Newsletter July / August 2014


1. Khol on the Road - Bags & Cases
2. World Music - Pulsar Trio wins Creole
3. Yoga & Music at the Feet of the Himalayas (1/3): Bansuri in Rishikesh
4. Sitar Fusion from Germanistan (5/6) - Klaus Falschlunger
5. Restricted Service - August
6. Workshops - August to October
7. Concerts - August / September


1. Khol on the Road - Bags & Cases
- New Items -

Khol Carry Bag The sound of a traditional khol with a body made of clay (hence also called mridanga) is unique - and perfect for the accompaniment of kirtan. The bright-sounding bell of the narrow side can still be heard clearly when a large group is singing in excited ecstasy. And the pulsating bass sends irresistable vibrations through body and mind. However, a clay body is very fragile. Even small shocks can cause tiny cracks and finish off the unique sound. Carrying a clay khol around is therefore always risky.

Khol Fiberglas Case India Instruments now has two solutions for this problem. Our padded carrying bags for khol are ideal for everyday use. The padding dampens shocks, giving the sensitive body a certain amount of protection. Thanks to the low weight of the bags, you can still carry the khol comfortably in one hand or over the shoulder. Inside the bag, the instrument is also protected from dirt and climate fluctuations.

For extensive travels or concert tours, however, our fiberglass cases for khols are just the thing. They offer perfect protection from shocks and thus allow you to hand over a precious khol to others for transport with a good feeling.


  • Padded carrying bag for khol: 39.- Euros (plus 9.90 Euros shipping within Europe)

  • Fibreglass case for khol: 89.- Euros (plus 19.90 Euros shipping within Europe)

An overview of our bags and cases is available here.


2. World Music - Pulsar Trio wins Creole
- Background Report by Yogendra -

Languages that arise from a mixture of different languages are called creole. Creole - Globale Musik is a German competition held since 2006. It is open for bands in the wide range of popular music who cross borders, work on transcultural connections and are dedicated to intercultural encounters. The sponsors of Creole want to promote global sounds in and from Germany. Several regional competitions serve as preliminary decisions. The winners of the regional competitions qualify for the national competition that is held every two or three years. Only two bands with Indian instruments had made it into the three national competitions held so far: Indigo Masala with sitar, tabla and cello at the premiere in Dortmund in 2007, and the (no longer active) 1k System with keyboard, drums, percussion, bansuri, trumpet, sitar and vocals in 2011. On the first weekend in July, the fourth national competition took place on three days as part of TFF Folk Roots World Music Festival in Rudolstadt, the largest world music festival in Germany. In glorious summer weather, two of the 13 participating bands worked with Indian elements: Rishaba and Pulsar Trio...

Rishaba is a project of Rikhi Ray, a guitarist, composer and producer living in Frankfurt and Chennai. He has been involved with Indian music since the 1980s, studying sarod with Amjad Ali Khan and playing with South Indian percussionists such as Vikku Vinayakram, Selva Ganesh and Sivamani. His specialty is a guitar modified for the requirements of South Indian classical music, which he calls Vajra Vina. For Rishaba, Rikhi Ray works primarily on the synthesizer, using lounge sounds and samples of South Indian percussion, and plays together with saxophonist Bastian Fiebig. Rishaba's performance is visually enhanced by classical Indian Bharatanatyam dancer Shany Mathew. Kerala lounge is what they call their music. Rishaba's performance at Creole regional competition Hesse in 2013 is available here. Further information on Rikhy Ray's many other projects is available here.

