Newsletter May / June 2019


1. India Instruments‘ Anniversary Celebration – Music All Day Through
2. Bina Standard – Sturdy Harmonium for Beginners
3. Kirtan (11) – Kirtan Styles: Bengali & Vrindavan
4. Brief News: Gypsy Meets India, Shankar Lal, Chhandayan New York, Sargam Czech Republic
5. How to Make (Indian) Music? (19) – Letting the Instrument Speak
6. Workshops – July to September
7. Concerts – July to August

1. India Instruments‘ Anniversary Celebration – Music All Day Through
- Invitation -

India Instruments

On Saturday, 17 August, we will celebrate our 25th anniversary with a day full of music at the Haus der Jugend in Berlin! We cordially invite you to join us! The historical villa and its large enchanted garden are a wonderful setting for intense musical enjoyment and carefree summer pleasures. Within walking distance are the Schlachtensee and the Krumme Lanke with their wonderfully refreshing bathing water. In the hall there will be live music from 11 am to midnight - a broad spectrum of what people do with Indian instruments. Kirtan and world music are as much part of it as percussion and Indian ragas. Parallel to the live music we will offer introductory workshops for Indian instruments, rhythms and Indian singing. Play and fun for children will take place in the upper garden. And the lower garden willbe a space for spontaneous sessions. We provide drinks and food. And if the weather is bad, the Haus der Jugend offers enough space to celebrate inside. All this is of course free of charge for our guests!

Stage programme at a glance:
11:00 Next Generation Sitar - Handong Ryu & Nicolai Kopka: Sitar Duo
11:30 Sounds of Tabla - Tabla Ensemble Kamalesh Maitra
12:00 Ancient Tradition - Beate Gatscha: Dhrupad Vocal & Pakhawaj
12:30 Jazz to Contemporary - Rase / Bittmann / Kleinke Trio
13:00 Sing your Soul Kirtan - Reina Berger: Harmonium & Vocal
15:00 The Garden of Stolen Sounds - Hub Hildenbrand: Guitar Solo
16:00 Feel the Groove - Percussion Duo Jens Petersen & Atul Krsna
16:30 Dhrupad-Troubadour - Peter Pannke: Vocal, Ukulele & Setar
17:30 Magic of Rhythm - Nora Thiele: Percussion Solo
18:00 Classical Hindustani Ragas - Sebastian Dreyer: Sitar
20:00 Aoustic Raga Chamber Jazz - Indigo Masala
21:30 Ecstatic Vrindavan Kirtan - Vijay Krsna & Kirtaniyas
23:00 Meditative Night Ragas - Carsten Wicke: Rudra Veena

Workshops at a glance:
11:00 Keys for Beginners - Harmonium with Reina Berger
12:00 Kirtan Grooves - Khol / Mridanga & Kartals with Atul Krsna
13:00 Nada Yoga - Dhrupad Singing with Beate Gatscha
15:00 Vibrant Breath - Bamboo Flute with Jan Rase
16:00 Indian Rhythm - Solkattu & Kanjira with Nora Thiele
17:00 Kirtan Accompaniment – Advanced Harmonium with Conrad Maess
18:00 Healing Voice - Dhrupad Singing with Peter Pannke

The detailed programme is available here.

We wish for a joyful day of encounter, exchange and mutual inspiration in which we can celebrate the power and beauty of music together. Come and join us! And please contact us if you would like to help us locally - we could still use some support!

The hall and workshop rooms have limited capacity. And we don't want to leave anyone hungry or thirsty. So please let us know as soon as possible if you want to come so that we can properly plan the celebration!


2. Bina Standard - Sturdy Harmonium for Beginners
- New im Our Assortment -

Bina was founded in 1935 and is today one of the world's best-known harmonium makers. Bina has a large manufactory in Old Delhi and builds high-quality instruments as well as larger quantities in simple standard. For a long time we have not offered Bina harmoniums because our high quality requirements could not be met. But now we have our own quality control staff in Delhi. This ensures that we only receive instruments that meet our standards. That is why we are now offering a Bina harmonium in our regular range for the first time.

Harmonium Bina Standard

Our new harmonium Bina Standard is ideal for beginners looking for a simple and sturdy instrument with good sound at an affordable price. With its 39 keys, it has a range of three octaves and two semitones. Each note has two reeds in middle and low octave, which can be played separately or together by adjusting the four stops, giving a full, sustaining sound. The bellows, which is opened upwards, unfold and fill automatically when the lock is released. The sliding and removable cover above the key mechanism (jali) allows variations in volume and timbre. The high-gloss natural shellac surfaces give the instrument a classic, elegant look. With a weight of 8.7 kg, the Bina Standard can still be carried easily with one hand in the included bag.

