15 December 2010

I've succumbed to the season. On this ultimate Komodo Dragon Show of 2010, I present Messiaen's outré Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus and Schütz's dank Christmas oratorio. I will have found my way back when the broadcast resumes on 5 January 2011.

1. Olivier ("Je suis complètement fou") Messiaen: Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus (1944)
Louise Bessette - piano
Atma Classique, ACD 2 2219/20
127:28
("Contemplation of the Christ child in the manger and the gazes which fall upon him.")

2. Heinrich Schütz: Histora der Geburt Jesu Christi (1664)
Frieder Bernius - conductor, Musica Fiata Köln, Barockorchester Stuttgart
Sony, SK 45943
32'
(Canadians, imagine you're listening to CBC Stereo's Choral Concert ca. 1989.)

01 December 2010

The Komodo goes comodo. Tune in for an exposé of Râstpanjgâh, the most rarely-performed of Iranian classical modes, which is said to set a "mood conducive to thinking, concentration and enlightenment." We are a University after all.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Dastgâh-e Navâ & Avâz Bayât-e Kord (rec. 1994)
Hossein Alizâdeh - tar, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Musique iranienne, improvisations
Buda Records, 92622-2
57'

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

2. Dastgâh-e Râstpanjgâh (rec. 1996)
Hossein Alizâdeh - tar, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Mahoor Institute of Culture and Art, M.CD-186
61'
(The Ionian mode, or major scale on F.)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

3. Dastgâh-e Râstpanjgâh (rec. 2008)
Mozafar Shafii - voice, Farid Kheradmand - tombak, Rezâ Parviz-Zâde - kemanche, Behnâz Behnâm-Niâ - oud, Leyli Atashkâr - setar
Iran: Mozafar Shafii et l'Ensemble Râst
Ocora, C 560228
40'

24 November 2010

The Persian Classical mode Dastgâh-e Shur and its daughters. A musical Aufwachsmittel (wake-up potion).

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

†1. Avâz-e Abu Ata
10:09
("Abu Ata is purple or bright coffee in color and seems to be best played from noon until four in the afternoon. Its element is earth and its mystic connotation ranges from shariat (the law) to tariqat (the path)." This, and the following descriptions, are taken from the Foundation for Iranian Studies website, which looks like an authoritative source.)

†2. Avâz-e Bayat Zand
13:41
(Those opening arpeggios are a surprise. Also called Bayat Turk. "Turk seems to be smoke color or black and fits the hours from noon until four in the afternoon. Its element is earth and its mystic connotation is shariat (the law).")

†3. Avâz-e Afshari
11:44
("Afshari is burnt brown and fits the hours from noon till four in the afternoon. Its element is earth and its mystic connotation ranges from shariat (the law) to tariqat (the path).")

†4. Avâz-e Dashti
11:03
("Dashti seems brown, and its time might be in the afternoon from noon until four o'clock. Its element is earth and its mystic connotation ranges from shariat (the law) to tariqat (the path).")

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

5. Avâz-e Abuata (rec. 2008)
Kiu Haghighi - santur & dombak
Kiu Haghighi, Santour Virtuoso: Musical Mosaic
KH Productions, 00261 24105
36'

6. Avâz-e Dashti
(rec. 1992)
Hossein 'Omoumi - ney, Madjid Khaladj - tombak, Rezâ Majubi - violin
The Song of the Ney
Nimbus Records, NI 7060/1
13:02

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

†7. Dastgâh-e Shur
14:54
(Scale of Shur on finalis G = E½b F G A½b Bb C D(natural in ascending lines; ½b in descending lines) Eb. Note that the lower 6th scale degree is sharper than the upper 6th degree by a quarter tone. That's not as weird as it sounds; the microtonal inflections are governed by melodic movement. "Shur is fire red in color and is best played from late morning until noon. The element associated with Shur is fire [the pre-Islamic Persians were fire-worshippers] and its mystic connotation ranges from tariqat (the path) to marafat (gnosis). Shur demands concentration on the part of the listener and is good for meditation. It is one of the most important dastgâh and was called the "mother of modes" by the ancients. Five [sic] auxiliary modes are associated with Shur." The four auxiliary modes called avâz (don't ask me how they're derived – I'm still working on it) are the ones broadcast in the previous two hours.)

†Tracks 1-4 & 7 (rec. 2006)
Fakhri Malekpour - Persian-tuned piano
Fakhri Malekpour: Mashqe Ostad
Avaye Honar & Andisheh Institute of Culture and Art, n.n.
(Persian piano technique calls for more ornamentation – rolls, tremolos, and accents – than its Western-European counterpart. The left hand shadows in outline form the melody in the right, per the performer's taste. In other words, there's no harmony but some are tempted.)

8. Dastgâh-e Shur (rec. 1976-79)
Daryoush Tala'i - tar
, Djamchid Chemirani - tombak
Musique iranienne
Harmonia mundi, HMA 190391
25:36

9. Dastgâh-e Shur
4:41

10. Layli (first section)
3:45

11. Layli (second section)
2:53

12. Shahrashub
2:23

Tracks 9-12 (rec. 1995)
Jalal Zolfonun - setar, Soheil Zolfonun - setar, Bijan Zangeneh - daf & tombak
Kord Bayat: Traditional Music from Iran
Music of the World, CDT-134

17 November 2010

I learned myself Farsi in order to present this episode. The Persian-tuned piano sounds a lot like the santur [hammered dulcimer], and vice versa. Bear with me as I describe the dastgâhs [modal system of Persian classical music] from a dilettante's point of view.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

†1. Dastgâh-e Homayoun
17:58
("Humâyân, meaning "lucky" or "fortunate", has a touching character and contains the most sentimental gûsheh-s [melodies] of the radîf [repertoire].")

