Newsletter November / December 2016

1. Christmas Sale - CDs & DVDs with 50% Discount
2. Shipping Cost – Massive Price Reduction in Europe
3. Veena Sahasrabuddhe – Authentic Voice of Gwalior
4. Fresh Breeze in Ancient Tradition (3/4) – Dhrupad Cello
5. Let's Get Loud - Sound Pickup for Indian String Instruments (2/2)
6. How to Make (Indian) Music? (4) - Shelter in Pure Being
7. Workshops – December to February 8. Concerts - December to January


1. Christmas Sale - CDs & DVDs with 50% Discount 
-Special Offer-

Still looking for a Christmas gift? Browse our assortment of CDs and DVDs! You get them with 50% discount until December 24th!

CDs Classical Indian music provides listening pleasure for discerning art lovers and is also used to support meditation, nada yoga and dosha balancing in ayurveda. Popular instruments are sitar, sarod, bamboo flute, santoor and tabla. In India the human voice is considered the noblest instrument and the origin of all music. Therefore, we offer a wide range of vocal music from female and male soloists as well. In addition to classical Indian music, we offer a wealth of other styles from fusion and world music through bhajans, thumri and ghazal, mantras, qawwali and regional folk music to film and dance music. An overview of all CD categories is available here.

DVDsThe essence of Indian music is improvisation, making each concert new and unique. Films convey much more of the atmosphere of a live concert than CDs. In addition, they are also perfect study material for advanced playing techniques. An overview of our live concert video DVDs with sitar, sarod, vocal, bamboo flute, santur, slide guitar and violin is available here.

And the best part: Any order that reaches us until December 24th gets 50% discount! Get your favourite CDs or DVDs - and pay only half the regular price! This special offer is valid for all CDs and DVDs, except of those listed as teaching material in our section Learning & Practice. And it is only valid as long as stocks lasts. We do not order CDs and DVDs any more - what's gone is gone ...

2. Shipping Cost – Massive Price Reduction in Europe
- Company Info -


For years, we have kept our shipping fees unchanged and charged different fees for shipments inside and outside Germany. Now the time is ripe to tear down borders within Europe and offer uniform fees! This means massive cost reductions for all customers living in Europe! Here is an overview of our new shipping fees, applicable since December 1st and consistant all over Europe:

* Small shipments in letter format (e.g. media, strings, small spare parts) are 3.60 Euros.

* The former mini parcel fee is not available any more due to lack of demand.

* The former exclusive German parcel fee of 6.90 Euros (e.g. harmoniums, shrutiboxes, tablas) is now available all over Europe – which means savings of 65% on shipping for European customers!

* Our new all-European fee for oversized parcels is 39.90 Euros – 43% down for all Europeans!

* The former exclusive German bulky parcel fee of 24.90 Euros is now valid throughout Europe, too - saving nearly 40%!

* Further info on weight, size and value limits as well as other details here.

The above mentioned fees include 19% German VAT. Customers in European countries which are not members of the European Union (e.g. Switzerland, Norway, Turkey) pay VAT-free lower fees. Customers outside Europe still get fees on request.

3. Veena Sahasrabuddhe – Authentic Voice of Gwalior
- Obituary by Yogendra -

The Gwalior Gharana is one of the oldest schools of classical North Indian khyal singing. Its roots go back to the 16th century - the legendary singer Tansen, court musician in the service of mogul emperor Akbar the Great, was born in Gwalior. The brothers Haddu, Hassu and Natthu Khan coined the Gwalior style practiced to this day in the first half of the 19th century. Gwalior singer Vishnu Digambar Paluskar made essential contributions to raga music's transition from exclusive feudal art to national cultural heritage and public accessibility in the beginning of the 20th century. Since the 1980s Veena Sahasrabuddhe has probably been the most outstanding artist of the Gwalior Gharana.

Carsten Wicke Born in 1948, Veena Sahasrabuddhe was the last of three siblings. Her father Shankar Shripad Bodas was one of the first students of Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. Paluskar sent him to Kanpur in 1926 to found a school for raga music. Bodas' wife Shanta was also a classical singer and taught music at schools in Kanpur. Thus young Veena grew up surrounded by music from the very beginning. After her basic training with her parents, she continued to learn with Balwant Rai Bhatt and Vasant Thakar, also singers of the Gwalior Gharana. In addition, she studied English, Sanskrit and music at Kanpur University. In 1968 she married Hari Sahasrabuddhe, a passionate music lover, who always supported her artistic career – not a matter of course in India at that time.