Harmonium Bina Standard

The Bina Standard is currently available in the colours dark red and light brown @ 489 € (plus 6.90 € shipping cost within Europe).

Photos and detailed description.
Overview of our Harmonium assortment.

3. Kirtan (11) – Kirtan Styles: Bengali & Vrindavan
- Series by Atul Krsna -

Kirtan has become ever more popular around the world in the past two decades - and so have the Indian instruments used to accompany it. Atul Krsna, himself an accomplished kirtan percussionist, gives background info on history, styles, musicians and instruments of kirtan in an open series.

Ever since the yoga movement has been flourishing, the Bhakti yoga music style relishes the same privilege. Your yoga class may start with a few OMs supported by harmonium, some kirtans might accompany your mat practice and you may end with a small kirtan - again with harmonium accompaniment. This does not have the same affect as attending a full kirtan presentation, but it gives a little insight of what a kirtan might feel like.

Bhakti yoga is a path to self-realisation. If we go deeper into Bhakti yoga as practiced in temples and ashrams, we can see that anyone can do kirtan. It’s believed that enlightenment can solely be achieved by the practice of singing/chanting. So even without any musical know-how, one is able to feel the power of the mantra, being completely triggered by emotion - thus the theory of the hindu scriptures. Very exalted persons may feel the bhava (Sanskrit for love) even when a kirtan is done completely out of tune and out of rhythm. However, the majority of participants will have a deeper experience when a public kirtan is presented in an appropriate, tasteful and respectful way. Moreover we owe a respectful presentation to the kirtan grandmasters and poets who have transmitted their specific kirtan styles from master to student.

Bengali Style Kirtan (credits Adilokanath Das)

Within the Bhakti movement, Bengali and Vrindavan styles of kirtan are most popular. Westerners like Acyutananda Das and Vaiyasaki Das traveled to India in the late 60s to explore and learn these music styles and became pioneers who introduced them to the western Bhakti world. Both styles have many similarites, such as the usage of harmonium as melody instrument and mostly manjeera as percussion instruments. Furthermore, as being Vaishnavas, they both sing the glories of Radha and Krishna. The Bengali style might also glorify Sri Caitanya (believed to be an incarnation of Krishna who lived in Bengal), is more based on classical Indian ragas, has a variety of different time cycles and uses specific local folk instruments, such as khol, madal, dotara and gopichand. The usage of tabla, dholak and naal is more common in Vrindavan, raga usage in correlation to time has less priority. Another difference comes with the languages used. The Bengali style shares songs in Bengali language and the Vrindavan style uses both Hindi and Brij Bhasha (part of the Western Hindi languages).

Nowdays both styles seem to be melting into each other. Many Bengali pilgrims visit Vrindavan and share their styles of singing and instrument playing. Nowdays the khol is more integrated into the Vrindavan style and even the rhythm cycles seem to blend into each other more. Music will always be evolving and the types of instruments implemented will be ever changing, but the roots are unaltered and allow us to see what intention lies behind these songs. That is the true secret of kirtan.

Vijay Krsna Kirtaniyas Berlin

Vijay Krsna has had the fortune to study in Vrindavan and Bengal, soaking up the mood of the kirtan masters there. with his musical collective called Kirtaniyas he will be traveling Europe once again this summer. Retreats have been arranged in Berlin and in Finland to enable going deeper into kirtan practice. Kirtaniyas will also perform during India Instruments' 25th Anniversary Festival (see above).

Video Bengali style kirtan.
Video Vrindavan style kirtan.
Info on Vijay Krsna's kirtan retreats and other workshops.
Other kirtan events concerts.

4. Brief News: Gypsy Meets India, Shankar Lal, Chhandayan New York, Sargam Czech Republic
- Scene Info -

Gypsy meet India German Record Critics Award for Gypsy Meets India

Gypsy Meets India, the new album by German Sinti guitarist Lulo Reinhardt, has been awarded the German Record Critics' Award for the second quarter of 2019 in the category World Music. The album features Lulo Reinhardt‘s original compositions and has been recorded in Calcutta in 2018 together with the great Indian slide guitarist Debashish Bhattcharya. Debashish's singing daughter Anandi (who released her first solo CD last year), tabla player Subhashis Bhattacharya and percussionist Uli Krämer. Stylistically, the music changes between Sinti swing, flamenco elements and North Indian Raga classics. Worth listening!