*2. Dastgâh-e Homayoun
28:17
(Listen attentively.)

†3. Dastgâh-e Segah
13:32
("... Segâh bring[s] about a state of calm and concentration...." = equanimity.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

†4. Dastgâh-e Chahargah
14:24
("Chahargah['s] bold, martial accents are supposed to excite the passions...")

*5. Dastgâh-e Chahargah
28:44
(You tell me the mood of this mode at kds(at)umfm(dot)com, and you'll win a Komodo Dragon Show T-shirt.)

*Tracks 2 & 5 (rec. 1992)
Hossein 'Omoumi - ney, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
The Song of the Ney
Nimbus Records, NI 7060/1

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

6. Avâz-e Abuata (rec. 2008)
Kiu Haghighi - santur & dombak
Kiu Haghighi, Santour Virtuoso: Musical Mosaic
KH Productions, 00261 24105
36'
("Abu Ata is purple or bright coffee in color and seems to be best played from noon until four in the afternoon. Its element is earth and its mystic connotation ranges from shariat (the law) to tariqat (the path)." This, and other useful information from the Foundation for Iranian Studies.)

7. Dastgâh-e Nava
9:28
("... somber, dignified and serious... the reflective mode favored by the Sufis...")

8. Dastgâh-e Rastpanjgah
12:53
("... set[s] a mood conducive to thinking, concentration and enlightenment.")

†Tracks 1, 3, 4, 7 & 8 (rec. 2006)
Fakhri Malekpour - Persian-tuned piano
Fakhri Malekpour: Mashqe Ostad
Avaye Honar & Andisheh Institute of Culture and Art, n.n.
(Pianist Fakhri Malekpour resists her fingers picking out V-I root movement unlike some of her younger colleagues. It's a tonal temptation when you've got a keyboard in front of you. We will hear from her again next week.)

10 November 2010

Music for 1/4, 5/16, and 3/8 of a tone. Charles Ives asks: "If an addition of a series of smaller tone divisions is to be added to our semi-tone system to help round out our souls, how much of a fight will the ears have to put up?" (Emphasis is mine.) I will ease you gently into the quarter-tone world over the next three hours.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Charles Ives: Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos (1903-23)
Herbert Henck - piano, Deborah Richards - second piano
Charles Ives: Piano Pieces
Wergo, WER 60112-50
13:16
(A sandwich.)

2. Henry Mancini: Excerpts from Wait until Dark OST (1967)
Henry Mancini - conductor
Wait until Dark Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film Score Monthly, Vol.10 No.7
43'
(Something you'd sooner expect from Morricone: pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart set the tone for this suspense thriller. I skip the pop song (it was too clashy even for me), but the Manciniesque source cues remain. It makes for a variegated listening experience nonetheless. My only criticism is that Mancini doesn't exploit the quarter-tones to their full potential.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 11:00am

3. same as track 1

4. Jack Behrens: Utopianism for found piano (1994)
Jack Behrens - piano
Sound Ecology 3: Perception
Musicworks, 64
6:36
(A severely out-of-tune piano, abused by years of environmental extremes. Jack Behrens writes: "Each piano key had to be considered as an individual sound source, not necessarily related in any rational manner to the other eighty-four." Rational in the mathematical sense of whole number ratios, i.e. Pythagorean tuning. I will broadcast this piece twice.)

5. Getting in Tune (rec. 2005)
Ramin Zoufonoun - Persian-tuned piano, Abbas Etemadzadeh - tombak & daf, Jamshid Zarringhalam - voice
Getting in Tune: Improvisations on Persian-Tuned Piano
Ramin Zoufonoun, n.n.
56:00
(Did I hear right? Is that a V-I root movement in the bass? Below, an example of Persian-tuned piano technique. Hey, if your music was monodic, you'd tickle the ivories like this too.)

03 November 2010

Persian Percussion Fortnight continues on the Komodo Dragon Show. This week's episode is tombak-heavy.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Anthologie des rythmes iraniens Vol.1: Le répertoire fondamental de Maître Tehrâni (rec. 1997)
Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Buda Records, 92672-2
54:13
(A primer of basic rhythmic patterns..)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

2. Iran: L'art du tombak (zarb) (rec. 1993)
Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Buda Records, 92594-2
61:15
(Improvisations within the basic rhythms.)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

3. Whisper: Kurdish Tanbur Music of Iran (rec. 2000)
Aliakbar Moradi - tanbur, Pejman Hadadi - tombak, daf & nagada [small kettledrums]
Kereshmeh Records, KCD-111
48:31
(Two solid hours of tombak make me a little punchy. Here's stress-relief.)