Pulsar Trio I have already written extensively on Pulsar Trio in our newsletter November / December 2013 , to kick off the series Sitar Fusion from Germanistan. The band with Matyas Wolter on sitar, Beate Wein on piano and Aaron Christ on drums was founded in 2007 and plays exclusively own compositions. The powerful and vibrant piano and grooving drums are driving the music. The sitar brings in sounds, phrasings and formal elements derived from North Indian classical music. This unusual combination of instruments gives the music its own distinctive flavour. You can get a wonderful impression of it on Pulsar Trio's first (and so far only) album Erpelparka Suite, published in 2012. Sitarist Matyas Wolter played in several bands as a guitarist and drummer and was active as a multi-instrumentalist and sound artist before he met the sitar. Since 2005, he has been studying classical North Indian technique and repertoire with sitarist Subroto Roy Chowdhury. Since 2007 he focuses entirely on the sitar. His deep understanding of Indian classical music is probably one of the main sources for Pulsar Trio's cleverly structured compositions and the enthralling improvised live interaction. It is also a prerequisite for integrating the sitar beyond mere exoticisms and using its full expressive potential - including non-traditional playing techniques. Equally important: Pulsar Trio is not just a short-lived project, but has been working together in the same constellation for many years. Only that way, the band could develop the vibrant vitality that is its trademark today. Watch Pulsar Trio at the regional Creole competition Berlin & Brandenburg 2013 here. More info is available on Pulsar Trio's website.

Late on Sunday evening the jury, consisting of two former creole winners and a world music project coordinator, announced the much anticipated decision. To everybody's surprise the jury did not only choose the usual three groups. Because of the high quality of the performances they granted the Creole 2014 (with a prize money of 5,000 Euros each) to four groups: Kapelsky & Marina with Ostperanto-Folk Jazz, Sedaa with Mongolian Meets Middle East, Volxtanz with Ethnotronic World Beat - and Pulsar Trio with World Jazz Pop Punk. Congratulations! Pulsar Trio

The description of Pulsar Trio as World Jazz Pop Punk might seem out of place and bewildering. And the fact that all four winning bands performed one after the other on the last day raises questions about equal opportunity and preliminary decisions made in the programme sequence. But it can hardly be disputed that the award for Trio Pulsar was well deserved. This summer, the band is simply riding a wave, with acclaimed performances at major festivals like Glastonbury and Fusion. And recordings for a new album are already in the making. Perhaps the time is finally ripe for the sitar to be perceived as a complex and full-fledged instrument in wider circles. One can actually play original, complex, exciting, vibrant and entertaining music on the sitar - beyond long outdated India-pothead-hippie-esoteric stereotypes!


3. Yoga & Music at the Feet of the Himalayas (1/3): Bansuri in Rishikesh
- Travel Report by Samante Kamaladiwela -

In 2013/14, Samante Kamaladiwela travelled through India, Sri Lanka and Iran to delve deeper into his passion for yoga and music. He shares some special experiences in Uttarakandh, the Indian state at the feet of the Himalayas with the spring of the Ganges, in this three part series.

Rishikes I particularly liked lingering in Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world. Nowhere else is there more ado about this subject than here. But those interested in Indian music can get a lot here, too. A music-loving India traveler, whom I had met in Dharamsala, gave me the advice to see music guru Bhuwan Chandra, who runs a music school in the Swarg Ashram next to the spectacular suspension bridge Ram Jhula. Having reached Rishikesh I made ??the pilgrimage to the music school to have a look and take a music lesson. A young Indian man with white robe and long black hair opened the door. It was Bhuwan Chandra himself, and he asked me kindly if he could help me. We made a teaching appointment for the next day. I wanted to learn bansuri flute on my journey. My inspiration had come from a flute player on the Ganges, who had done his practise within earshot every morning. The beauty of his flute playing had touched me so much that I decided to learn bansuri as well. In contrast to many other musical instruments, the bansuri is also a pleasant traveling companion - it goes easy with all the usual travel strains.

When I showed up for my appointment, I got to know my teacher. He was an elderly Indian gentleman who was just about to unwrap a few bansuris. The man looked as one would imagine a real Indian guru, with long white hair and long white beard. He introduced himself as Swami Giri Shivratri and played something for me right away. It sounded enchanting - a melody decorated with the beautiful ornaments that are known from classical Indian music. I knew I wanted more of it after this lesson. But I needed a flute and my previous search for a suitable flute in India had been unsuccessful. Swami Giri Shivratri handed me one of his flutes and made me understand that it was a very good one. I had heard that claim again and again in India - and usually found out later that it was far from true. However, this flute really had an excellent sound and the individual notes were finely tuned to one another. I felt confident and paid the requested high price with the hope that the instrument would be worth it.