Promo video Gypsy Meets India.

Shankar Lal Tabla Player Shankar Lal Deceased

Tabla player Shankar Lal from Calcutta was a student of Keramatullah Khan and settled in Munich at the age of 24. He passed away on 12 February after a long and fulfilling musical life. Shankar Lal was a pioneer of classical Indian music in Germany. He was a tabla teacher at the Freies Musikzentrum Munich, played in various crossover groups, accompanied Indian classical music and led his own tabla ensemble. Many musicians in and around Munich have passed through his school. On 7 June he was honoured with a memorial concert at the Freies Musikzentrum.

Chhandanyan No More Chhandayan All-Night Concerts in New York

Chhandayan is a non-profit American organisation founded by Samir Chatterjee to promote and preserve classical Indian music and dance culture. Every summer, Chhandayan has been hosting an all-night concert with masters of Indian classical music in New York as the highlight of its activities. Thanks to live streams, music lovers worldwide have been able to experience previous all-night concerts directly. But the 20th edition on 19 May (with performances by Pandit Jasraj, Shruti Sadolikar and Debashsih Bhattacharya, among others) has been the final one of this wonderful tradition. The sadness about it is great among the fans, as Samir Chatterjee admitted in a personal statement. He asks his community for further support

and tries to comfort them that everything beautiful is transient, that it is good to stop when it is most beautiful and that it is only a change of direction with the intention to serve society more effectively. The background to this change of direction, however, remains unclear so far.

Chhandayan website.

Sargam – New Support for Classical Indian Music in the Czech RepublicSargam

At the beginning of 2018, a new non-commercial organisation to promote classical Indian music was founded in the Czech Republic. Sargam is the name of the society - after the generic term for the classical Indian note names. When the borders opened after the end of the communist regime in 1989, the popularity of Indian music grew and it became possible to get lessons from Indian masters in the Czech Republic. The late sitarist and Nada Yogi Roop Verma and tabla player Amit Chatterjee, who since then came regularly to the Czech Republic, had a great influence. A group of their students founded Sargam. Sargam intends to organise at least two major concerts and workshops with top artists of classical Indian music per year. To make this possible, Sargam gets financiall support from the Czech Ministry of Culture and the City of Prague. Upcoming projects are a tabla workshop with Florian Schiertz in October and a sarod concert with Ranajit Sengupta in November.

Sargam website.

5. How to Make (Indian) Music? (19) – Letting the Instrument Speak
- Quote by Zakir Hussain -

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

The basic thing about learning Indian music is that you learn all this incredible repertoire, whether it's ragas or rhythm cycles, and all these compositions, which are fabulous, fantastic, rhythmically challenging, etc etc... You're spending so much time executing the repertoire that you don't allow the instrument to speak - you're just telling it what to do. Playing together with Afro-Cuban and Latin percussion instruments revealed to me that my tabla has resonance, that it has tone, that it has harmonics. I discovered what the instrument wants to do. That's a whole different thing.

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 Jazz Talks: Vijay Iyer speaks with Zakir Hussain.

6. Workshops – July to September
- Scene Info -

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

04.07. SE-STOCKHOLM: Kirtan Workshop with Krishna Das
08.07. OBERLAHR: Harmonium Workshop with Vaiyasaki Das
08.07. E-BARCELONA: Kirtan Workshop with Krishna Das
12.-14.07. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium For Beginners with Devadas Mark Janku
13.07. GB-LONDON: Kirtan Workshop with Jai Uttal
15.-19.07. GR-MANI PENINSULA: Kirtan-Retreat with Krishna Das
26.07.-01.08. CH-CAMPERIO/TESSIN: Bharatanatyam Summer Dance Week
28.07. MUNICH: Chanting Workshop with Krishna Das
01.08. GB-GLOUCESTER: Bharatanatyam with Shivaangee Agrawal
04.08. BERLIN: Chanting Workshop with Krishna Das
07.-11.08. FI-FÖRBY: Kirtan Workshop with Vijay Krsna (Kirtaniyas)
09.-15.08. WENDLAND: Classical Indian Dance with P.T.Narendran & Kalamitra
15.-18.08. JESERIG: Harmonium & Mridanga with Kirtaniyas
17.08. BERLIN: India Instruments' Anniversary Festival
16.-18.08. WESTERWALD: Harmonium For Beginners with Marco Büscher
25.08. CH-KIENTAL: Sarvasaar & Naad Yoga with Manish Vyas
06.-08.09. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium For Beginners with Jürgen Wade
07.09. BERLIN: Konnakol - World of Rhythm with Magnus Dauner
16.-23.09. E-SON MOJA, MALLORCA: Bansuri with Stephanie Bosch