27 October 2010

From now till December it's Persian Percussion Fortnight on the Komodo Dragon Show. This week: Madjid Khaladj unpacks his trunk, from âyineh' to zang. Persian classical music is the daughter of classical poetry. "The poem chosen for a musical composition is the essential spring from which the music's tones and rhythms flow." And percussion masters conjure melodies on what are essentially instruments of indefinite pitch.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Anthologie des rythmes iraniens Vol.2 (rec. 1999)
Madjid Khaladj - daf [frame drum] , dayreh [small frame drum] & zang-é saringôshti - [finger cymbals]
Buda Records, 92741-2
50:05

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

2. Nafas: Infinite Breath (rec. 2005)
Madjid Khaladj - tombak [goblet drum out of wood], daf, dayreh, zang-é saringôshti, dohôl [double-headed drum], tombak-é zukhâneh [goblet drum out of clay], senj [large brass cymbals], zang [bell], zanguleh [small bell], âyineh' pil [large metal drum] & voice
Bâ Music Records, BACD3
49:12

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

3. Percussions d'Iran (rec. 2000)
Madjid Khaladj - tombak, daf, dayreh, zang-é saringôshti & voice
Buda Records, 1978152
45:08

(And now for something completely different... Galileo's father.)
4. Vincenzo Galilei: Calliope (1584)
1:05

5. Vincenzo Galilei: Ricercare del primo tuono per b quadro (1583)
1:11

6. Vincenzo Galilei: Ricercare a quattro voci di B. M. (1583)
3:02

7. Vincenzo Galilei: Ricercare del secondo tuono per b quadro (1583)
1:20

Tracks 4-7
Andrea Damiani - lute
Vincenzo Galilei: Fronimo: Dialogo sopra l'Arte del bene intavolare et rettamente sonare la Musica
Stradivarius, STR 33482

20 October 2010

The A to Z of Alizâdeh, today, on Alizâdeh Day, eh? Join me for three hours of Persian lute music, on three kinds of lute.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Improvisations in Avâz-e Esfahân (rec. 2000)
Hossein Alizâdeh - tar, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Iran: Les maîtres de l'improvisation
Buda Records, 1986082
49:13
(Tar = a six-string long-necked lute played with a plectrum, the "favourite instrument of last century's great masters," sports a body that (probably not coincidentally) looks like two hearts joined at the tip. Esfahân mode "evoke[s] love and separation.")

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

2.
Improvisation in Dastgâh-e Navâ (rec. 1993)
Hossein Alizâdeh - setar, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Alizâdeh Live at the Los Angeles Festival
Kereshmeh Records, KCD-105
59:37
(Setar = a four-string lute with a "delicacy and intimate sonority, ...the preferred instrument of Sufi mystics." Navâ mode is "rather serene and meditative.")

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

3. Une épopée spirituelle (rec. intermittently 1960-71)
Ostad Elahi - tanbur & voice
Une épopée spirituelle: L'art du luth oriental tanbur
Le chant du monde, 7741432

57:20
(Tanbur = three-string lute, "the ancestor of most [Iranian] plucked, string instruments," "a sacred instrument associated with the Kurdish Sufi music of Western Iran." A suite in four movements, assembled from a decade's worth of private recordings, traverses "the fundamental states of the soul: loss, nostalgia, separation, as well as union and return" via archaic and religious melodies, finishing with a dance tune. "The domains of the secular and sacred are not as clear-cut in eastern culture as they are in the occidental world." I will deliver my lecture on paying attention soon. In the meantime, see this story from the BBC here.)

13 October 2010

The October surprise is here! The October surprise is here!

But first, who said this: "The social situation has changed and now the youth are after simple things. They have not learned to listen to classical music in their childhood or even at schools. Classical pieces are like classic literature and not many people have the time to read and comprehend literature. I believe if the public sector or other sponsors do not take action, we will not perform any of these kinds of works in the near future."?

Those are the words of Armenian-Iranian composer and conductor Loris Tjeknavorian, interviewed on the occasion of his being awarded the "Austrian Presidential Gold Medal of Merit" in 2008. Apparently youth are going to hell in a handbasket all over the globe.

Tjeknavorian (he hasn't answered my emails)'s opera Rostam & Sohrab is based on a tragic episode from the Shâhnameh, the 1000-year-old Persian national epic, where the hero Rostam kills his long-lost son on the battlefield. "The battle has been fought and the son has been vanquished by his father.... When the Iranians finally discovered the grief-stricken Rostam, he tried to kill himself but they restrained him." Well, what did you expect, a happy ending?

The motion picture Half Moon could be subtitled Road to Iraqi Kurdistan, with the Dorothy Lamour part taken by... well, the regime doesn't permit women to sing in public.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:30am

1. Loris Tjeknavorian: Rostam & Sohrab
Text from the Shâhnameh by Ferdowsi (late 10th-early 11th century)
Loris Tjeknavorian - conductor, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, Konstantin Simonyan - Rostam, Sarkis Torsyan - Sohrab, Gayane Grigoryan - Tahmineh, Arnold Kocharyan - King of Samangan & Afrasaib, Surik Zurabyan - narrator
Hermes Records, HER-003
97'

Set #2 - 9:30am - 11:00am

2. Hossein Alizadeh: Half Moon/Nive Mang (2007)
Hamavayan Ensemble: Parvin Namazi - voice; Mostafa Mohammadi - voice; Reza Askarzadeh - duduk [double reed]; Ali Boustan - oud; Nima Alizadeh - robab [short-necked lute]; Saba Alizadeh - kamancheh [spike fiddle] & qeychak [bowed string instrument]; Ali Rahimi - daf [frame drum] & percussion; Hossein Alizadeh - diwan [?]
Half Moon/Nive Mang Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Bâ Music Records, BACD7
41'

