Newsletter January / February / March 2020


1. Mantras and Kirtan - Inclusion and Happiness
2. Harmoniums – Extraordinary Look & Easy Travelling
3. Special Offers - Drums, Tablas, Flutes & More
4. Species Protection - Rosewood Allowed Again for Musical Instruments
5. Brief News: Digital Simulations, End for Conchord Guitars?
6. How to Make (Indian) Music? (22) – Combinations and Permutations
7. Workshops - March to May
8. Concerts - March to April


1. Mantras and Kirtan – Inclusion and Happiness
- Feature by Yogendra -

When the first Krishna devotees chanted mantras in European pedestrian zones in the 1960s and 70s, they were still considered disturbed lunatics or dangerous cult victims. Today there are mantra singing circles in many European cities. Chanting events with stars of the mantra circuit fill large halls. The separation between performers and audience gets blurred in chanting: everyone sings along and contributes to the event with his/her commitment. Nobody has to read notations, hit notes or keep the rhythm. Even supposedly unmusical people can join in, open their hearts and free themselves. A hypnotic effect develops, the breath deepens, the body pulsates, everyday thoughts vanish, time seems to stand still. In this way many participants find deep relaxation, inner peace, healing and their very own way through chanting.

https://theharekrishnamovement.files.wordpress.comMantra chanting in call and response as a spiritual practice, called kirtan in India, goes back to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the 16th century, he started chanting the sacred mantra syllables in Indian streets and squares, and everyone was invited to join. Before that only caste Hindus were allowed to utter the holy mantras. Chaitanya's idea of total inclusion and immersion was revolutionary and has lost none of its power to this day.

Mantra singing first got popular in the West in the late 1960s. Indian wisdom and spirituality became fashionable in pop culture. Sitar music was suddenly as much in demand as Indian gurus and the Hare Krishna mantra, which even made it into the English charts in 1969. This India wave remained a short-lived fashion, but the seed was sown - and on the threshold of the new millennium it sprouted. 1997 saw the release of Chants of India, a colourful mix of traditional mantras, set to music by sitar master and world music icon Ravi Shankar and produced by George Harrison. Between 1996 and 2000 the first albums of Deva Premal, Krishna Das and Snatam Kaur, pioneers of the current mantra movement, were released. Hailing from North America or Europe, they all have first adopted the traditions of their Indian gurus - and later on changed them decisively. The originally monophonic mantras were discreetly filled with chords, all too strange Indian scales and rhythms disappeared, and refined instrumental arrangements provided captivating soundscapes. Thus mantra music was transformed from a strange exoticism with a cult aura to a western wellness product.

www.jaiuttal.comToday's mantra movement is carried by the ever swelling yoga wave: many yoga styles warmly recommend mantra chanting for health care and as a spiritual practice. There are mantra singing circles in more and more cities. Mantra concerts are attractive highlights of a growing number of yoga festivals. In Europe's largest yoga centre in Bad Meinberg there is an annual festival dedicated mainly to mantra music. Specialised organisers such as Universal Sounds in Zurich organise mantra concerts on a large scale. The German-born Deva Premal has sold more than one million records worldwide. And in the documentary Mantra - Sounds into Silence, which has been screend in many cinemas since 2018, the chanting scene celebrates itself.

The musical spectrum of mantra musicians today is broad. While some stay close to Indian traditions, others use style elements of rock and pop, funk, rap or techno at will. There are no longer any boundaries regarding lyrics either - instead of Indian mantras or in addition to them, many also sing chants from Tibet, Africa or Christianity. Purists therefore complain about westernisation and commercialisation. But if only one troubled and burdened human soul finds a ray of light through chanting, it has probably fulfilled its purpose.

Video: Ecstatic Vrindavan Kirtan mit den Kirtaniyas at India Instruments‘ anniversary festival 2019.
Contact list for chanting groups and festivals with kirtan in Europe.