Rishikes For the next flute lesson I drove to Swami Giri Shivaratri's home in Tapovan, a village on the slope of the mountains surrounding Rishikesh. He lived there with his wife, an elderly German lady, in a beautiful house located on a small waterfall. I was amazed when I saw that the living room was filled with countless flutes in any possible size. Noticing my astonishment, he took some of the flutes and played them for me. One flute in particular was so big that it seemed impossible to play on it. I couldn't even spread my fingers wide enough to cover the holes. And I could hardly believe it when I saw him play this giant flute in amusement and with ease. Then he took a G-flute - the usual size for beginners - and showed me further exercises, called alankaras. They are ornaments composed of different notes that are played shifting the pattern up and down the scale. These exercises are the basis of the technique, because they train the fingers and ultimately prepare for the real flute playing.

While playing I noticed a photo in the room in which my master was seen in a yoga posture. He looked about 20 years younger in the picture and smiled at the camera. This Swami was apparently a yogi as well. However, his passion for the bansuri had absolute priority nowadays. Despite his chronic bronchitis and his age of 70 years, this man could hold the notes on the bansuri incredibly long and played the instrument with breathtaking beauty. He had jammed together with the Beatles back in the 1960s, when they had stayed in Rishikesh, and he had earned a name as a flute player since then. It had become more quiet around him in recent years, but he had still played in the line-up of the recent yoga and music festivals in Rishikesh.

I practised day in and day out to learn as much as possible in the short time. Then came the day when I was supposed to learn raga Bhupali. The pentatonic scale was relatively easy to play, because it doesn't have any halftones. The holes of the flute are always either fully closed or fully opened, and that's much easier to play than closing them halfway to get the halftones. Nevertheless, the alap of raga Bhupali - the beginning part that is played without rhythm - still had plenty of challenges for me. It took me a while to understand the ornaments in the melodies that Shivratri Giri Swami was trying to teach me. But then it began to flow and I felt more pleasure every day while playing the bansuri and improvising with the melodies of raga Bhupali. That's how my friendship with the bansuri began. I hope it will last a long time. Incidentally, months later, I happened to learn that my flute is truly of masterful quality. The name "Ram Ashish" is engraved in it. And Ram Ashish is one of the most renowned flute makers in India. He makes flutes for the most famous of all contemporary flautists, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, as well. That's supposed to be a good omen, I guess.


4. Sitar Fusion from Germanistan (5/6) - Klaus Falschlunger
- Background Report by Yogendra -

Ravi Shankar's heirs keep the sitar alive - not only in India but also in Central Europe! It is a little-known fact that sitarists with German roots have already been successful professional performers for decades. They have explored original new ways of combining Indian sounds with other musical styles and have thus contributed substantially to what is known today as world music. Time to take a closer look and tell the story of this ignored tradition...

Not only world famous musicians such as Prem Joshua contribute to the sitar fusion from Germanistan, but also artists who work mainly in the German speaking countries and who have yet to be discovered. A good example is the Austrian Klaus Falschlunger. Born in 1969, he grew up in a butcher's family in a small village near Innsbruck in Tirol. As a child he was very creative, but did not get any support for his creativity at home. An artistic career was unthinkable for the family. At 14, he tried to study classical guitar, but could not cope with the note pinned teaching style. After school he learnt carpentry, in the vain hope of being able to do creative work. At age 21 he finally broke out of the confines of Tirol and Austria and went on a trip to India.

Klaus Fleischlunger After a few months of traveling in India and Nepal, Klaus Falschlunger somehow got the idea to learn sitar - and right from the first contact with the instrument he knew that it was perfect for him. In the beginning he learnt for six months in Delhi from an unknown sitarist named Shanker, who lured him into Indian classical music. After some more months of traveling, he ended up for half a year learning from Debashish Sanyal in Varanasi. Back in Europe he studied Indian classical sitar intensively with Daniel Bradley (one of the very few students of the legendary Annapurna Devi, sister of Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar's first wife) in Vienna for several years. However, a professional perspective did not arise from these studies at that time. It was too obvious that job opportunities for classical Indian music were extremely limited.