3. Loris Tjeknavorian: Danses fantastiques (1961)
Loris Tjeknavorian - conductor, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra
ASV, CD DCA 884
18'

06 October 2010

The Komodo Dragon Show is pre-empted this week due to renovations at UMFM master control. I'll return to the air with an October surprise next Wednesday at the usual time: 8-11am CT, and the usual frequency: 101.5 / www.umfm.com. Details about ordering the limited-edition collectors' mugs and T-shirts will be available soon. Check and comment on the design here: http://theartofgregoakes.blogspot.com/2010/08/komodo-dragon-show.html

29 September 2010

Your eccentric ethnomusicologist presents three whole albums (you can do that on college radio). Today's show's trajectory: Persian classical improvisation ⇨ just across the frontiers of ethnic Muzak.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am
Kazem Davoudian - santur [hammered dulcimer]; Kaveh Mazhari - daf [frame drum], dohol [double-headed drum] & tombak [goblet drum]
Kazem Davoudian, n.n.
52:45

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am
Zarbang: Behnam Samani - daf, tombak, dammam [large drum], udu [clay water jug] & daayereh [frame drum with jingles]; Hakim Ludin - water drums, congas, natural effects(?), pendarik [South American frame drum?], cajón [box drum] & kanjira [South Indian frame drum]; Pejman Hadadi - tombak, daf & tunable frame drums; Javid Afsari Rad - santur & naghaareh [kettledrums]; Reza Samani - tombak, daf, sorna [double-reed] & ney-anban [bagpipe]
Arc Music, EUCD 1969
56:49
(Primarily a posse of Persian percussion players plus a few "exotics" from India and the New World.)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

3.
Gulistan: Rose Garden (1998-2000)
Ross Daly - lyra crétoise [Cretan lyre, i.e. bowed string instrument], laouto [Greek lute], saz [long-necked lute], robab [short-necked lute]; Socrates Sinopoulos - kamancheh [spike fiddle], laouto; Tigran Sarkissian - duduk [double-reed]; Henri Agnel - cetera [cittern], oud, rebec [bowed string instrument]; Keyvan Chemirani - tombak, daf & udu; Djamchid Chemirani - tombak; Bijan Chemirani - artistic director, tombak, daf, riq [Arabian small tambourine], tambourine, darbouka [goblet drum], udu, cajón & kamancheh; Manu Théron - voice
Bijan Chemirani: Gulistan: Jardin des roses/Rose Garden
L'empreinte digitale, ED 13127
62:18
(The ensemble has expanded to take in musical instruments from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and medieval Europe – that swath of musical borrowing and hegemony.)

22 September 2010

Last week I presented Classical Iranian music played on the jerry-rigged Western violin. This week, in technicolor, the real deal: the kamancheh, or spiked fiddle.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

*1. Tom! Bac! And Stay
Keyvan Chemirani - voice & percussion
4:42

2. Scattering Stars Like Dust
Kayhan Kalhor - kamancheh, Pejman Hadidi - tombak [goblet drum]
Kayhan Kalhor: Scattering Stars Like Dust
Traditional Crossroads, CD 4288
47:30
(The whole album is a suite, in the bold, martial tones of the Chahargah mode.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

*3.
Agar tché (Quoi que)
Bijane Chemirani - saz [long-nceked lute], Maryam & Mardjane Chemirani - voice
5:40

4. My Eyes, My Heart
15:12

5. Between Dawn & Dawn a New Truth
21:23

6. Snowy Mountains
8:57

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

7. Traces of the Beloved
27:07

Tracks 4-7
Kayhan Kalhor - kamancheh; Shujaat Hussain Khan - sitar & voice; Swapan Chaudhuri - tabla (track 4); Rafiuddin Sabri - tabla (tracks 5, 6 & 7); Ravi Kumar - dholak [hand drum] (tracks 5 & 6); S. P. Bahlla - percussion (tracks 5 & 6)
Ghazal: As Night Falls on the Silk Road: Persian & Indian Improvisations
Shanachie, 66011

*8. Vaade kardi (Tu as promis)
Djamchid & Maryam Chemirani - voice
2:57

*9. Geisha djan
Keyvan Chemirani - tombak & percussion, Bijane Chemirani - bendir [frame drum] & tambourine
3:48

*10. Chabnam ya tainz (Rosée du matin)
Djamchid, Keyvan & Bijane Chemirani - tombak trio
1:50

*11. Le retour de Molla Nasr'din
Keyvan Chemirani - tombak & percussion, Bijane Chemirani - tombak & cajón [box drum]
9:37

*12. Qalam kar
Djamchid, Keyvan & Bijane Chemirani - tombak trio
3:37

*13. Goftégou (Conversation)
Djamchid Chemirani - tombak, Bijane Chemirani - riq [small tambourine], Keyvan Chemirani - udu [clay water jug]
8:36

*Tracks 1, 3, 8-13
Chemirani Trio: Qalam Kar
Iris Music, 3001 854

15 September 2010

Tune in to Persian Classical mellowness for modified Western violin and tombak. It's the ayatollahs' worst nightmare.

