sopori – Saint of the Santoor

Bhajan SoporiBhajan Sopori came from a family that had cultivated the unique combination of Shaivism, Sufism and classical North Indian musical tradition in the Kashmir Valley for centuries. Several generations of his ancestors had played santoor, and so Bhajan Sopori learned santoor from his father and grandfather since early childhood. Over the years he developed his own style and modified the santoor according to his artistic ideas. Among other things, he expanded the range to more than 5 octaves, added sympathetic strings, and used the smooth pitch modulations (meend) which are so important for classical ragas, by pressing the strings down behind the bridges with his fingers. Bhajan Sopori was particularly involved with the spiritual power and healing effects of his music. He saw himself as a peace ambassador for Kashmir, which was torn violently between India and Pakistan, and composed prayer chants and ran his own music academy. In 1992 he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and in 2004 the Padma Shri. On June 2, he died of cancer at the age of 73 in Gurugram near Delhi.

5. Brief News: Pakrashi Centenary, German Records Critics‘ Award, Hindustani Vinyl

- Scene Info -

100 Years Pakrashi Harmoniums - Tradition & Innovation

PakrashiPakrashi & Co., the Kolkata-based harmonium manufacturer, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Congratulations! The company was founded in 1922 by brothers Sudhir Chandra Pakrashi and Hem Chandra Pakrashi as a workshop for harmoniums and gramophones (!) in the legendary Rash Behari Avenue in Calcutta. India was under British colonial rule and pedal harmoniums for two-handed playing and with foot pedals for air supply were imported from Europe. The Indian hand harmonium, with hand bellows on the back, keyboard played with one hand and seated on the floor, had only been invented in Calcutta at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and was now spreading rapidly throughout India. The Pakrashi brothers were in the right place at the right time. Working with renowned musicians of the time, such as Jnanprakash Ghosh, they further developed the instrument with inventions such as sliding keyboard (scale changer) and folding mechanism, and soon became one of the most important harmonium makers in India. Today, Sudhirs Pakrashi's grandson Suvojit Pakrashi is the third generation to run the business. Pakrashi Harmoniums are part of the India Instruments‘ assortment since 2020.

Pakrashi Premium.
Pakrashi Premium Mini.
Pakrashi Sonderangebote.


German Record Critics' Award - Shujaat Khan on the Longlist

Shujaat KhanFor years, sales of physical recordings have been declining and streaming services have been playing an increasingly important role in music consumption. Despite all this, the various specialist juries for the German Record Critics' Award bravely continue to publish their best lists. The longlist 1/2022 included a renowned Indian musician in the category Traditional Ethnic Music. The Indian-Iranian album This Pale presents arrangements of 6 Rumi ghazals with vocals, sitar, ney and tabla. It features sitarist Shujaat Hussain Khan, son of the legendary Vilayat Khan. Pleasing, meditative flowing melodies in the borderland between Iranian and Indian traditions that Shujaat Khan has already explored on several previous albums.

Longlist 1/2022 of German Record Critics' Award.
Youtube channel with 4 pieces from This Pale and interviews with the musicians.


Hindustani Vinyl - Bollywood-Sounds & Psychedelic at ByteFM

ByteFMSince May 7th the Hamburg based internet radio ByteFMgibt presents a new series with Indian music: Hindustani Vinyl runs every four weeks on Saturdays from 10 to 11 pm. Sitarist Florian Pittner presents a colourful potpourri of Indian and Pakistani curiosities and pop cultural gems - selected treasures from his collection of albums and singles from Northern India and Pakistan. Paying members in the support association "Friends of ByteFM" can listen to the broadcasts in the broadcast archive after the broadcast. ByteFM has been operating since 2008, reaches several 100,000 listeners, does without computer-generated music rotation, sees itself as an advertising-free music-related author radio station, is created by music journalists and musicians, and has received numerous awards.

ByteFM Website.
Hindustani Vinyl YouTube Channel with over 500 tracks.

6. How to Make (Indian) Music? (28) – Finding Peace

- Quote by Ali Akbar Khan -

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

Ali Akbar KhanThe sound is composed in such a way, it heals all kinds of things in your mind, in your body. If you give the right kind of sound, it works for everything. You can live long, it can bring you peace. You don't need to fight. People ask how to find peace. I think this is the only way.

Ali Akbar Khan (1922 - 2009) was one of the most important Indian musicians and music educators of the second half of the 20th century. Quote from: Strings of Melody: Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, documentary directed by Aloke Banerjee and Jaydip Mukherjee, 2011, 2:25.

