Newsletter September 2009

1. Kathak-Footbells in Professional Quality
- New in our Assortment -

Footbells (Ghungroos) transform the rhythmic footwork into audible sound in almost all classical Indian dance forms. In North Indian kathak dance the footwork is particularly complex and esthetically important. Therefore kathak uses the largest number and the heaviest kind of footbells and cares most for the quality of their sound. They need to respond easily and precisely, can not have any reverberation, should be as loud as possible and must have a pleasant sound.

After long research in cooperation with Ioanna Srinivasan, director of the Academy of Kathak Dance in Berlin, India Instruments is now able to offer kathak ghungroos in real professional quality. They are bound into a cotton cord and have 100 brass bells with a weight of 0,73 kg per foot, giving a total of 200 bells with 1,46 kg per pair. The pair is available EURO 69,- € (+ 9,90 € shippig cost within Europe). Pictures of the professional kathak ghungroos.


2. 15 % Discount on Sitars & Sarods
- Special Offers -

Our 6 months long 15 % discount offer in celebration of India Instruments' 15th anniversary is ending this month. Only until September 30th there is still a 15 % discount off the normal price of all sitars, surbaharas and sarods - from simple beginners' models through the professional instruments! Overviews are available here:

All ordered instrument purchases will be reckoned from the date of the order. The offer applies from as long as supplies last. During this discount each purchaser will receive a free postcard of Saraswati. As patron goddess of music, she is revered by Hindus and Muslims alike as a symbol of the unifying and universal power of music.


3. Obituary to Ali Akbar Khan
- New in our Assortment -

The great sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan passed away in his house close to San Francisco at age 87 on June 18th, 2009. Khansahib, as he was fondly called by his admirers, had been suffering from kidney ailment for the last couple of years and had been depending upon regular dialysis. He was surrounded by his family and close disciples. Even on his deathbed he kept teaching them the evening before he died - he sang raga durga as his last lesson. With Ali Akbar Khan the world of music has lost one of its most charismatic personalities.

The press in India as well as leading papers in the West (e.g. New York Times and Frankfurter Rundschau) have printed elaborate obituaries. India Instruments has contributed with a special newsletter dedicated exclusively to Khansahib. It contained a short biographical survey, a collection of links and the story of Yogendra's (student of Khansahib from 1987 - 2000) meetings with Khansahib. Yogendra's very personal narration has triggered lots of positive feedback and will be printed in the October issue of the German monthly Connection Spirit. It can be read at (the text is only available in German).

As a continuation and completion Yogendra has now written a new text, showing a picture of Ali Akbar Khan as a teacher, musician and human being. Instead of presenting objective data Yogendra has once again chosen a very personal, subjective approach, trying to get close to the essence of Khansahib's work and being. The German text, titled "Music is Food for the Soul", is available in the network section of our site.

4. Successful Hommage to Vilayat Khan
- Hommage by Ingo Anhenn -

It is often heard that non-native performers of traditional art forms are basically guests or even robbers - handicaped in learning the art and faulty and / or superficial in their performance. This argument is sometimes used by nationalistic Indians when Europeans or Americans grab a tabla, sitar or their vocal chords and play Indian classical music. The argument seems to be supported by beginners playing anxiously and enthusiastically out of tune - and presenting their fruitless efforts on the internet. However years and years of working through the fine mists of besurism (playing out of tune) in search for the right tone are an essential part of learning Indian classical music, and the sheer quantity of beginners' videos only proves that camera and internet are more easily available than composure and patience. The spurious argument gets its death blow by this beautiful hommage to a really great sitar player - performed excellently, with great finesse and in full accordance with the spirit of the gharana by French Brigitte Menon: (first of six parts, her bhairavi is great, too).


5. Newsletter Archive
- Company Info -

An overview of all our previous newsletters in English is now available. It includes a list of topics for each newsletter. That way it becomes easy and interesting to browse old issues and look for specific themes.

6. Harmonium Master Appa Jalgaonkar Passed Away
- Orbituary -

Harmonium-master Appa Jalgaonkar passed away on september 16th at age 87 in Pune. He was well-known as accompanist of singer Bhimsen Joshi. However, Appa Jalgaonkar also played with singers like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Hirabai Barodekar, Roshanara Begum, Gangubai Hangal, Vasantrao Deshpande, Kumar Gandharva, Kishori Amonkar and Pandit Jasraj. He was also sought-after as accompanist for tabla solo concerts and kathak dance performances by stalwarts like Ahmedjan Thirakwa, Alla Rakha, Kishan Maharaj, Samta Prasad, Zakir Hussain, Rohini Bhate and Birju Maharaj. Since the 1970s he also performed as a soloist. For his achievements in harmonium playing he received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. In the last decade he has retired from the concert platform due to his bad health. Further info is available at

Go back