From a young age Veena Sahasrabuddhe gave concerts and taught numerous students in Kanpur. She became widely known through her performance at the prestigious Sawai Gandharwa Music Festival in Pune in 1984. Afterwards, her reputation spread throughout India and internationally. In spite of her success, Veena further refined her art by studying with Gajananrao Joshi, one of the most influential singing teachers of his time. Throughout her whole life she did not only want to experience music but also to understand it. Over 25 years were filled with countless concerts, touring, recording and tireless teaching. At the end of her concerts, she would often sing a Kabir bhajan and became a trendsetter with that habit. With her powerful voice, the rich repertoire of ragas and compositions, the absence of any show elements and her deep musical understanding, she embodied the essence of the raga tradition: to become a medium for a music that flows spontaneously and boundlessly in the moment, giving meaning to every tone and creating harmony between artists and listeners.

In 2012, Veena Sahasrabuddhe was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, an incurable neurological disease that forced her to terminate her singing career. In 2013, she was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her work, already sitting in a wheelchair. As we have only recently learned, she has died on 29th June at the age of 67.

At the moment there are still four live CDs with great classic raga interpretations by Veena Sahasrabuddhe in our assortment.  Her singing is also available on two CDs of the wonderful series Bhaktimala from the 1990s. Bhaktimala presents songs with dedication to certain deities, sung by some of the best classical Indian vocalists in traditional arrangements. All these CDs are available with 50% discount until December 24th - and only as long as stocks last!

Bhaktimala Ganesh Vol. 2 (Track 5 – 7 Veena Sahasrabuddhe).
Maestro's Choice Ragas Abhogi & Jog.
Masterclass Raga Rageshri.

4. Fresh Breeze in Ancient Tradition (3/4) – Dhrupad Cello
-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...

In the summer of 1982 the young American Nancy Lesh went on a holiday trip to India. She was a classical Western cellist, had three months' leave from her job at an orchestra in Florence and was curious about a strange, exotic country. The smell of spices and fire places, which struck her right after landing in Mumbai, awakened a homely feeling in her. The next day she wore sari and bindi. The cello was, of course, with her on the journey. During the day she played Bach suites in parks and hotel lobbies - and in the evenings, she visited concerts in the vibrant metropolis and discovered with fascination the variety and depth of classical Indian music. After a month in Mumbai her enthusiasm became so great that Nancy wanted to learn this music on her cello. She started a round trip through India to find a teacher and finally met Ritwik Sanyal in Varanasi. He gave her a lesson in dhrupad – although the didn't have slightest idea about this style or had ever listened to it before.

CelloThis first lesson struck a chord in Nancy: She could easily transfer the nuances of the vocal line to the deep, warm sound of the cello and immediately knew that this was her music. When her three-month vacation was over, she sent a notice of termination to Florence and immersed herself completely into the world of dhrupad. For two years she studied with Ritwik Sanyal and then another five years with his guru Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, the great master of the rudra veena. After Zia Mohiuddin's death in 1990, she went back to the USA and gave dhrupad concerts on the cello. On annual trips to India, she continued her studies with Zia Mohiuddin's brother, the singer Zia Fariduddin Dagar.

In order to be able to adapt dhrupad to the cello as authentically as possible, Nancy has made various modifications, both in her playing technique and on her instrument. Instead of sitting on a chair in classical western fashion, she plays sitting on the floor according to Indian custom - and thus on one level with the pakhawaj drummer usually accompanying dhrupad. In her playing technique, she has eliminated the strong vibrato of western classic music, so that she can clearly articulate the dhrupad subtleties in intonation and ornamentation. The upper saddle of her cello has a curved surface in order to add overtones to the sound. And finally, she has added two high strings tuned to the tonic to her instrument, so-called chikaris, which are typical for plucked Indian string instruments such as sitar, sarod, and of course, the rudra veena. With these chikaris Nancy can play rhythmic accents, contrast the rather dark sound of the cello and play complex rhythmic textures similar to those of the rudra veena.

After nearly 20 years of commuting between Asia and America, Nancy finally settled down in the Indian city Pune in 2008. There she lives until today under the name of Nancy Lesh Kulkarni, teaching with her self-created dhrupad cello and travelling to concerts all over India and the world. One may be curious to see whether her pioneering work will inspire enough other aspiring musicians to take to cello and make this instrument widely accepted in the Indian classical traditions one day.

Nancy Lesh Kulkarni's YouTube channel. Nancy Lesh Kulkarni.
Nancy's Website.

5. Let's Get Loud - Sound Pickup for Indian String Instruments (2/2)
-Practical Tips from Ashok Nair -

Ashok Nair is a sitarist and electrical engineer. In this 2-part essay he gives an overview of the sound pickup possibilities for Indian string instruments for concerts or recordings. The first part dealt with different types of microphones, magnetic pickups and piezo sensors.