*1. Ashk (Tear) in Humâyûn
25:05
("Humâyân, meaning "lucky" or "fortunate", has a touching character and contains the most sentimental gûsheh-s [melodies] of the radîf [repertoire]." The strings of the violin are tuned E-A-D-F½#.)

*2. Tulû (Sunrise) in Shûshtarî
25:39
(Shûshtâri is a subset of the Humâyûn mode, above, and "contains a large quantity of melodic materials...." Was it an artistic decision? That can't be a natural echo. There's a tad much reverb for my liking on these otherwise outstanding recordings. A nice touch is Yahaghi's occasional left-hand pizzicato.)

3. Shûr
22:21
("Shûr has a noble, mystic, and serious character and it is near to the spirit of the Persian people.")

4. Segâh
25:51
("... Segâh bring[s] about a state of calm and concentration...." according to Harmonia mundi, HMA 190391.)

Tracks 3-4 (rec. 1994)
Parviz Yahaghi - modified violin, Mohammad Esmaili - tombak [goblet drum]
Iranian Classical Music: Yâd [Commemoration]
Moonlight International, MICD 102

*5. (For those of you who were asleep during the first hour, here it is again.)
Tulû (Sunrise) in Shûshtarî
25:39

*6. Ashk (Tear) in Humâyûn
25:05

*Tracks 1, 2, 5 & 6
Parviz Yahaghi - modified violin, Mohammad Esmaili - tombak
Iranian Classical Music: Ashk & Tulû
Moonlight International, MICD 101

08 September 2010

First hour: music from Azerbaijan. Second hour: Iran. Third: Iraq. Make sure your passport's in order.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Mugham Chargah
unknown - tar [long-necked lute]
5:14
(That's Azeri. In Persian it's Chahargah.)

2. Mugham Bayati Kurd
unknown - clarinet, unknown folk orchestra
2:52

3. Dance of the Ashiq Alaskar
unknown - saz [long-necked lute], unknown - balaban [oboe], unknown - daf [frame drum]
4:55

Tracks 1-3
The Land of Fire: Music of Azerbaijan
FM Records, 1036
("The word mugham, used by the Azeri to describe their classical music, is derived from the Arabic word maqam, which originally meant the "official" meeting place where the caliphs and other Arabian dignitaries gathered in medieval times to hear tales and rhyming prose, and later music as well. For each meeting, a suitable and carefully chosen mode – or maqam – was negotiated." It's only a matter of time, because humans like to make metaphors, before the mode gets associated with a mood, i.e. gets an affect attached to it.)


4. Mugham Chahargah (rec. 1992)
Alim Qasimov - voice & daf, Elshan Mansurov - kamanche [spike fiddle], Malik Mansurov - tar
Azerbaïdjan: Alim Qasimov
Ocora, C 560013
44:14
(Above, "Chahargah['s] bold, martial accents are supposed to excite the passions...")

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

5. Gheyrate sabba [Breeze from Heaven]
6:43

6. Omidvaihaye del [Hopes from the Heart]
6:29

7. Rosvaye do-aalam [Found Out in Both Worlds]
6:48

8. Erse aslaf [Inheritance of Ancestors]
6:16

9. Gol [Flower]
9:18

10. Delbar [The One That Takes Your Heart Away]
9:33

Tracks 5-10
Hossein Farjami - composer, santur [hammered dulcimer], oud & daf; Afshar - violin; Radmanesh - ney [reed flute] & setar [long-necked lute]; Khorvash - tombak [goblet drum]; Abbasi - tar; Adbul-Azim - violin; Sultan - ney; Nossir - ney
Hossein Farjami: Traditional Folk Music from Iran
ARC Music, EUCD 1423
("All these tunes have lyrics, they are songs.... Not all those who hear the CD will be acquainted with the Iranian language and poetry. So it seemed more appropriate that the santoor should play the vocal lines.")

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

11. Ragâ Roots
20:30

12. Allah ou Akhbar
14:38

13. From the Maqam to the Raga
22:46

Tracks 11-13 (rec. 1986-87)
Munir Bashir - oud
Ragâ Roots
Byblos Records, BLCD 1021
("These oud pieces from Indian and Middle Eastern inspiration were found by Munir Bashir's children after his death.")

14. Tahir (Folk Dance)
unknown - clarinet, unknown - gamon [accordion], unknown - duduk [double-reed wind], unknown - nagara [drum]
The Land of Fire: Music of Azerbaijan
FM Records, 1036
3:21

01 September 2010

Tune into divine madness in the form of the Sufi zikr ceremony, the ecstatic recitation of the name(s) of God.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 10:00am

1. Rituel de Zikr (rec. Sanandaj, Iran 1993)
Karim Safvati - leader, voice & daf [frame drum], Qâderi Dervishes
Kurdistan: Zikr et chants soufis: Les derviches qâderi de Sanandaj (Iran)
Ocora, C 560071-72
100'

