Newsletter July / August 2016

1. Holiday Time - Restricted Service in July & August
2. Yogis In Love - Music by Govinda Schlegel
3. Fresh Breeze in Ancient Tradition (1/4) - Silver Flute & Saxophone
4. Musical Wonders of India - Instrument Exhibition Online
5. How to Make (Indian) Music? (2) - Life is Analogue
6. Workshops - July to October
7. Concerts - July to September


1. Holiday Time - Restricted Service in July & August
- Company Info -

It is holiday time in our shop in Berlin from July 21st to August 11th. During this time we can't offer our regular service. That means: - Visits in the shop are only possible by special appointment.

- Nobody will be answering the landline telephone most of the time.
- Shipping of orders may take a few days longer than usual.
- We won't handle urgent and time-dependent orders. Email communication will not be affected by the restrictions
- we'll try to continue answering all enquiries quickly and we'll keep on taking orders and reservations.

We beg your pardon for any inconvenience that may result from these temporary restrictions!


2. Yogis In Love - Music by Govinda Schlegel
- Review by Yogendra -

German multi-instrumentalist Govinda Schlegel is an astonishing phenomenon in the classical Indian music scene. While the vast majority of raga performers restrict themselves to mastering only one instrument, Govinda performs on sitar, sarod, sarangi, surbahar, rudra veena and sursringar. All these are string instruments, but the differences in playing technique between, e.g., a plucked instrument with frets like the sitar and a fretless bowed instrument without fretboard like the sarangi are enormous. And the typical style of the old dhrupad instruments rudra veena, surbahar and sursringar is very different from that of the modern sitar and sarod. Govinda has mainly acquired his skills in self-study - another very unusual feat in the classical tradition. He got his most important inspiration and guidance from legendary sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan, with whom he learnt in several workshops in the 1990s. In recent years, he has also been studying with Rajeev Taranath in Mysore, a senior disciple of Ali Akbar Khan.

CD Yogis in Love Govinda rarely performs on large stages. His work is mainly focused on small circles in Southern Germany and his home town Memmingen.There he has developed music for the accompaniment of yoga practice, together with his partner, yoga teacher Andrea Panzer. This music has now been published on CD with the title Yogis in Love - Ashtanga meets Raga Morning Session. It includes the classical ragas Ahiri Lalit (rudra veena), Ananda Bhairav (sursringar), Gujari Todi (sitar) and Bhairagi Bhairav (surbahar) - all of them associated with the morning and a meditative mood. Each raga track consists of 15 to 20 minutes of alap, the traditional introduction of a performance without fixed pulse. Alap is so abstrat that it does not suggest any particular rhythm of breathing or moving and gives untrained listeners no recognisable melodic clues for orientation. That way the mind can ramble, sink into the colours of the raga and gently move inwards. Each raga is played on a different instrument that underlines its special atmosphere and ensures a certain variation between the tracks. Highly recommended for all yogis and yoginis with a fondness of Indian sounds!

Govinda's other recently published CD ist even more puristic. Mystical Ragas in the Night presents only two ragas, Jog and Madhukauns, and both are played on the surbahar, the larger sibling of the sitar with the lower voice. Here each raga unfolds for about 30 minutes - in addition to the alap there is time for jor and jhala, the form parts with a rhythmic pulse. Jhala is normally played at very high speed, but Govinda keeps it at a rather leisurely pace. Further development of the ragas in fixed rhythm with drum accompaniment is omitted completely. That way a very meditative mood pulls a thread through the entire CD and invites the listener to take a night journey into his or her own inner worlds.

Those familiar with the usual virtuoso flights of Indian masters won't find them on Govinda's two CDs. And a connoisseur might not always agree with his intonation and instrumental stylistics. But despite such small weaknesses the degree of his mastery of completely different instruments is still highly admirable. And most important: One can feel the spirit of the raga in every tone of his expressive playing. That's what really matters. Worthy of praise is the complete absence of digital tricks to spice up the sound. And one should also appreciate Govinda's courage to reach out to the public with rare instruments that are nearly extinct in India today. In that sense both CDs are commendable not only for meditative yogis with a weakness for things Indian, but also for lovers of Indian classical music open for unusual sounds and formats beyond the raga mainstream.

Govindas Website with direct order
Ashtanga meets Raga clip with Andrea and Govinda on sarod.

3. Fresh Breeze in Ancient Tradition (1/4) - Silver Flute & Saxophone
- Background Story by Yogendra -

Dhrupad is the oldest living tradition in North Indian raga music and combines refined intonation with systematic unfolding of raga, formal austerity and a meditative approach. The heyday of dhrupad was in the 16th century, but in the mid 20th century it had come close to extinction. Since then dhrupad has gone through a kind of renaissance - and has been getting creative input from Westerners lately as well...

