Newsletter January / February 2012

1. Harmonium Paloma Companion
- New in our Assortment -

Due to its light weight and small dimensions, our new harmonium model Paloma Companion is the perfect support for mantras and kirtans on the road and at home - light, compact, sturdy, comfortable to use and yet a full harmonium with a warm, round sound. The small size is achieved by a reduced melodic range - without any cumbersome and delicate folding mechanisms.

The Paloma Companion is the ideal accompaniment for all those who appreciate high quality, but consider the Paloma premium and the Paloma Compactina too big, too heavy or too expensive. The 27 keys give a range of 2 1/4 octaves from g to a, and thus cover the melodic range of almost all commonly used mantras and kirtans. High quality double reeds provide good response and a warm, full sound. The typical mat surface in natural wood, so typical for our Paloma harmoniums, pleases eye and hand alike and gives the instrument a very natural, organic feel.

The precise manufacture ensures good fluency and dynamics of the keyboard and long-term tightness of the air chambers. Inherently, the inner bellows of the Paloma Companion are considerably smaller than those in normal-sized harmoniums, whichgives the Companion a slightly shorter "breath". Therefore a little more pumping of the outer bellows is required for playing chords or producing a high volume.

The Paloma Companion is now available from us for 490.- Euros (plus 14.90 Euros shipping within Europe).

For more information check our website

2. Bags for Sitars & Bansuris
- New in our Assortment -

Good news for all flute players: We now also carry special bags for bansuris! The bags have a rigid plastic tube inside and are covered with a sturdy nylon fabric with handle / shoulder strap on the outside. The inner tube can accommodate several bansuris side by side. The exact number depends on the diameter of the bansuris. If the bansuris are moving inside the inner tube, they should be fixed with some kind of padding. Right now we have the bansuri bags in lengths of 78 cm, 81 cm and 91 cm. The price is 29.- Euros (plus 14.90 Euros shipping within Europe), irrespectiveof the length.
For more information check our website

There are new gig bags for sitar players as well. They come with an extra thick padding and are available as single-tumba bag (without upper resonator) for 119.- Euros or as double-tumba bag (with space for upper resonator) for 129.- Euros (plus 14.90 shipping within Europe). They are priced roughly at the same level as a simple cardboard box. However, compared to the cardboard boxes, they are more durable, lighter and easier to carry. The extra padded sitar bags are therefore an ideal solution for those who are often traveling with the instrument in their own hands. The cheaper, almost unpadded sitar bags that we had offered before, are not available from us anymore because they give too little protection for the instruments.

3. RiyazStudio Software
- Update Info -

RiyazStudio, the increasingly popular tabla, tanpura and drone software, offers some new extensions. In addition to the previous talas Teental, Ektal, Rupaktal, Jhaptal, Addhatal (Sitarkhani / Punjabi), Keherwa, Dadra, Deepchandi and Jhoomra, it now includes Ada Chautal, Mattatal, Tilwada and Soolfakta. All talas are recorded live on tabla and not assembled from individual samples. And as a special bonus, there is also Chautal and Dhammar now, played by Manik Munde on pakhawaj. Anyone already owning a registration code for RiyazStudio can download the new talas as a free upgrade: . And for those who buy RiyazStudio new only now, the new talas are included automatically.

Also brand new is a tanpura upgrade, that can replace loops in the fixed RiyazStudio tanpura as an optional add-on or can be used separately. The tanpura upgrade offers many options - different combinations of notes and rhythms, different tanpura sizes, doubling with a high tanpura, adjustments for harmonics, bass, variable intonation for notes like Ni (seventh) or Re (second) and for bridges, velocity and attack characteristics. With all these features you can generate quite different fascinating tanpura sounds, each one creating its own atmosphere and thus giving maximum support to the unique character of the various ragas. The basic functions of the tanpura upgrades are integrated into the current version of RiyazStudio and can be downloaded for free by owners of registration codes on the link given above. The use of all new tanpura features requires a paid upgrade, though. The upgrade is available from us for 29,- Euros.

For more details check

4. Tabla Machines, Cases, Sitars, etc.
- Special Offers -

The inventory work at the end of last year has revealed quite a few items in the more remote corners of our store that we do not offer in our regular assortment on the internet: 2nd-hand instruments, samples, remnants, etc.. By now we have photographed and described all these things and posted them in the special offer section of our website. We have also re-designed this section and and grouped related instruments together, so that you can find more easily what you are looking for.

Currently there are e.g.
- tabla machines and tanpura cases at half price
- sitars from 290.- to 1,590.- Euros
- the mint electronic instrument Mridanga Talam
- a wide variety of stringed and plucked instruments and percussion

Take a look into our treasure chamber at Special Offers! More detailed information and additional images are available by clicking on the maroon title of each item.

5. India Instruments - Review 2011
- Company info -

2011 was another good year for India Instruments in many ways. A sincere thank you to all our customers and friends who helped us with purchases, recommendations, feedback, information and volunteer help!