The Tirol State Conservatory in Klaus Falschlunger's home town Innsbruck has a Department of Jazz and Improvised Music. It is at the core of a small, yet thriving music scene where everybody knows everybody else. Looking for alternatives to Indian classical music, he easily got in touch with musicians of different styles and backgrounds and took part in interesting cross-over projects. From 1996 to 2006 he played sitar in the band Comin & Goin, with a varying line-up of Korean percussion, guitar, saxophone and didgeridoo. The band published three CDs, gave numerous concerts, and he could learn about the importance of human relations and clear responsibilities (in addition to musical skills) to make a project work successfully in the long term. These were experiences he could build on.

Since 2002, Klaus Falschlunger accompanied the storyteller Frau Wolle. In 2005, he published his solo album In a sitar Way, with melodies from various folk music traditions, cover pieces from the Beatles to Joe Zawinul and three original compositions. In 2006, during his engagement at the Vienna Burgtheater for Christoph Schlingensief's project Area 7 Matthew Expedition, he met cellist Clementine Gasser. Their collaboration led to founding the duo Avant-Rag, for some time extended to a trio with tabla player Pepe Fiore. In 2007, Klaus Falschlunger was part of an India show, playing for four months continuously at Swarovski Crystal World (conveived by André Heller) near Innsbruck. It gave him the final kick to see himself as a professional sitarist. In 2010, he founded Trio Ganga, together with Indian-trained Hungarian violinist Zoltan Lantos and jazz double bassist Walter Singer. In 2011, he started Indian Air, together with Andreas Gilgenberg on bass clarinet and alto flute and percussionist Sani Kunchev. Indian Air released a CD with his compositions in 2012 and is currently his main project. Finally, he also plays in the group SitarStation with Aleksander Koncar on electric bass and Christian Unsinn on drum set, electronic beats and sounds.

Klaus Fleischlunger All these different projects have a great originality in common. With a solid classical technique, experimentation, intuition and congenial partners, Klaus Falschlunger is continuosly searching out creative new ways. Self-taught and with the help of music software he has arrived at composing not only his own sitar melodies, but also the voices for all other instruments in his compositions. His music may come across rather jazzy, may tend towards experimental avantgarde, or may convey a relaxing lounge feeling. But you'll never find him playing cheap pop or using India clichés. His creations always remain artistically sophisticated, differentiated and complex, without ever becoming inaccessibly elitist. He is not interested in an artistic ivory tower but in reaching out and touching people. Perhaps this is due to the fact that he has remained down to earth and and in touch with nature throughout his life. To this day he lives in his native region near Innsbruck, with his wife and two children, and works mainly in Austria. The mountain scenery on his doorstep is an always-accessible source of strength for him. That's probably why you're first greeted by an impressive mountain range with river and forest on his Homepage.

Why has such a versatile and creative artist released so few CDs yet? There is so much to discover in his work beyond his published recordings. Maybe CDs with sophisticated niche music that is not produced on the computer but played by relatively unknown musicians on acoustic instruments is nowadays simply too difficult to finance. One has to rely on videos to get an impression of Klaus Falschlunger's artistic scope. He has compiled some on his Website. Others can be found by looking up the names of his projects on YouTube. But the best way to experience his music is probably live on stage. Or at an exclusive private concert in your living room - he is offering that, too...


5. Restricted Service - August
- Company Info -

It is holiday time in our shop in Berlin from 2nd to 22nd of August. That means:

  • Orders of large instruments should be sent to us by July 30th, if shipping is expected before the holiday time.

  • Urgent and time-dependent orders can not be handled during the holiday time.

  • From 2nd to 15th August our services are restricted: Visits in the shop are only possible by special appointment, nobody will be answering the landline telephone, and shipping of orders may take a few days longer than usual.

  • From 16th to 22nd August our shop and shipping department remain completely closed: Visits are not possible and nothing will be shipped.

  • Email communication will most likely not be affected by the restrictions - we'll try to continue answering all inquiries quickly and keep on taking orders and reservations.

  • The announced jubilee celebration for the 20th anniversary of India Instruments will not take place this summer due to organisational difficulties. Maybe things will work out in one of the next years...

We beg your pardon for the inconvenience!