Samved Saxophone player Igino Giovanni Brunori and silver flutist Virginia Nicoli met in 2006 during their studies in Indian music with a focus on bansuri and followed the same path of music together from then on. Both had received a thorough training in Western music and were looking for a connection between music and spirituality. They found it in the North Indian raga system. Together they learnt from Hariprasad Chaurasia and Italian dhrupad veteran Gianni Ricchizzi. In 2010 they graduated with honours from the Indian music course at the Conservatory Vicenzia. In 2009, they became students of the Gundecha Brothers and started learning from them in the ancient Indian teacher-student tradition at their dhrupad school in Bhopal.

The Gundecha Brothers, well-known for their sense of tradition as well as for innovative ideas, quickly recognised the talents of Virgina and Igino and encouraged them to play dhrupad on their first instruments, the silver flute and the saxophone. Playing correct intonation and microtonal ornaments on these instruments was an enormous challenge, but they kept on practicing tirelessly and came up with solutions for these problems. The unique new sound that they created was so convincing that the Gundechas started inviting Igino and Virgina to perform together with them from 2012 onwards.

Today Virginia and Igino work together in various projects under the name Samvad (Sanskrit for dialogue or harmony). As Samvad trio they perform with tabla player Ciro Montanari. As Dhrupad Ensemble they continue giving concerts with the Gundechas. When they play with the string ensemble Conductus under Marcello Fera, their dhrupad interpretations meet classical Western composition models. And with various guest soloists they keep on developing their own musical language. Depending on the context they use silver flute, bansuri, sax and voice alike and present traditional dhrupad material as well as their own raga-based comositions. In this sense, their work is more a dynamic new expression of the traditional principles of raga and tala than a fusion. That way they open new doors for the ancient dhrupad. There is no limit to music, they say, only the mind...

Bansuri duet in raga yaman with alap, jor, jhala.
Samvad website with lots of project videos.


4. Musical Wonders of India - Instrument Exhibition Online
- Scene Info by Yogendra -

Indian music was invented by Lord Shiva and has been played exactly as today for thousands of years - you might get this impression if you believe the imaginative stories of some Indian musicians and some texts. But everyone who listens to recordings from 100 years ago, looks at old paintings and sculptures of musical instruments, or studies historical texts will notice that raga music is in fact a continuously evolving tradition. Quite likely that's the reason why the tradition is still so much alive today. A wonderful example of evolutionary development are historical musical instruments. A great opportunity to take a close look at beautiful specimen is a small but special exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, titled Musical Wonders of India. Until end of October the show presents carefully selected instruments from the 2nd half of the 19th century.

On display ar five extremely fine pieces: bin sitar, taus, sarinda, tanpura and a tabla set. TausSitar, tabla and tanpura are familiar names. But what are taus, sarinda or sitar bin? I won't give the answer here - please browse the online pages of the exhibition if you're curios. In addition to the physical exhibits, the website presents five more treasures online: sarangi, surbahar, saraswati veena, swarmandal and a (supposed) sarod. Excellent photos and videos with camera shots from different perspectives give very good impressions. That way you can study many details of form, function, design and materials. Video links lead to performances on replicas of historical instruments or their modern versions by well-known musicians (among others Kushal Das, Kaushiki Chakraborty and Jayanthi Kumaresh).

Sarod or Rabaab It's a pity, though, that most of the exhibits are not in a playable condition. Missing pegs, strings, bridges and frets might suggest misleading ideas. A major drawback, unfortunately, are the accompanying texts. Instead of presenting carefully researched background information and illuminating detail they are often superficial and include several small and large factual errors. Particularly misleading is the labelling of the displayed kabuli rabab as a sarod. It's true, the terms rabab and sarod have temporarily been used interchangeably for the same instrument in the mid 19th century. But from today's perspective, the term sarod seems only appropriate for the instrument with steel strings and metal fingerboard that was created out of the kabuli rabab in the late 19th century. The dot on the i of confusion is the video link to this exhibit, which shows neither the kabuli rabab nor a modern sarod, but the Indian senia rabab - a very different instrument in its own right, even though it's considered one of the ancestors of the sarod.

If you want really sound information, you should study the linked texts by writer and music journalist Jameela Siddiqi at the Darbar Festival website. Which brings us to a second and maybe much more compelling reason for a trip to London: the Darbar Festival from September 16th to 18th! For the 11th time you can experience young stars of raga music as well as some of its greatest living masters live at the most significant festival of Indian music in Europe. The main concerts are given below in our concert calendar. Detailed information is available here


5. How to Make (Indian) Music? (2) - Life is Analogue
- Quote by Harald Welzer -

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

Harald Welzer Life is analogue. Reationships are analogue, empathy, love, hatred, anger, compassion and joy are analogue. Always remember that the internet can help you only with trivial problems. Vital issues always require real people. People who are there. Who do things together with you. With whom you do things together. (…) The only remedy against the smart dictatorship, the digital de-vitalisation is analogue life: poetry, music, sex, love - everything essential in life is analogue and only available offline.

Harald Welzer, in: Die smarte Diktatur. Der Angriff auf unsere Freiheit (The Smart Dictatorship. Attack On Our Freedom)

6. Workshops - July to October
- Scene Info -

Workshops give fresh inspiration for the study and practice of Indian instruments, Indian music and Indian dance. In order to support that we publish an overview of current workshops regularly. Details of all workshops are available in our website's network section on the workshop page.