Set #2 - 10:00am - 11:00am

2. Nowruz & Kurdish Folksongs
24:01

3. Dastgâh-e Chahargah
44:31

Tracks 2-3 (rec. 1990)
Nowruz: Traditional & Classical Music
Sharam Nazeri - voice; Ensemble Alizadeh: Hossein Alizadeh - musical director & tar [long-necked lute]; Abdolnaghi Afsharnia - ney [reed flute]; Said Faradjpouri - kemanche [spike fiddle]; Mohammad Ghavihelm - dohol [double-headed drum] & daf; Farroch Mazhari - tar; Djamal Samawati - robab [short-necked lute]; Mehdi Setayeshgar - santur [hammered dulcimer]; Ali Ahbar Shekartshi - kemanche; Khosro Soltani - zurna [oboe], Arshad Tahmasebi - tar; Hassan Zargari - tombak [goblet drum]
World Network, 58.395

25 August 2010

The Komodo Dragon Show goes dark this week, returning to the airwaves on September 1st with music from Kurdistan

Meanwhile, take a gander at the design of the limited edition silk screened Komodo Dragon Show T-shirt featuring the broadcast’s namesake, the world’s largest living lizard. You’ll likely not want to wear it in the torrid zones.


T-shirt orders will be accepted starting in September. Proceeds will be donated to the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR).

18 August 2010

There's more Persian classical music in the air this Wednesday.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Suite de Qatâr (rec. 1970)
Ostad Elahi - tanbur [long-necked lute]
Ostad Elahi: Cascade: L'art du luth oriental tanbûr
Le chant du monde, 2741150
47:26
("... the intimate Qatâr mode of classical Persian music ..." In other words, this needs concentrated and introspective listening from you for it not to sound like random strumming.



Above, Elahi's youngest son performs his father's works on the tanbur. And while you're at it, check out Harry Freedman on the informed listener.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

2. Dastgâh-e Mâhûr
19:58

3. Avâz-e Afshâri
18:28

4. Avâz-e Esfahân
13:51

5. Dastgâh-e Mâhûr
5:09

Tracks 2-5 (rec. 1994)
Sima Bina - voice, Hossein 'Omoumi - ney [reed flute], Madjid Derakhshâni - tar [long-necked lute], Madjid Khaladj - tombak [goblet drum]
Sima Bina: Persian Classical Music
Nimbus Records, NI 5391
(Grossly oversimplifying, the typical form is a suite of instrumental and vocal compositions drawn from a repertoire of melodies grouped into dastgâhs, or modes. "The vocalist plays an important part in the ensemble, for he/she conveys the word and the poetry...." which is drawn from the ancient masterpieces of Persian lyric poetry.)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

6. Avâz-e Afshâri
42:24

7. Dastâgh-e Mâhur
32:08

Tracks 6-7 (rec. 1988)
Shâhrâm Nâzeri - voice, Dariush Talâ'i - setar [long-necked lute], Bijan Kâmkâr - tombak & daf [frame drum]
Iran: Les maîtres de la musique traditionelle Vol.3
Ocora, C 560026
(Shâhrâm Nâzeri: "... I mix popular Kurd music with [Persian classical music]: it gives it a burst of energy that tends to attract a much younger public to traditional music..." He seems to have the same problem as Western symphony orchestras.)

11 August 2010

It's not entirely clear whether this fatwah http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/02/iran-supreme-leader-music-islam is against Justin Bieber only, or extends to all manifestations of the artform, including military marches. Curiously, this page http://www.salamiran.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=165&Itemid=251 is extant on the website of the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa. The Minister of Information shall hear of this! Heads will roll!

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

(I know next to nothing about Persian classical music; my "comments" will be extensively quoted from the booklet notes. I will learn along with you, Listener.)

1. The Saga of the Rising Sun
19:42

2. Come with Me
10:57

Tracks 1-2 (rec. 1997)
Kayhan Kalhor - kamancheh [spike fiddle], Shujaat Hussain Khan - sitar & voice, Swapan Chaudhuri - tabla
Ghazal: Lost Songs of the Silk Road: Persian & Indian Improvisations
Shanachie, 64096

3. Avâz-e Dashty (rec. 2008)
Mehdi Fallah - voice; Chakavak Ensemble: Reza Manbachi - composer, arranger, artistic director, tar [long-necked lute], setar [
long-necked lute] & shoorangiz [long-necked lute]; Amaan Mehrabian - santur [hammered dulcimer]; Mohsen Biglari - ney [reed flute]; Parisa Ferdosian - bass tar; Arsalan Alizadeh - barbat [oud, i.e. Arab-style lute]; Amir Manbachi - tombak [goblet drum] & percussion
Chakavak Ensemble: The Journey of Love
Global Heritage Music Production, AC001
27:59
(A suite of four compositions in the Dashty mode.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

4. Improvisation à 6 temps
Djamchid Chemirani - tombak
10:03

5. Dastgâh-e Segah
Madjid Kiani - santur,
Djamchid Chemirani - tombak
20:40



6. Dastgâh-e Shur
Daryoush Tala'i - tar
, Djamchid Chemirani - tombak
25:36
("... modes such as Segah [and] Shur ... bring about a state of calm and concentration....")

Tracks 4-6 (rec. 1976-79)
Musique iranienne
Harmonia mundi, HMA 190391

Set #3- 10:00am - 11:00am

7. Improvisations in
Avâz-e Esfahân (rec. 2000)
Hossein Alizâdeh - tar,
Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Iran: Les maîtres de l'improvisation
Buda Records, 1986082
49:13

("... Esfahân evoke[s] love and separation.")