The increased sale of harmoniums and shrutiboxes, also through our distribution partners, has played a special role. It seems to be a result of the slowly but steadily growing interest in yoga in Central Europe. The harmonium is simply indispensable from the recitation and chanting of mantras and bhajans in traditional yoga. And India Instruments has apparently won the trust of many yogis with high quality, great assortment, expert advice, reliability and good service. We are very pleased about that!

The continuos growth in sales has also required an expansion of our business premises. In addition to the existing exhibition and storage rooms we now have a special room for packing instruments for shipping and a workshop for servicing, repairs and restorations in Berlin. Both rooms also give us additional storage space for instruments. We want to use these facilities in the future to always have enough stock for immediate delivery of all common instruments. We think that you deserve getting what you need from us immediately, without having to wait for weeks or months for new shipments from India.

At mid-year there was also a small change in staff. Our CEO Norbert Klippenstein is now supported regularly again by company founder Yogendra. While Norbert keeps runningthe Berlin store, answering calls, receiving customers, organising instrument delivery and dispatch as well as managing payments, taxes and accounting, Yogendra takes care of daily e-mail traffic, the newsletter and various background work. This division gives us more flexibility, reliability and speed in completing the necessary tasks. And we hope that all our customers and friends will benefit from it.

We hope for your continuing support in 2012 and we wish you joy, health and happiness!

6. The Voice of the Sarangi - Sultan Khan
- Orbituary by Yogendra -

The wonderful singer and sarangi maestro Sultan Khan passed away on November 27th at the age of 71 after prolonged illness. With his enormous versatility and his double talent both as an instrumentalist and as a singer he has been THE voice of the sarangi in the past few decades. For his services to music, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award twice and was awarded the third highest Indian civilian order Padma Bhushan in 2010.

Sultan Khan was born in 1940 into a musical family in the small princedom Sikhar near Jaipur. He learnt sarangi from an early age with his father, Gulab Khan. Later on, he deepened his knowledge with the great singer Amir Khan. His first major public appearance was at age eleven at an All India Music Conference. At 20 he began his career with All India Radio, Rajkot (Gujarat). There he had the opportunity to accompany legendary Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar a few years later. This meeting opened the doors to Mumbai for Sultan Khan, where he initially continued to work for All India Radio, but soon also earned an excellent reputation in the classical music scene as well as in Bollywood circles. Sultan Khan eventually became known internationally in 1974 on George Harrison's Dark Horse Tour, where he was heard as a member of a group of Indian musicians under the direction of Ravi Shankar.

His humble and friendly nature and his musical versatility and flexibility made Sultan Khan a very successful classical singing accompanist. He played, among others, with Amir Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Omkarnath Thakur, Salamat & Nazakat Ali Khan and Kishori Amonkar. A special friendship connected him with Zakir Hussain, with whom he shared many concerts and recordings - each one consisting of a tabla solo with sarangi accompaniment and a sarangi solo with tabla accompaniment. He also published numerous classical solo recordings in his own name.

His total openness led Sultan Khan also far beyond the boundaries of classical Indian music. His sarangi and his voice can be heard in numerous successful Bollywood soundtracks from the 1990s and 2000s. He has also been involved in majorWestern film productions (including Gandhi and Heat and Dust). And finally, he has also played together with all kinds of different musicians from around the worldin the contemporary world music scene. The most famous of his world music projects is probably Tabla Beat Science with Zakir Hussain and American bass player Bill Laswell.

Numerous recordings of Sultan Khan are available here

7. Sound Trance - Man-Music-Awareness
- Training with Dr. Peter Hess -

A two-year psychotherapeutic training in sound trance music is going to begin in March, offered by renowned neurologist, psychiatrist and music therapist Dr. Peter Hess (not to be confused with the eponymous representative of sound massage with singing bowls) to. Amongst many other subjects, the training will also deal with the use of many Indian instruments like tanpura, tabla, swarmandal, shrutibox, harmonium and flute. Even basic principles of various ragas and talas will be playing a role. Thanks to the structure of 12 self-contained modules, the sound trance training can not only be done as a whole, but it is also possible to participate in individual modules.

In Indian classical music, unlike in Western classical music, a lot of elements and bridges to archaic archetypes are still alive, according to Dr. Peter Hess. The aim of sound trance and its therapeutic use is to move back to the origins of human evolution with the help ofinstruments rich in overtones and principles of basic sounds and rhythms, and to re-integrate this experience into our present time. All humans go through similar experiences in the mother's womb, irrespective of caste, creed or culture. Therefore humans have developed similar instruments for communication and rituals, healing ceremonies and spiritual practicesin all parts of the world in the early stages of human history. Today's highly developed art music with its demand for perfection has separated most people from these origins and left the field to professional musicians and marketing strategists.