Harsh Wardhan 24.07. - 29.07. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium- and Kirtan with Devadas Mark Janku
01.08. - 02.08. FREIBURG: Kanjira Techniques and Indian Rhythms with Pete Lockett
01.08. - 05.08. GR - CORFU: Hearts on Fire: Chanting Retreat with Satyaa & Pari
08.08. - 12.08. GR - CORFU: Hearts on Fire: Chanting Retreat with Satyaa & Pari
08.08. - 11.08. B - BRUSSELS: Indian Bansuri Flute with Harsh Wardhan
09.08. - 12.08. HAMBURG: Bharatanatyam with P. T. Narendra
13.08. - 14.08. HAMBURG: Bharatanatyam with P. T. Narendra
19.08. - 21.08. CH - ZURICH: Dhrupad-Sommerworkshop with Amit Sharma
25.08. - 27.08. CH - ZURICH: Nada Yoga with Sundaram
26.08. - 28.08. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium for Beginners with Jurgen Wade
02.09. BERLIN: Harmoniumworkshop for Beginners with Reina Berger
02.09. - 04.09. OY-MITTELBERG (Allgäu): Harmonium for Advanced with Devadas Mark Janku
02.09. - 04.09. BAD MEINBERG: Nada-Mantra-Circle-Singing with Anne-Careen Engel
30.09. - 02.10. JEDDELOH (Oldenburg): Sitar - Step by Step with Yogendra
30.09. - 03.10. MEMMINGEN: Introduction to North Indian Classical Music with Govinda Schlegel
30.09. - 03.10. OPFENBACH (Allgäu): Harmonium for Beginners with Gyanroopa Dickbertel
05.10. - 07.10. OBERLAHR (Westerwald): Harmonium for Advanced with Devadas Mark Janku
07.10. - 09.10. BAD MEINBERG: Nada, Nadis, Chakras with Anne-Careen Engel
09.10. - 16.10. BAD MEINBERG: Nada Yoga Basic Training with Anne-Careen Engel
21.10. - 23.10. HORUMERSIEL (North Sea): Harmonium for Beginners with Devadas Mark Janku
23.10. - 30.10. BAD MEINBERG: Mantrayoga Teacher Training with Sundaram
26.10. - 30.10. CH - ZURICH: Dhrupad-Workshop with the Gundecha Brothers
28.10. - 29.10. CH - BERN: Harmonium for Beginners with Gyanroopa Dickbertel

7. Concerts - July to September
- Scene Info -

Check our concert calendar for more detailed information, venues, times and further events in 2016!
Sumitra Guha
22.07. LUNEBURG: Klaus Falschlunger - sitar
23.07. REGENSBURG: Klaus Falschlunger - sitar
23.07. STUTTGART: P.T. Narendram - Bharatanatyam Dance
24.07. STUTTGART: Nasir Aziz - Sitar
24.07. GB - LONDON: Sudha Ragunathan - Carnatic Vocal
29.07. GB - READING / LONDON: Prem Joshua & Band - World Music
30.07. GB - LONDON: Srekala Bharath - Bharatanatyam Dance
30.07. WACHENHEIM: Indigo Masala - Sitar, Percussion, Accordion, Vocals
31.07. GB - LONDON: Sumitra Guha - Khyal Vocal
31.07. GB - LONDON: Srani Khanam - Kathak Dance
03.08. FREIBURG: Pete Lockett - Kanjira, Konnakol, Tabla
10.08. FRANKFURT: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drumset
11.08. MAGDEBURG: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drumset
12.08. METZELTHIN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drumset
18.08. I - PETTENENASCO: Prem Joshua & Band - World Music
19.08. WEIMAR: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drumset
24.08. A- KITZBUHEL: Klaus Falschlunger - sitar
27.08. LEHRTE: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drumset
28.08. WAHLSDORF: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drumset
10.09. LUDWIGSFELDE: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drumset
11.09. BERLIN: Subroto Roy Chowdhury - sitar
11.09. GB - LONDON: Anindo Chatterjee & Kumar Bose - tabla
16.09. GB - LONDON: Rakesh Chaurasia - bansuri / Niladri Kumar - sitar
17.09. GB - LONDON: Roopa Panesar - sitar
17.09. GB - LONDON: Aruna Sairam - carnatic vocal / Rajan & Sajan Mishra - khayal vocal
18.09. GB - LONDON: Vishal Jain - dhrupad
18.09. GB - LONDON: Shubha Mudgal - khayal vocal / Amjad Ali Khan - sarod
22.09. DORMAGEN: Ken Zuckerman - Sarod
23.09. NL – AMSTERDAM: Rakesh Chaurasia - bansuri / Siddharth Kishna - sitar
24.09. A - HITTISAU: Klaus Falschlunger - sitar
30.09. GLONN: Klaus Falschlunger - sitar

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