2. Harmoniums – Extraordinary Look & Easy Travelling
- New in our assortment -

- Harmonium Tirupati Standard OM white

Harmonium Tirupati Standard OM weiß

Looking for a harmonium that stands out from the usual brown wood colours? Here it is! White lacquer, red fabric, silver fittings and the carved OM symbol create a very special look. According to the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, the colour white is said to calm the mind, strengthen the aura and enhance consciousness. White embodies the light that protects us from negative influences. In the West white symbolises purity and innocence. For spiritual practitioners these can be good reasons to choose a white harmonium. Musically this model leaves hardly anything to be desired. Double reeds give the Tirupati Standard OM white a full, warm, rich sound. The octave coupler provides special brilliance and radiance when needed. The range of 3 ½ octaves gives full scope of musical possibilities. And the inner bellows gives a very good sustain due to its large size and soft spring setup. A good instrument for people with demands beyond the basic requirements.
Tirupati Standard OM white: 629 € - full details here.


- Harmonium Tirupati Basic Pro

Harmonium Tirupati Basic pro

Our new Tirupati Basic Pro is a particularly simple, small, light, robust and inexpensive harmonium with a warm, rich sound. It's a perfect second instrument for teaching, workshops and rehearsals and a great mobile accompaniment for frequent travellers. The Tirupati Basic Pro, just like almost all common harmonium models, has two sets of reeds for sound production in bass and male register. They make it sound similarly rich, warm and full as other harmoniums. Despite its small size, it is relatively easy to play simple chords evenly without getting disturbing volume fluctuations, or to produce softer notes. The absence of all non-essential extras makes this harmonium surprisingly light - it weighs only 4.7 kg! Thanks to the very simple construction without any frills, the Tirupati Basic Pro is also particularly robust. All this makes it a perfect companion for mobile people who usually have to carry the instrument by themselves. It offers little scope for higher artistic ambitions, though.
Tirupati Basic Pro: 439 € - full details here.


3. Special Offers – Drums, Tablas, Flutes & More
- Company Info -


Drums, tablas and bamboo flutes are currently the focus of our special offers section. We offer bamboo flutes from American bansuri maker Jeff Whittier and from the collections of flutists Charly Wintermeyer and Joachim Huebner. The spectrum ranges from large and low with SA = c#' to small and high with SA = c'', with a price range of 69 - 149 €.


Our selection of tablas is currently particularly large. Apart from complete sets for beginners to professionals from 249 - 549 €, we have various single bayas from 189 - 279 € and single tablas from 119 - 179 €, including especially small and light instruments for travelling. Great for assembling your own individual set! A unique speciality is a TransTabla from the USA with a patented clamping mechanism in the base for fast and reliable retuning - new price around 1000 US$, with us only 389 €!


We also offer a wide range of drums and percussion. A real bargain is the classic South Indian mridangam for 150 €. For kirtan and chanting we offer khols / mridangas from 269 - 369 €, including two with unbreakable brass bodies. And for ceramic percussion we offer a new ghatam for 109 € and a ghumat with skin covering for 119 € - a real rarity.

We also have fine sitars (including a left-hander!), tanpura, harmonium, electrical devices, cases and bags. So have a look and rummage! Thanks to the 14-day right of return, you can try out instruments at home easily and comfortably when ordering. Ideal is the direct comparison including personal advice in our shop. Please call +49-30-6211724 to arrange an appointment!

Overview of all special offers here  - please click the items for full details.


4. Species Protection – Rosewood Allowed Again for Musical Instruments
- Background Info -


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES, is a continually updated international treaty designed to protect endangered animal and plant species by imposing graduated restrictions on global trade. CITES regulates not only trade in whole animals and plants, but also in their parts and in products made from them. This also applies to trade in musical instruments. Kanjeeras, for example, the small South Indian frame drums, which used to be strung with skin of the Bengal monitor lizard, have not been allowed to be sold with the traditional lizard skin for many years. Therefore kanjeeras are mostly covered with goat skin or synthetic membranes today. And Rio rosewood, once very popular in guitar making, has had to be replaced by other woods for decades.


On January 2nd, 2017 CITES put into force obligations for proof and approval for all rosewood species (Latin botanical name: dalbergia). The new bureaucratic requirements came as a relative surprise to most instrument makers and resulted in instrument shipments containing rosewood parts being returned at customs borders and supply chains being interrupted. Export and import licences had to be applied for in no time, proof of procurement had to be provided for stocks already held before the deadline, and replacement woods had to be procured. Musicians suddenly had to obtain a permit when buying or selling instruments with rosewood parts across customs borders - or had to prove that the instrument had been purchased before 2017. And for travel with rosewood instruments, it was recommended that official proof of purchase be taken along.