The training is addressed to people, who are looking for a deeper access to their own (spiritual) music practice and / or who want to use this deep approach in their therapeutic work. It will also help answering questions like: How can I integrate my Indian music pratice better into our Western civilization? How do I reach my audience better? How do I create a good setting for concerts, seminars and healing ceremonies? Do I have to believe in Indian deities in order to play certain ragas or talas? How do I find my own music?

For more detailed information in German, module topics, dates and prices see

8. Concerts - February / March
- Scene Info -

Winter is high season for concerts in India - many Indian musicians are on the road there now. Hence there are relatively few events on our concert calendar in the next two months. For more detailed information and additional dates for 2012 see our
concert calendar

10.2. PARIS (F): Meenakshi Srinivasan - Bharata Natyam dance
11.2. PARIS (F): Meenakshi Srinivasan - Bharata Natyam dance
26.2. UTRECHT (NL): Bahauddin Dagar - Rudra Vina
8.3. LÜBECK: INDIGO MASALA - Acoustic Asian World Fusion
9.3. BERLIN: INDIGO MASALA - Acoustic Asian World Fusion
10.3. BERLIN: Amelia Cuni - dhrupad singing
23.3. VIENNA: Rina Chandra - Bansuri

9. Indian Classical Music (1) - Colouring the Mind
- Background Series by Yogendra -

Indian classical music and its instruments are the basis for the work of India Instruments. But what's so special about this tradition? In a 7-part series, we are giving an introduction for beginners.

Indian classical music (1) - Spirituality: Colouring the mind
Nada Brahma - "God is vibration" or "the world is sound" - is a central concept of ancient Indian philosophy. The view that the fabric of the cosmos is an interactive dance of finest vibrations is already expressed in the Natya Shastra, a basic work of Indian art theory, written probably between 200 BC and 200 AD- and is now impressively confirmed by modern physics.

Audible and inaudible vibrations
The finest vibrations, Anahata Nada ("unstruck vibration") can only be experienced within in deep meditation after many years of practice, according to the tradition. The audible sounds, Ahata Nada ("struck vibration"), provide easier access to the vibrational level. Music is Nada as well, and so man can get an awareness of his embeddedness in the fabric of the cosmos throughmusical experience - no matter whether he is an active musician or simply a listener.

Emotions as a gateway to the essence
According to the Natya Shastra, all human emotions can be traced back to eight essential emotional qualities: love, joy, pity, terror, courage, fear, disgust and surprise. In everyday life we go through these emotions continuosly in different mixtures. But when an essential emotion is expressed in music, it is possible to experience it without personal involvement in its pure form. Through this experience, called Rasa (literally "juice" or "essence"), the usual identification with our individual personality can be loosened and we can get access to transpersonal bliss. In this process it does not matter whether the Rasa is a "pleasant" (e.g, joy) or an "unpleasant" (e.g. disgust) one - if the experience touches upon the essence, each rasa has the transforming power of dissolving our limited everyday self and merging us with the larger whole.

The power of the raga
The key to the mystical experience of unity in Indian music is called Raga. A well-known definition of Raga says, it is "that which colours the mind". In the classical music traditions of North and South India, there are hundreds of ragas. Many of them are known to music lovers in general, but some are passed on only in oral tradition from student to teacher. Each raga has a distinctiveunique melodic shape that is clearly recognisable for the initiated. This melodic shape is formed by an elaborate set of rules that specifies for each raga exactly, which notes can be played in upwards and downwards movements, where to start or finish a melody line, what ornaments are used, which notes are strong or weak, or completely forbidden, etc etc. If all these rules are followed and if the performer succeeds in deeply tuning in to the specific character of the selected Raga, if the time and place are chosen correctly as well, then a Raga performance can become a mystical experience. Under special circumstances, a Raga may even influence the forces of nature in a magical way: The Mallik family of musicians reports that their ancestors ended a dangerous drought and thus averted a famine in Darbhanga in 1788, simply by singing a monsoon Raga that caused heavy rainfalls totally out of the blue.

From silence to ecstasy
Colouring the mind with Rasa takes time - one hour for the performance of a single Raga is quite common. First, the stringed instrument tanpura, played continuosly throughout the whole performance, creates a shimmering tapestry of drone sound. This drone is the reference for musicians and listeners alike, and the foundation for building the Raga. Then the first melody notes are played or sung, initially slowly and meditatively, phrase by phrase exploring the shape of the Raga, becoming more complex and expansive over time, always revealing new details. The Raga builds up, a pulsating rhythm is established, the movements get faster, longer and more vigorous. And at last the percussion joins in, initially in majestic slow pace in wide circular arcs, but gradually becoming more lively and expressive, going into spontaneous dialogues between melody and rhythm, spinning faster and faster, more and more virtuosic and dynamic, until finally, in a brilliant fireworks, a whirling ecstatic climax is reached and the music ends.

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