7. Concerts – July to August
- Scene Info -

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

03.07. SE-ESLÖV: Jai Uttal - Kirtan
03.07. SE-STOCKHOLM: Krishna Das - Kirtan
05.07. E-BARCELONA: Diverse - Kirtan & Bansuri
05.07. MUNICH: Jai Uttal - Kirtan
05.07. COLOGNE: Maharaj Trio - Sarod, Sitar & Tabla
06.07. MUNICH: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
06.07. E-BARCELONA: Krishna Das - Kirtan
06.07. GB-LONDON: Dancing Nikita Company - Kathak & Bollywood
06.07. SE-ESLÖV: Hanumen - Kirtan
06.07. AUGSBURG: Gayatri & Gertrud Sohler - Bharatnatyam
06.07. MUNICH: Dave Stringer - Kirtan
07.07. OBERLAHR: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
07.07. E-BARCELONA: Bhakti Brothers - Kirtan
07.07. GB-LONDON: Pramita Mallick & Sasha Ghoshal - Tagore Music
07.07. CZ-PRAGUE: Jai Uttal - Kirtan
08.07. OBERLAHR: Prema Hara - Kirtan
08.07. FRANKFURT: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
09.07. OBERLAHR: Vaiyasaki Das - Kirtan
09.07. CHEMNITZ: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
10.07. OBERLAHR: Diverse - Kirtan
10.07. HALLE: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
11.07. GB-LONDON: Jai Uttal - Kirtan
12.07. OBERLAHR: Tarana Chaitanya & Vaiyasaki Das - Kirtan
12.07. NL-AMSTERDAM: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
13.07. GB-LONDON: Dohar - Folk music
13.07. STUTTGART: Debasish Ganguly - Sitar
13.07. GR-ATHENS: Krishna Das - Kirtan
13.07. BERLIN: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
14.07. STUTTGART: Debasish Ganguly - Sitar
19.07. GB-READING: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
20.07. STUTTGART: Manoj Baruah - Violine
21.07. STUTTGART: Manoj Baruah - Violine
21.07. KASSEL: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
23.07. BAD MEINBERG: The Love Keys - Kirtan
24.07. A - WIEN: Krishna Das - Kirtan
26.07. BURG HERZBERG: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
27.07. KÜHLUNGSBORN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
30.07. FRANKFURT: Krishna Das - Kirtan
31.07. EST-KESKLINNA: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
01.08. GB-GLOUCESTER: Shivaangee Agrawal - Bharatnatyam
01.08. F-NANTES: Fanna Fi Allah - Qawwali
02.08. GR-CORFU: Satyaa & Pari - Kirtan
02.08. GB-GLOUCESTER: Balu Raguraman - Violin
02.08. F-SETE: Fanna Fi Allah - Qawwali
02.08. LIT-MOLETAI: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
02.08. HALBERSTADT: Charlotte Madadi - Dilruba
03.08. B-BRUSSELS: Fanna Fi Allah - Qawwali
03.08. DRÜBECK: The Love Keys - Kirtan
04.08. FI-HELSINKI: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
04.08. F-LANVEOC: Fanna Fi Allah - Qawwali
04.08. MINDEN: Charlotte Madadi - Dilruba
06.08. CZ-PRAGUE: Fanna Fi Allah - Qawwali
07.08. BERLIN: Fanna Fi Allah - Qawwali
07.08. FI-NORBY: Kirtaniyas - Kirtan
09.08. LEIPZIG: Fanna Fi Allah - Qawwali
10.08. BONN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
14.08. BG-PRAVETS: Dave Stringer - Kirtan
17.08. BERLIN: India Instruments – Anniversary Celebration
17.08. POGGENHAGEN: Pulsar Trio - Sitar, Piano, Drums
18.08. BERLIN: Carsten Wicke - Rudra Veena
24.08. CH-KIENTAL: Diverse - Kirtan
25.08. CH-KIENTAL: Diverse - Kirtan & M.Shresta - Sarod
25.08. CH-RUSSIKON: The Love Keys - Kirtan
26.08. CH-KIENTAL: Diverse - Kirtan & M.Shresta - Sarod
27.08. BAD MEINBERG: The Love Keys - Kirtan

Go back