7. Workshops – June to October

- Scene-Info -

NEU BENTHEN 16.-19.06. Dhrupad Vocal & Instrumental with Carsten Wicke, Sumeet Anand & B.Virágh
BAD MEINBERG 17.-19.06. Harmonium for Beginners with Jürgen Wade
BAD MEINBERG 24.-26.06. Kirtan Jam Session with Sarada Drautzburg
WANGERLAND 26.06-01.07. Harmonium- and Kirtan with Devadas
BAD MEINBERG 01.-03.07. Harmonium for Beginners with Evelyn Fiedermann
BAD MEINBERG 17.-22.07. Harmonium- and Kirtan with Devadas
WANGERLAND 22.-24.07. Harmonium for Beginners with Annette Pritschow
OY-MITTELBERG 14.-19.08. Mantra Singing with Sundaram
OBERLAHR 28.08.-02.09. Kirtan & Harmonium: Yoga Teacher Training with Devadas & Shanti Devi
BAD MEINBERG 23.-25.09. Harmonium Intermediate with Michael Bier
OY-MITTELBERG 07.-09.10. Harmonium for Beginners with Jürgen Wade
BAD MEINBERG 07-.09.07. Indian Dance with Anna Grover
OY-MITTELBERG 14.-16.10. Harmonium Intermediate with Jürgen Wade
BAD MEINBERG 16.-21.10. Harmonium Intensive with Sarada Drautzburg

Details of all workshops are available on our workshop calendar.


8. Concerts – June to August

- Scene-Info -

16.06. F-PARIS: Musiques du Rajasthan et danse Kalbelia
16.06. CH-ZÜRICH: Trio One World - Sitar, Piano, Tabla
16.06. HORN-BAD MEINBERG: Mantra with Sundaram
17.06. CH-TEUFENTHAL: Trio One World - Sitar, Piano, Tabla
17.06. GB-LONDON: Kirpal Panesar - Esraj
18.06. NEU BENTHEN: Carsten Wicke - Rudra Vina
18.06. CH-ST. GALLEN: Trio One World - Sitar, Piano, Tabla
18.06. BERLIN: Rahul Deshpande - Khyal Vocal
18.06. BERLIN: Vijay Krishna - Kirtan
18.06. STUTTGART: Subhankar Chatterjee - Vocal, Vijay Kannan - Bansuri
19.06. F-PARIS: Jérôme Cormier - Dhrupad Vocal
19.06. F-TUBIZE: Joachim Lacrosse - Sitar
19.06. STUTTGART: Subhankar Chatterjee - Vocal, Vijay Kannan - Bansuri
19.06. F-PARIS: Fabrice de Graef - Bansuri
21.06. CH-GENEVA: Emmanuelle Martin - Carnatic Vocal
21.06. GB-SOUTHAMPTON: Indo Jazz Quintet Jonathan Mayer
21.06. BERLIN: Steffen Siegmund - Dhrupad Vocal
22.06. GB-KENT: H.A.Wilson - Piano, Shahbaz Hussain - Tabla
23.06. COLOGNE: Beyond the Roots - World Music
24.06. LOTTSTETTEN: Maharaj Trio - Sarod, Sitar & Tabla
25.06. F-PARIS: Vidyà - Bharatanatyam Dance
25.06. GB-LONDON: Orchestral Qawwali
25.06. BRÜSSOW: Sebastian Dreyer - Sitar
26.06. F-PARIS: Danse Kathak et Mohini Attam
26.06. GB-LONDON: Sanjay Mukherjee - Tabla Solo
26.06. DARMSTADT: Indigo Masala & Kathak Dance
26.06. FREIBURG: Maharaj Trio - Sarod, Sitar & Tabla
28.06. GB-NORWICH: Qalandar Qawwals
30.06. F-PARIS: Durga Arya & Anurekha Ghosh - Kathak Dance
01.07. GB-LONDON: Pallavi Anand - Bharatanatyam Dance
01.07. F-PARIS: Sumeet Anand - Dhrupad Vocal
08.07. A-REITH BEI KITZBÜHEL: Klaus Falschlunger - Sitar
08.07. GB-LLANGOLLEN: Anoushka Shankar - Sitar
08.07. GB-LONDON: Kaviraj Dhadyalla - Santur
09.07. BRAUNSCHWEIG: Tejaswini Sathe - Kathak Dance
09.07. GB-CHELTENHAM: Anoushka Shankar - Sitar
09.07. MANNHEIM: Mantras with Sundaram
12.07. WIESENT: Maharaj Trio - Sarod, Sitar & Tabla
15.07. BERLIN: Indigo Masala & Kathak Dance
16.07. REHNA: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
17.07. GB-LONDON: Reena Srivastava - Sitar
17.07. GB-LEICESTER: Jasdeep Singh Degun - Sitar & Band
22.07. GB-LONDON: Fanna-Fi-Allah - Qawwali
23.07. GB-LONDON: Srekala Bharath - Bharatanatyam Dance
24.07. GB-LONDON: Suranjana Bose - Khyal Vocal
30.07. GB-LONDON: Sampath Kumarachary Daruri - Carnatic Vocal
31.07. GB-LONDON: Abhay Shankar Mishra - Kathak Dance
03.08. CH-SOLOTHURN: Manish Vyas - Mantras
07.08. ANGERMÜNDE: Sebastian Dreyer - Sitar
23.08. COLOGNE: Amjad Ali Khan & Sons - Sarod

Details of all concerts and further dates are available on our concert calendar.


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