The Indian hardwood sheesham belongs to the rosewood family, too. It is traditionally used for  high-quality tabla bodies and for pegs of string instruments. It soon became clear to us and the small workshops and exporters who supply us that we could not handle the extensive documentation requirements for each individual sheesham instrument. Therefore, we had sheesham in our assortment replaced by other suitable hardwoods as soon as possible.

Because of the enormous problems, associations of instrument makers and musicians from all over the world have massively opposed the 2017 CITES regulations. The arguments: Species protection is legitimate and important, but rosewood used for musical instruments only accounts for a negligible proportion of global consumption. Musical instruments with decades or even centuries of use are extremely durable products and are constantly being transported back and forth across customs borders by internationally performing musicians. The huge administrative and control effort is not in any reasonable proportion to the benefit achieved. It would be more effective to regulate the export of rosewood as a raw material from the countries of origin. The lobbying work was successful: The 18th CITES conference in August 2019 decided to once again allow the traffic of musical instruments and instrument parts made of rosewood without restrictions, as of end of November 2019. Products with a rosewood content of maximum 500 grams as well as leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds were allowed again, too. The complete release of rosewood trade, proposed by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, was rejected though..

Is this a victory of reason? Or the defeat of conservationists by influential lobbyists? In any case, it shows three things: Species protection issues today have far-reaching consequences in many areas. Measures for species protection must be politically negotiated in order to find acceptance. And regulations must be adapted again and again to achieve the desired effect as effectively as possible. For India Instruments this means: We trust in the expertise of the CITES conference and will again order sheesham tablas and string instruments with sheesham pegs from our Indian partners with a clear conscience.

CITES Website.
Proposal musical instruments CITES conference August 2019.
Decisions of CITES conference August 2019 by species.


5. Brief News: Digital Simulations, End for Conchord Guitars?
- Miscellaneous -

- Bhabasindhu Biswas Deceased - End for Conchord Slide Guitars?


The great Bengali guitar maker Bhabasindhu Biswas passed away in a hospital in Calcutta on February 3rd. His state of health had deteriorated over the last years, so that he had to be put into a nursing home since the beginning of January. Bhabasindhu Biswas with his brand Concord / Conchord was considered the leading master in building Indian slide guitars. His modified archtop slide guitar, created for Grammy winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, has become widely known as Mohan Veena. He materialised ideas of virtuoso Debashish Bhattacharya into three novel slide guitars called Chaturangui, Gandharvi and Anandi. Unlike his world-famous customers, Bhabasindhu Biswas always kept quietly in the background and concentrated entirely on his workshop. When his own capacities dwindled due to his deteriorating health, his employed craftsmen took over the ongoing work step by step. It is said that the Conchord brand might therefore be continued in its renowned high quality even after Bhabasindhu's death.

Photo story about Bhabasindhu Biswas from 2017.

- Digital Simulation of Indian Instruments – Strengths and Limitations


Almost all the music we hear from loudspeakers is largely made up of digitally produced sounds. Simulations of Indian instruments are also a matter of course today. Good apps with tanpura simulations are now of such high quality that even traditional dhrupad musicians use them - in teaching as well as in concerts. And tala apps have become indispensable when practicing classical Indian music. Despite great progress, however, there are probably no products (yet) suitable for everyday use that simulate instruments such as the sitar or tabla so well as to produce an authentic sound. This is shown, for example, by the soundlibrary India of the Berlin based company Native Instruments, a leading provider of digital simulations of traditional instruments from all over the world. It is fine for playing with creative ideas and for adding an Indian flavour to film and game music or in the pop sector. But anyone who has ever experienced the sheer sonic beauty of a well-tuned and professionally played sitar or tabla will hardly be satisfied with their current simulations.

Song production with India by Native Instruments.
Produkt presentation India by Native Instruments.


