Newsletter June 2011

1. New Indigo Masala CD - Legends of Panipur
- New in our Assortment -

"Legends of Panipur," the second CD of world music trio Indigo Masala, tells of an imaginary journey to the paradisiacal princedom of Panipur, located about halfway between the Far East and Midwest, where Orient and Occident gently touch. The 12 new original compositions offer magical sitar (Yogendra), groovy tabla (Ravi Srinivasan) and impulsive accordion (Arun Leander), enriched with captivating vocals, colourful percussion, exuberant joy, subtle humor and a touch of jazz. "Legends of Panipur" is passionate, energetic, sensitive, meditative and witty - and sometimes all at the same time. Beyond all stylistic limitations the music moves the body as well as the heart and nourishes the spirit as well as the soul - world music for the whole being.

Although Indigo Masala has used modern studio technology to create a rich and balanced sound, the trio remains true to its acoustic philosophy: "Legends of Panipur", like its predecessor "Big Gods & Little Animals", was produced exclusively with self-made recordings of acoustic instruments, voices or other natural sound sources - without any samples or electronic sound generators. This creates an immediacy and vitality that is hard to find in today's music market with its revamped, standardized, synthetic mass products.

"Legends of Panipur" is made round musically by the contributions of three great guest artists. Susanne Paul was herself a member of Indigo Masala for several years and now brings in some compositions and her incredibly groovy cello. Renowned world-jazz musician Ramesh Shotham plays the South Indian percussion instruments thavil, kanjira and morsing on three tracks. And Markus Brachtendorf, well-known in the folk music scene as head of Lecker Sachen and the Mahones, has not only recorded and produced the album but also enriched it with some vocals.

As a finishing touch, there is an unusually original booklet. Yogendra's winking narrations give a lively account of flora and fauna in Panipur and of the customs and manners of its inhabitants. And the creative and tasteful artwork by Christina von Puttkamer with photos by Norbert Klippenstein is a real feast for the eyes.

Samples from "Legends of Panipur" are available at The latest live videos of Indigo Masala are available at

"Legends of Panipur" is now available from India Instruments at 15.- Euros (plus shipping). A cover-view and other exciting world-music CDs are available at


2. Indian Music & Culture Festivals - Review and Prospect
- Scene Info -

Festivals including Indian culture and music are lined up close together this summer. The 7th annual Yoga Vidya Musikfestival was held from 1. - 5.6. in Bad Meinberg (see below) . Beautiful weather, good attendance, great artists, delicious food and a varied workshop and concert program created a wonderful atmosphere and an inspiring and touching experience. Shortly afterwards the Rainbow Spirit Festival took place in Munich from 10. - 13.6. In addition to numerous spiritual teachers of various traditions the well-attended festival included concerts by Deva Premal & Miten, Prem Joshua and friends and Dave Stringer, amongst others.

The 7th Berlin Yoga Festival is held at Culture Park Kladow from 23. - 26.6.. It offers numerous yoga workshops, lectures and exercise classes as well as various concerts of spiritual music. Special highlights are the performances of mantra singers Satyaa and Pari, sitar player Al Gromer Khan and the Indian Mallik family with dhrupad, khyal, thumri and tarana singing.

Berlin's Olympic stadium is the location of the World Culture Festival from 2. - 3.7.. The Art of Living Foundation, founded by spiritual master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not to be confused with the legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar!), celebrates its 30th anniversary with this spectacular event. The opening show in the Olympic Stadium features artists from around the world, including 30 pianos, 2000 guitar players and 3000 singers. The pavilions of the continents on the lawns around the stadium show the beauty of cultures around the world with dance and music, culinary specialties, poetry and literature. Music and dance from India are part of this presentation, of course. The festival is completed by a yoga park with workshops, lectures and concerts.

This festival season concludes with Bhakti Yoga Summer in the Bavarian town of Bad Staffelstein from 26. - 28.8.. Surrounded by splendid nature, there will be parallel workshops, lectures and classes in five different rooms throughout the day, including numerous music and dance events. Highlights of the festival are the evening concerts with Durga Das, Satyaa and Pari and Prem Joshua & Friends.

Bharat Yatra takes place at the St. Jakob Hall in Basel, Switzerland from 26. - 28.8. as well. Bharat means India and Yatra means pilgrimage. The three-day festival of Indian culture is mainly dedicated to spectacular entertainment. During the day, a colorful cultural program with folk and classical dances and music, and traditional martial arts demonstrations will be offered. Highlight of the evening is always a fashion show and a Bollywood musical with over 80 performers. On Friday and Saturday nights the musical is followed by a Bollywood dance party. The program is framed by numerous stalls of culinary specialties, accessories, etc. The daily raga concerts of sarod virtuoso Aashish Khan, the eldest son of Ali Akbar Khan, will probably be the artistic highlight.