04 August 2010

The first show of the month is less doctrinaire.


Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:30am










1. Ravi Shankar: Transmigration Macabre (1973)
Ravi Shankar - sitar
C-Five Records, C5CD 596
29:32
(Score by Ravi Shankar for film in the cat-wife genre such as favoured by Edgar Allan Poe. Disorienting psychedelic ride, though Shankar is on record as rejecting the expansion of consciousness via pharmaceuticals. For an insight into Shankar's composing process see the scoring session included as an extra on the BBC's Alice in Wonderland DVD. I get more hits from that psychedelic graphic than all other search terms combined.)

2. John Tavener: Lalishri (2006)
Nicola Benedetti - violin, Andrew Litton - conductor, London Philharmonic Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon, 476 619-8
34:36

3. Michael Nyman, Rajan Misra & Sajan Misra: Three Ways of Describing Rain (2002)
Rajan Misra & Sajan Misra - voice, Michael Nyman - conductor, Michael Nyman Band
Sangam: Michael Nyman Meets Indian Masters
Warner Classics, 49551
28:19

Set #2 - 9:30am - 11:00am

4. Kaminari: Triangle (2003)
Kaminari: Yoshito Yamano - sitar, guitar, bass, synthesizer, drum patterns & percussion; Chie Yamano - didjeridoo, voice
Kaminari, n.n.
59:15
(A whole hour of ambient sitar and didjeridoo duo: You can do dat on da college radio.)

5. Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(Our weekly raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale. N.B Ananda starts singing on the third degree of the scale.

Note how the mood changes from carefree to tense round about 2:24 as D and B are flattened and E and A jettisoned, turning the composition into the pentatonic ragam Revathi (C Db F G Bb). Fortunately for us Ananda sings the note names: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa (same as Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do), which facilitates following along.

At 4:35-ish the mood brightens thanks to the sudden introduction of a major 3rd above tonic C. It's the pentatonic ragam Valachi, C E G A Bb (called Kalavati in North India). Do you recognize that? It's your typical boogie woogie bass line:









Then at 6:50-ish....)

28 July 2010

The sax and violins episode, or Classical Indian music played on adopted Western-European instruments.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

*1. Entharo: [Raga] Sree
12:21

†2. Raga Malkauns
46:21
(I won't go on and on about this, but you are cognizant of my views on Malkauns.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

3. Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(Our weekly raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale. N.B Ananda starts singing on the third degree of the scale.

Note how the mood changes from carefree to tense round about 2:24 as D and B are flattened and E and A jettisoned, turning the composition into the pentatonic ragam Revathi (C Db F G Bb). Fortunately for us Ananda sings the note names: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa (same as Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do), which facilitates following along.

At 4:35-ish the mood brightens thanks to the sudden introduction of a major 3rd above tonic C. It's the pentatonic ragam Valachi, C E G A Bb (called Kalavati in North India). Do you recognize that? It's your typical boogie woogie bass line:









Then at 6:50-ish....)

*4. Mohana Rama: [Raga] Mohana
30:16

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

†5. Raga Khamaj, Thumri
12:18

†6 . Raga Nilambari
6:44

†7. Raga Bhairavi
12:30

*8. Vathapi: [Raga] Hamsadwani
14:53

*9. Naadhaloludai: [Raga] Kalyana Vasantha
7:50

*10. Bol Shambo: [Raga] Revathy
4:50

*Tracks 1, 4, 8, 9, 10
Prasant Radhakrishnan - alto sax, Embar S. Kannan - violin, Mannargudi A. Easwaran - mrdangam, V. Suresh - ghatam [clay water jug], B. Rajashekar - morsing [jaw harp]
Swara Shuda: Carnatic Classical Album on Saxophone by Prasant Radhakrishnan
Sruthiliya, SCD 5013

†Tracks 2, 5-7
N. Rajam - violin, Akram Khan - tabla
N. Rajam: Radiant
Sense World Music, 022

21 July 2010

What musical instrument is most "human" in its affect? The violin? The erhu? No no, how about the sarangi? Its sound has been likened to the plaintive cry of the human voice. It's also painful to play, as the strings are stopped not by the fingertips, but by the fingernail or the first knuckle, and that carries a certain existential satisfaction. A show for sarangi fans this Wednesday. (At right, smokin' sarangi fingers.)

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Raga Lalit (rec. 1987)
Ram Narayan - sarangi, Suresh Talwalkar - tabla, Neil Sorrell & Elizabeth Haddon - tanpuras
Nimbus Records, NI 5183
73:43
(Scale: C Db E F F# Ab B emerges out of the pre-dawn silence. The "odd", scrunched-together intervals suggest instability in the natural world at the transition between night and day.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

2. Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(Our weekly raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale.

Note how the mood changes from carefree to tense round about 2:25 as D and B are flattened and E and A jettisoned, turning the composition into the pentatonic ragam Revathi (C Db F G Bb). Fortunately for us Ananda sings the note names: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa (same as Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do), which facilitates following along.

At 4:35-ish the mood brightens thanks to the sudden introduction of a major 3rd above tonic C. It's the pentatonic ragam Valachi, C E G A Bb....)

3. Raga Yaman
15:36
("This raga is simple and elegant in nature, yet it expresses the purity of guiltless love." Scale: Lydian mode, C D E F# G A B. Playtime: 9:00pm - midnight.)