6. How to Male (Indian) Music? (22) – Combinations and Permutations
- Quote by Zakir Hussain -

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

EuroIn India, when we are learning our music tradition, we are simultaneously learning how to disassemble and assemble it in various combinations and permutations. In that process we are learning to be improvisers, so that your personal input becomes the prime mover of the music that you are playing. That's what makes the music so interesting and fun and so personal. When my father was teaching me he wouldn't give me the whole composition. He would give me a phrase and say: I want you to be able to give me 20 permutation combinations of this one phrase. It may be 5 notes or 8 syllables or whatever, and I would have to do that. And then he would say: Take this phrase and do it in reverse, do it upside down, all sorts of stuff like that. That was the process that we learnt with.


Zakir Hussain (*1951) learnt tabla from his father Alla Rakha from childhood. In 1970 he moved to the USA, where he broadened his horizons in interaction with musicians from various genres and traditions, and thus became the most stylistically influential and creative tabla player of his generation. Edited quote from Kronos Fifty for the Future Composer Interview,  11:10 - 13:15

7. Workshops – March  to Mai
- Scene Info -

Details of all workshops are available in our website's network section.

06.-08.03. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium Basics with Katyayani
07.03. CH-WINTERTHUR: Harmonium Intensive with Manish Vyas
23.03. CH-SCHWARZENBACH: Harmonium with Manish Vyas
26.03. MARKTOBERDORF: Konnakol - Door Opener to Rhythm with Magnus Dauner
27.-29.03. BAD MEINBERG: Nada, Nadis and Chakras with Anne-Careen Engel
29.03. MANNHEIM: Harmonium Basics with Evelyn
12.04. HAMBURG: Persian and Afghan Micro Tonality
19.04. DARMSTADT: Harmonium with Gaiatrees
25.04. CH-BIEL / BIENNE: Harmonium Basics with Andreas Reese
26.04. CH-BIEL / BIENNE: Harmonium Advanced with Andreas Reese
08.-10.05. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium Advanced with Jürgen Wade
10.05. CH-BIEL/BIENNE: Harmonium & Nada Yoga with Andreas Reese
10.-17.05. BAD MEINBERG: Chakras in Nada Yoga with Anne-Careen Engel
16.05. MANNHEIM: Harmonium Basics with Evelyn
17.-22.05. WANGERLAND: Harmonium- and Kirtan Week with Devadas
22.-23.05. BAD MEINBERG: Music Festival with various Workshops
25.-29.05. POTSDAM: Sitar Intensive with Partha Chatterjee
27.-29.05. WESTERWALD: Harmonium Basics with Devadas
29.05.-01.06. NL-AMSTERDAM: Kirtan Training with Kirtaniyas

8. Concerts – March to April
- Scene Info -

For details, locations, time and further dates check our concert calendar.