KontaktmikroContact microphones and piezo sensors are attached to the instrument either with a paste or with adhesive tape. They have two main advantages: They do not restrict the musician's  freedom of movement and entry-level models are already available from 40 Euros onwards. Contact microphones work according to the same principle as condenser mics. However they only pick up the sound at their position. Their sound is therefore very strong in mid range and has satisfactory bass but the treble is represented only roughly.

The contact microphone C411 from AKG is probably the most popular model with classical Indian musicians. Its price of 115 Euros is in the lower middle range for this type of amplification. Its scope of delivery includes an adhesive which is applied to the contact mic. It is usually placed on the top of the instrument near the bridge. The most expensive contact microphone comes from manufacturer Schertler and has already been used by Ravi Shankar. The price is around 450 Euros. The sound is warm and round. But treble resolution is weak with this product line, too.

In 2013 Carlos Juan Amplification introduced the fully convincing contact microphone CS Sensor. Its price of 238 Euros is in the middle segment. Unlike other models, it is not set in a metal housing, but in a carbon housing from the aircraft industry. It is applied to the instrument with double-sided adhesive tape. At the end of the cable is a jack socket, into which a conventional guitar cable is inserted. This jack socket can also be built into a string instrument. The sound is far superior to all other contact mics and piezo sensors. Round basses, warm mids and brilliant, fine-pitched treble appear in the sound as if a high-quality condenser microphone was used.

The Carlos CS Sensor is suitable for all Indian stringed instruments. The production is handmade in Stuttgart, Germany. Carlos Juan Amplification has made a name for itself worldwide through innovations in acoustic amplification for guitars. Customers include guitarists such as Eric Clapton, George Benson, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana and Al Di Meola. Detailed information and exclusive distribution of the CS sensor can be found at Buddha Systems.

The selection of the sound pickup technique should take several factors into account: area of application, price, sound quality, handling and looks. When Indian string instruments play together with electric or loud instruments, e.g. drums, a contact mic system is definitely recommended. Acoustic feedback from other instruments is thereby excluded and the sound engineer gets a reliabe signal that can easily be handled in the mix. With regard to monitoring, contact microphones and similar technologies are the best solution, too.

For classical Indian concerts with few musicians on stage, e.g. sitar and tabla, I recommend conventional condenser microphones like Rode's NT3 or a very high-quality contact microphone like the CS Sensor. Looking at the costs it is to be considered that a microphone always needs a stand, which costs approximately 45 Euros extra. In terms of looks a piezo sensor or a contact microphone is the better choice. The freedom of movement is also in no way restricted by these techniques. All techniques are more or less level in handling. The easiest way of performing is when the musician only has to plug in a cable and can start off without a long soundcheck. In that sense a firmly installed piezo sensor or a magnetic pickup are unbeatable.

6. How to Make (Indian) Music? (4) – Shelter in Pure Being
-Quote by Ali Akbar Khan -

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

Our sages developed music from time immemorial for the mind to take shelter in that pure being which stands apart as one's true self. Real music is not for wealth, not for honours, or not even for the joys of the mind – it is one kind of yoga, a path for realisation and salvation to purify your mind and heart and give you longevity.

From: Khan, Ali Akbar / Ruckert, George (editor): The Classical Music of India - Vol. 1: The First Year's Study (check details on this book here)

7.Workshops – December to February
- Scene Info -

Details of all workshops are available in our website's network section at the workshop page.

Sayeeduddin Dagar

15.12. - 18.12. F - SAULTAIN / VALENCIENNES: Dhrupad avec Sayeeduddin Dagar
26.12. - 01.01. OBERLAHR: Mantras, Kirtans and Bhajans with Sundaram
13.01. - 15.01. BAD MEINBERG: Harmonium Basics with Jürgen Wade
20.01. - 22.01. WEMMETSWEILER: Raga & Tala Intensive Sitar with Yogendra
05.02. BREMEN: Bansuri with Hariprasad Chaurasia
10.02. - 12.02. OBERLAHR: Harmonium Basics with Manuja Ferrari

8. Concerts - December to January
-Scene Info -

More detailed information, locations and times as well as further dates in our concert calendar.

Satyaa Pari

17.12. COLOGNE: Satyaa & Pari - Kirtan
17.12. CH - ZURICH: Matthias Roth, 2Ram & Rasachants - Kirtan
19.12. BERLIN: Hartmut Schmidt - Thullal Dance Theatre
21.01. UBERLINGEN: Satyaa & Pari – Kirtan
22.01. BADEN-BADEN: Ambi Subramanaiam - Karnatik Violin
26.01. BREMEN: Willy Schwarz - Vichitra Vina
04.02. BREMEN: Hariprasad Chaurasia - Bansuri

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