3. Rabindranath Tagore - Ambassador and Creative Genius
- Essay by Yogendra -

An exotic-looking figure with flowing hair, long beard and traditional Indian robe stood in front of enthusiastic crowds in Germany in 1921. Staged as a mystic saint from the East, Rabindranath Tagore lectured on intercultural understanding, reconciliation and world peace during his European tour and triggered a euphoric wave of enthusiasm amongst the German youth after the traumas of World War I. Tagore become world famous all of a sudden in 1913, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for the English translation of his collection of poems called Gitanjali. The Tagore-enthusiasm in Germany, however, was quite short-lived - two further visits in 1926 and 1930 got hardly any response, and after the Second World War he was almost forgotten. He was only rediscovered decades later, especially as a writer, when direct translations from the Bengali original slowly started to get published. In India however, and especially in his Bengali homeland, Tagore is considered the greatest creative genius of the 20th Century for his eclectic artistic work and his social commitment.

Rabindranath Tagore was born 150 years ago, on May 7th, 1861, in a well-known intellectual family in Calcutta. His grandfather Dwarkanath supported social, cultural and educational institutions, and his father Debendranath formulated the credo of the neo-Hindu reform movement Brahmo Samaj. His older siblings were writers, scholars and philosophers. As a teenager he discovered his strong connection to nature while traveling through India. And as a young man he learned to appreciate Western art, culture and ways of life while studying in England. Firmly rooted in Indian traditions, in a connection with nature and open to Western ideas, he created a unique life's work. His creative genius shaped modern Bengali literature, gave new holistic impulses to education, helped in the development of rural areas, gave rise to a comprehensive pictorial work and composed hundreds of songs in a new musical genre later called Rabindra Sangeet. Tagore also committed himself politically in the Indian independence struggle against British colonial rule. He wrote the Indian national anthem and invented the name "Mahatma", literally "great soul", for M.K.Gandhi, the non-violent freedom fighter and father of Indian independence.

Although it might seem as if Tagore's work in Germany had no lasting effect, he is appreciated today as an important forerunner of intercultural exchange. The first half of the 20th Century was dominated by nationalist and imperialist ideologies in Europe - not a particularly fertile ground for an appreciation of non-European cultures. It is truely remarkable that Tagore and other pioneers (such as for example sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan) were able to leave a lasting mark in the West, in spite of this rather hostile climate. They helped to broaden the European horizon away from self-centered navel-gazing to the riches of the world beyond its borders - and thus prepared the soil, on which the friends of Indian music move so freely today. The fact that Tagore was temporarily stylized as an omniscient saviour, reveals his audience's cravings and the difficulties of bridging the gulf between the alien and the own. Genuine encounter is only possible on the basis of realistic understanding and constructive cooperation. We are still working on these learning tasks today.

More on Tagore's life and work: wikipedia

4. Music Therapy with Ragas (3) - Yaman, Fire of Longing
- by Thomas Meisenheimer -

Raga Yaman (or Imam) is perhaps the most famous North Indian raga. Its origin is not really clear. Some think that the raga came from Persia. Others see a Vedic origin and claim that the scale was previously called Raga Yamuna. The sound structure of Raga Yaman is based on the tonic (Sa), major secondar (shuddha Re), major third (shuddha Ga), tritone / augmented fourth (tivra Ma), fifth (Pa), major sixth (shuddha Dha) and major seventh (shuddha Ni). In ancient Greek music this scale was known as Lydian mode.

Indian classical music training often begins with Raga Yaman, because it is considered a key to all other ragas. It is said to purify and open the heart. And the open heart is ready to receive knowledge and has a desire to penetrate deeper into the mystery of music. For me raga Yaman is like a love song, a solicitation of the unattainable lady. This unrequited love, as reflected in the Indian mysticism of love in Sufism or Bhakti, is expressed here. Many Sufi poems use the image of the butterfly, which is so much attracted by the light of a candle that it can't help but fly into the flame and burn. This "annihilation" into an egoless state is musically induced in Raga Yaman. In all humility and modesty it is a sacrifice of love to the numinous.

Raga Yaman always makes me sensitive and delicate. The augmented fourth creates awareness of unresolved anger, disappointments and injuries. The major seventh and major third are very strong as well and light the fires of longing. Yaman is like an unsolvable Koan, an open question, an endless search for the meaning of life.