6. Workshops - August to October
- Scene Info -

Workshops are a great opportunity of getting fresh inspiration for the study and practice of Indian instruments, Indian music and Indian dance. We support that! Therefore we publish an overview of current workshops regularly. Details of all workshops are available in our website's network section on the workshop page.

02. - 10.08. FREIBURG: Tamburi Mundi - frame drums intensive, with inter alia Ganesh Kumar for Kanjira
15. - 17.08. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium Advanced with Devadas Mark Janku
17. - 22.08. WANGERLAND (NORTH SEA): Harmonium Intensive with Uli Schuchart
22. - 26.08. CH - RASA INTRAGNA (LOCARNO): Intensive Residential Dhrupad with Ashish Sankrityayan
29. - 31.08. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium learning seminar with Darshini Devi
05. - 07.09. BAD HERRENALB: Meditative Music Retreat with Deepsankar Bhattacharya (sitar) & Abhirup Roy (tabla)
04.10. BERLIN: Orissi Dance with Tulika Srivastava
10. - 12.10. MARIA RAIN (ALLGÄU): Harmonium learning seminar with Juergen Wade
10. - 12.10. WANGERLAND (NORTH SEA): Harmonium Aufbauseminar
10. - 12.10. SAARBRUCKEN: Raga & Tala intensive sitar with Yogendra
17. - 19.10. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium learning seminar with Darshini Devi
25.10. - 02.11. BAD HERRENALB: Meditative Music Retreat with Partho Sarothy (Sarod) & Ashis Paul (Tabla)


7. Concerts - August to September
- Scene Info -

The Indian music summer slump this year is less serious than in recent years - thanks largely to an extensive tour of ayurveda guru Balaji També with his music group. A special highlight for all fans of Indian classical music in September is the four-day Darbar Festival in London, with many top artists from India. Check our concert calendar for detailed info, venues and times, as well as further dates in 2014.

Balaji També 08.08. - 10.08. LEIPZIG: Ancient Trance Festival
15.08. BERLIN: Diasporagas - New Indian music
21.08. I - PETTENASCO: Prem Joshua & Band
24.08. CH - ZURICH: Lakshmi Santra - Vocal
24.08. AT - GREIN: Indian Air
25.08. CONSTANCE: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
28.08. BERLIN: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
29.08. BERLIN: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
30.08. AHRENSBURG: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
30.08. COLOGNE: Prem Joshua & Band
30.08. LANDAU: Alif Laila - Sitar, Bernhard Ullrich - saxophone
31.08. HAMBURG: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
05.09. SCHWABISCH HALL: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
06.09. NEISSEAUE: Indigo Masala - World Music Stories
06.09. STUTTGART: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
07.09. BAD HERRENALB: Deepsankar Bhattacharjee (sitar)
10.09. WEILBURG: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
12.09. FRANKFURT: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
13.09. KRONBERG / TAUNUS: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
18.09. GB - LONDON: Darbar Festival feat. Bharat Bushan Goswami (sarangi), Debashish Bhattacharya (sarod)
19.09. GB - LONDON: Darbar Festival feat. Manorama Prasad (Carnatic vocal), Nityanand Haldipur (bansuri), Prem Kumar Mallick (Dhrupad vocal), Prashant Mallick (Dhrupad vocal)
19.09. BREMERHAVEN: INDIGO MASALA - World Music Stories
19.09. AUGSBURG: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
20.09. GB - LONDON: Darbar Festival feat. Kirpal Panesar (Taus), Akkarai S Subhalakshmi (violin), Jyoti Hegde (Rudra veena), Abhishek Raghuram (Carnatic vocal)
21.09. GB - LONDON: Darbar Festival feat. Vinayak Torvi (Khayal vocal), Chandra Chakraborty (vocal Khayal), Shashank Subramanium (Carnatic flute), Niladri Kumar (sitar), Prabha Atre (Khayal vocal)
21.09. MUNICH: Balaji També - Healing Sounds of India
26.09. BONN: Ashim Mallick - Sitar
28.09. DRENKOW: Indian Seasons - Poems and Songs of Rabindranath Tagore
28.09. MOLDOVA - CHISINAU: Trilok Gurtu - Percussion, Vocal & Band
28.09. MOLDOVA - CHISINAU: Indian Air

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