06.3. JÜLICH: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
06.3. F-PARIS: Shakuntala - Bharatnatyam
06.3. A-WIEN: Klaus Falschlunger - Sitar
06.3. F-MONTAUROUX: Nicolas Delaigue - Sitar
07.3. F-NICE: Nicolas Delaigue - Sitar
07.3. KEMPEN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
07.3. A-ZWETTL: Klaus Falschlunger - Sitar
08.3. A-GOLDEGG: Klaus Falschlunger - Sitar
08.3. F-ANTIBES: Nicolas Delaigue - Sitar
10.3. F-PARIS: Eleonore Genelle - Odissi dance
12.3. HAMBURG: Julia Crüsemann - Kirtan
12.3. GELSENKIRCHEN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
13.3. UK-SHEFFIELD: Arjun Baba - Kirtan
13.3. UK-LONDON: Sitar Gayaki - Tribute to Vilayat Khan
13.3. DRESDEN: Atmadhvani - Musik & Tanz
14.3. BERLIN: Prabhat Rao - Khyal Vocal
14.3. SCHWEINFURT: Prema Hara - Kirtan
14.3. P-LISBOA: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
14.3. DK-COPENHAGEN: Debashish Bhattacharya - Slide Guitar
16.3. A-WIEN: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
18.3. BERLIN: Basant Reetu - Sitar
18.3. NL-AMSTERDAM: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
19.3. F-PARIS: Srinidhi Raghavan - Bharatnatyam
19.3. PL-SZCZECIN: Debashish Bhattacharya - Slide Guitar
20.3. HÜRTH: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
21.3. CH-ZURICH: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
21.3. UK-LONDON: Anjali Odissi Festival
21.3. B-MAZY: Sitardust - sitar, perc & sax
21.3. A-INNSBRUCK: Satyaa & Pari - Mantras
21.3. POTSDAM: Sebastian Dreyer - Sitar
21.3. CH-BASEL: Srinivas Joshi - Khyal Vocal
21.3. PL-BYDGOSZCZ: Debashish Bhattacharya - Slide Guitar
22.3. BAD HERRENALB: Supratik Sengupta - Sitar
22.3. UK-LONDON: Krishnaa by Abhinava Dance Company
22.3. ROSENHEIM: Satyaa & Pari - Mantras
23.3. MANNHEIM: Kirtan Projekt Mannheim
23.3. BERLIN: Ranajit Sengupta - Sarod
25.3. SK-BRATISLAVA: Snatam Kaur – Mantras
26.3. F-PARIS: Nancy Boissel-Cormier - Bharatnatyam
26.3. BERLIN: Vidhya Subramanian - Bharatnatyam
27.3. CZ-PRAGUE: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
28.3. CH-SCHWYZ: Prema Hara - Kirtan
28.3. CH-BADEN: Vijaya Rao - Bharatnatyam Tanz
28.3. UK-LONDON: Kushal Das - Sitar
28.3. REGENSBURG: Satyaa & Pari - Mantras
29.3. UK-LONDON: Balu & Subathra Raguraman - Violin & Vina
30.3. BERLIN: Rafiq Ahmed - Sarangi
31.3. RO-BUCURESTI: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
02.4. FELLBACH: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
03.4. UK-LONDON: Chandra Chakraborty - Vocal
03.4. HAMBURG: Ensemble Safar - Afghanistan
04.4. F-PARIS: Chhau Acharya Nrutya Bichitra Centre
04.4. TR-ISTANBUL: Prem Joshua - SitarFusion
04.4. E-BARCELONA: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
04.4. DRESDEN: Atmadhvani - Musik & Tanz
05.4. HEIDELBERG: Heidelberg Kirtan Project
07.4. UK-LONDON: Anoushka Shankar - Sitar
07.4. F-PARIS: Denis Teste - Sitar
07.4. BERLIN: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
09.4. SIEGBURG: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
11.4. DK-COPENHAGEN: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
13.4. HAMBURG: Ensemble Safar - Afghanistan
13.4. EE-TALLINN: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
14.4. SPIEKEROOG: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
17.4. LÜNEBURG: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
17.4. DARMSTADT: Prema Hara - Kirtan
17.4. UA-KYIV: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
17.4. HEIDELBERG: Yogendra - Sitar
18.4. LUDWIGSHAFEN: Yogendra - Sitar
18.4. UK-LONDON: Bengali New Year Celebration
18.4. DARMSTADT: Gaiatrees & Petros: Kirtan
19.4. MANNHEIM: Kirtan Projekt Mannheim
19.4. A-WIEN: Dave Stringer - Kirtan
19.4. B-BRUSSEL: Snatam Kaur - Mantras
21.4. UK-LONDON: Shakir Khan - Sitar
22.4. UK-LONDON: Anoushka Shankar - Sitar
22.4. UK-LONDON: Bombay Jayashri – Carnatic Vocal
23.4. HAMBURG: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
23.4. F-PARIS: Isabelle Anna - Kathak dance
24.4. F-PARIS: Cécile Gordon - Kalarippayat dance
24.4. KASSEL: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
24.4. HANNOVER: Yogendra - Sitar
25.4. CH-BASEL: Satya & Pari - Kirtan
25.4. F-PARIS: Mahina Khanum - Odissi dance
25.4. UK-LIVERPOOL: Hindustani Classical Music
25.4. CH-ZURICH: Prema Hara - Kirtan
25.4. HEIDELBERG: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
25.4. CH-BASEL: Satyaa & Pari - Mantras
25.4. POTSDAM: Manickam Yogeswaran - Vocal
26.4. F-PARIS: Annie Rumani - Kathak dance
26.4. NIENBURG-STAFFHORST: Yogendra - Sitar
28.4. F-PARIS: Kalpana - Bharatnatyam
29.4. F-PARIS: Sylvie Le Secq - Indian dance
29.4. F-PARIS: Mohini Attam - Indian dance
30.4. F-PARIS: Angela Sterzer - Manipur dance
01.5. DRESDEN: Anoushka Shankar - Sitar

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