The following video clips are meant to encourage your own exploration:
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar on rudra veena
Amjad Ali Khan explains the raga with the sarod and his voice
On Sitar und Bansuri: Purbayan Chatterjee and Rakesh Chaurasia
Khyal singing with Kishori Amonkar
Khyal singing with Bhimsen Joshi
Dhrpad singing with Uday Bhawalkar

Thomas Meisenheimer has been studying Indian ragas, their effects and their use as a therapeutic agent in music therapy for over 20 years. In the series "Music Therapy with Ragas" he shares his personal experiences - not as an eternal truth, but as an inspiration for your own explorations.


15. Distribution Partners (1) - Yoga Vidya
- Background Information -

Musical instruments from India Instruments are not only available in our store in Berlin or by mail order, but also from some distribution partners. We will present some of these partners in a loose series in this and the following newsletters.

Haus Yoga Vidya in the small North-Western German spa town Bad Meinberg is probably the largest center for yoga, meditation and ayurveda in Europe with over 100 full-time employees, 430 beds and 60,000 overnight stays (in 2008). At the same time, the house is a kind of power center of the Yoga Vidya association with more than 60 urban yoga centers in Germany and Austria as well as three separate seminar houses. Yoga Vidya was founded in 1992 in Frankfurt by Sukadev Volker Bretz and follows the yoga tradition of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnu Devananda. The association was formally established in 1995 and saw a rapid growth since then: in 1996 the first own seminar house was opened in the Westerwald and in 2003 a former health clinic was taken over to establish today's headquarters in Bad Meinberg. The Haus Yoga Vidya is a kind of yoga ashram with fixed rules for permanent staff, temporary volunteers and guests. At the same time it is a place for encounters, exchange and research, constantly looking for ways of making knowledge of the yoga tradition available to the modern world. Seminars, professional training courses, festivals and conferences are held regularly for this purpose, with guests, yogis, scientists and artists from all over the world. More detailed information

A little shop in the entrance hall is an important part of Haus Yoga Vidya. It is called Boutique and offers a large selection of CDs and some musical instruments in addition to the usual assortment of books and yoga equipment. In the beginning Yoga Vidya was trying to import instruments directly from India. But due to permanent problems with quality standards and transit damages, Yoga Vidya changed policy and started a partnership with India Instruments in 2010. Since then we supply the Boutique with harmoniums, shrutiboxes, wind and percussion instruments. All instruments can be tried out in the shop. The selling prices are the same as ours. The Boutique usually has the two harmonium models Paloma premium and Paloma compactina, the shrutibox shrutibox Monoj Kumar Sardar small , some kanjiras and some standard bamboo flutes in stock. Occasionally it also has the harmonium Paloma standard or Monoj Kumar Sardar premium coupler. If you happen to visit the Boutique and don't see the instruments at once, just ask for them at the counter - not all available instruments can be displayed at all times due to limited space. Basically, almost all of the instruments from India Instruments can be ordered through the Boutique. Yoga Vidya is also planning to offer our instruments in their online-shop in the future.


6. EasyScale - Scale App
- Cyber News -

A new app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad has recently hit the creative software market - EasyScale. It represents scales, melodies and intervals in vivid geometric forms using the Western classical circle of fifths. By simply dragging a virtual rubber band, scales can be built, changed and transposed. Each scale corresponds to a unique visual shape in the form of a geometric polygon. The corners of this polygon are the notes of the scale. And the knack of EasyScale from an Indian point of view: It does not only use the absolute western notes (c, d, e, etc.) but also relative Indian syllables (Sa, Re, Ga, etc.) and North Indian names of scales and ragas. Scale with names from other musical cultures are integrated as well.

EasyScale already contains about 90 scales from different musical cultures. Moreover it has a virtually unlimited storing capacity for your own scales - just tap the respective notes and save them. All scales can be played back as arpeggios with the sound of piano, guitar, vibraphone or sitar at different speeds and in upward and downward directions. EasyScale is an intuitive tool for practicing scales and intervals, for easy transposition and identification of parallel scales - and a source of inspiration for creative musicians in search of new scales.

Easy scale is available worldwide in Apple's App Store and costs Euros 3.99 in the German App Store. More information and screenshots on


7. Reduced Service - 7.7. to 26.7.
- Company Info -

Our managing director Norbert Klippstein is going for a vacation from 7.7. to 26.7.. Therefore India Instruments can only offer reduced service in that period - sorry! The email traffic will not be affected, however - we will answer all inquiries and take orders and reservations as quickly as usual. We will also try to process and ship orders to the best of our capacities - just allow an extra one to two weeks for delivery. Small items can probably be delivered with only a very small delay. The dispatch of large instruments, however, might have to be postponed until after 27.7. in some cases. Urgent and time-restricted orders can not be handled from 7.7. to 26.7., unfortunately. Visits to our Berlin store are restricted to special appointments within that period. We apologize for the inconvenience!

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