Newsletter March 2009

1. 15th Anniversary of India Instruments
- Company Info -

15 years - 15 % ! This is the slogan for a special discount period from April till September to celebrate the 15th anniversary of India Instruments. Each of these months we give a discount of 15 % on the normal price of all instruments from a specific category. Here is an overview:

April - wind instruments
May - bowed instruments
June - tablas
July - tanpuras
August - harmoniums
September - sitars and sarods

You can save up to € 298,50 - so it could really be worthwhile to plan your purchase well ahead now! The anniversary discount is available from the first to the last day of each month as long as our stock lasts.

From April till September we also give an Indian picture postcard of goddess Saraswati free with every purchase - a little token of our thankfulness. Saraswati is the goddess of music, speech, wisdom and learning. She is not only worshipped by Hindus, but also by many muslim musicians. Thus she is also a symbol of the unifying, universal power of music.

The 15th anniversary of India Instruments also gives us a reason to celebrate! We are planning a courtyard party at our shop in Berlin on 18th or 19th July. There will be a small stage for music, plenty of opportunity for personal experiences with Indian sounds, and nice food and drinks as well. We imagine a colourful event with a friendly atmosphere in Indian ambience. Everybody is welcome! Please let us know if you would like to come and make some artistic or other contributions. Details of the party will be announced in one of our next newsletters.


2. Concert Highlights
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This spring once again offers a wide variety of live concerts with Indian music in Germany and the neighbouring countries. Some of the highlights: Hariprasad Chaurasia (bansuri), the Gundecha Brothers (dhrupad vocal), Tejendra Narayan Mazumdar (sarod) and Sanjay Subramaniam (carnatic vocal) will perform traditional raga music. Prem Joshua & Band and the groups Kadim, Indigo Masala and Ragatala-Emsemble will be touring with world music played on Indian instruments. Deva Premal & Miten and Satyaa & Pari will present mantra concerts. An overview with about 100 dates is available in our online concert calendar - the calendar is updated regularly. Our special thanks goes to sitariya and ethnomusicologist Sebastian Dreyer, who has been updating the concert calendar voluntarily and regularly for the past two years.

Please contact us if you are organising concerts yourself, or if you know about concerts which are not listed in our calendar. We will be happy to list your dates! Just make sure to send all information well ahead of time - AT LEAST one month prior to the scheduled date.


3. Hindu Temple Inauguration in Hannover
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In Hannover the new hindu Muthumariamman-Temple is being ritually inaugurated from March 18th through 22nd. The temple is dedicated to the ancient South Indian folk goddess Mariamman, a manifestation of the great goddess Parwati. Her accompanying animal is the lion. Temple service has been going on in rented rooms since 1995. The construction of the new temple was started in 2007, when the rented rooms became too small. The temple is supported mainly by the Tamil exile community and is meant to be a religious as well as cultural centre for the 5000 hindus in the North German state of Lower Saxony. Further info is available at The Muthumariamman-Temple is the second new hindu temple building in Germany. First was the Kamadchi-Ampal-Temple in Hamm. A new Ganesha-Temple is still under construction in Berlin. A list of nearly 40 other hindu temples in Germany is available here - however these do not reside in their own buildings.

Today Germany has a hindu population of nearly 100.000. About half of them come from Sri Lanka, a third are of Indian origin, 5000 come from Afghanistan and 8000 are Germans or other Europeans. More info (in German) is available at These numbers might seem insignificantly small compared to the total of the German population. However, the ambitous temple constructions show that hindu religion and culture have become a permanent part of multi-cultural reality in Germany.


4. Academy Awards for A.R.Rahman
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The great winner of this year's Academy Awards ceremony was "Slumdog Millionaire" with its plot set in India. Two of its eight Academy Awards went to Indian film music star A.R.Rahman - for the best score and for "Jai Ho" as best original song. These two awards are the peak of A.R.Rahman's career so far. He was born to a Tamil hindu family in the South Indian metropolis of Chennai in 1967, converted to Islan in 1989, took his present name Alla Rakha Rahman, and became India's most successful film music composer, record producer and singer. He wrote the music for more than 50 movies and received dozens of awards. In the wake of the rising popularity of Bollywood cinema he became well-known in the west as well, both for his musical "Bombay Dreams", which was staged in London and New York, and for his score for "Elizabeth - The Golden Kingdom". A.R.Rahman sold more than 100 million records and more than 200 million cassettes worldwide. Time Magazine called him the "Mozart of Madras". With natural aplomb his music combines elements from classical and popular Indian traditions with latest western sounds and technologies. More info on A.R.Rahman is available from his own website and at


5. Double-Bass with Sympathetic Strings
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Sympathetic strings are responsible for the typical overtone-rich sound of many Indian instruments. In the European classical music tradition instruments with sympathetic strings (e.g. the viola d'amore) had been widely used throughout the 17th and 18th centuries as well. However they disappeared nearly completely when equal temperament became more and more dominant in European music. Today instruments rich in overtones reclaim an important place in the work of some experimental Western composers and musicians - largely inspired by Indian sounds. An interesting example in this context is a double-bass with sympathetic strings. It is called "bazantar" by its inventor, Mark Deutsch. The fascinating sound of the bazantar can be heared at and A 10-minute documentary video with background info on concept and construction of this innovative instrument is available at


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