4. Raga Jan Sammohoni
12:37
(Title means "people's favourite". Scale: same as Valachi, above. Playtime: Evening, night?)

Tracks 3-4
Ramesh Mishra - sarangi, Polash Gomes - tabla
Reminiscence: Sarangi Solo by Pandit Ramesh Mishra
Rageshree Music Institute, RMI CD 102

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

5. Raga Jaijaivanti
Rais Khan - sitar, Sultan Khan - sarangi, Sabir Khan - tabla
Together Again: Rais Khan & Sultan Khan: Sitar & Sarangi
Audiorec Classics, 766032 1037-2
60:35
(Description TBA: It's a complex raga with shades of other ragas that I am just starting to get my head around. You may want to consult the episode of January 13th. Playtime: midnight - 3:00am.)

14 July 2010

The summer survey of the Indian instrumentarium continues apace with a show dedicated to the bamboo flute. Four players are featured: Steve Gorn, Ronu Majumdar, Rajender Prasanna and Hariprasad Chaurasia. Malkauns, that mystical raga of becoming human, crops up again.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Raga Bhairav (rec. 1982)
Steve Gorn - bansuri flute
Bansuri Bamboo Flute: Indian Ragas
Latitudes, LAT 50604
20:40
("Traditionally associated with sunrise and dawn.... contemplation, meditation and devotion....")

2. Raga Bhimpalasi (rec. 2007)
Ronu Majumdar - bansuri flute, Arvind Azad - tabla, Vilas D. Pednekar & Kalpesh Sachla - tanpuras
Ronu Majumdar: Master of the Indian Bansuri
ARC Music, EUCD 2056
29:27
(Playtime: Afternoon. "...soothing and sweet and easily accessible.")

Set #2 - 9:00am -10:00am

3. Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(Our raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale. Note how the mood changes from carefree to tense round about 2:25 as D- and B-flats are added and E- and A-naturals jettisoned, turning the composition into the pentatonic ragam Revathi. Fortunately for us Ananda sings the note names: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa (same as Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do), which facilitates your following along...)

4. Raga Shree
Rajender Prasanna - bansuri flute, Athar Hussain - tabla, Rajesh Prasanna - swarmandal [zither]
Tribute to Pandit Raghu Nath Prasanna
Super Cassettes Industries, SICCD-132
41:20
(Playtime: Just after sunset. Lots of "odd" intervals in this one, i.e augmented third between Db and F# in ascending melodies.)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

5. Raga Malkauns
Hariprasad Chaurasia - bansuri flute, Rik Masterson & Emam - tanpuras
Hariprasad Chaurasia: Flying Beyond: Improvisations on the Bamboo Flute: Music for Mediation, Relaxation, and Healing
Eternal Music, n.n.
44:36
(Note: no tabla! Playtime: 1:00am - 4:00am. That Kohlbergian raga of personal transformation.)

6. (Ordinarily after a performance like this I want 15 minutes of silence, but management frowns on dead air. Here's a lighter, folksy raga "from the mountains" to cool us down.)
Raga Pahadi (rec. 1991)
Hariprasad Chaurasia - bansuri flute, Fazal Qureshi - tabla
Written on the Wind
Audiorec Classics, 766032 1008-2
17:15

07 July 2010

The first show of the month focuses on lighter classical and classically-inspired music. Today I present sitar concertos by Ravi Shankar and Alan Hovhaness and East-meets-West chamber music with Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Ravi Shankar: Swara Kakali (based on Raga Tilang) (1966)
9:03

2. Ravi Shankar: Raga Piloo (1967)
16:15

Tracks 1-2
Daniel Hope - violin, Gaurav Mazumdar - sitar, Asok Chakraborty - tabla, Gilda Sebastian - tanpura
Daniel Hope: East Meets West
Warner Classics, 2564 61329-2
(Both pieces are "In memoriam Yehudi Menuhin". Gaurav Mazumdar is a student of Ravi Shankar.)

*3. Raga Ananda Bhairava (rec. 1967)
Ravi Shankar - sitar, Alla Rakha - tabla, Nodu Mullick - tanpura
15:41

4. Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(Our raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale. Note how the mood changes from carefree to tense round about 2:25 as D- and B-flats are added and E- and A-naturals jettisoned, turning the composition into the pentatonic ragam Revathi....)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

5. Ravi Shankar: Raga-Mala (Sitar Concerto No.2) (1979-80)
Ravi Shankar - sitar, Zubin Mehta - conductor, London Philharmonic Orchestra
EMI, CDM 7243 5 67102 2 1
52'
(Me and the bird sang Malhar (4th movement of the concerto) during the thunderstorm.)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

*6. Ravi Shankar: Twilight Mood (rec. 1976)
Ravi Shankar - sitar, Yehudi Menuhin - violin, Alla Rakha - tabla, Nodu Mullick - small tanpura, Amiya Dasgupta - bass tanpura
10:36

*Tracks 3 & 6
West Meets East: The Historic Shankar/Menuhin Sessions
EMI, 7243 5 67180 2 9

7. Alan Hovhaness: Shambala op.228 (1969)
Gaurav Mazumdar - sitar, Christina Fong - violin, Rastislav Stúr - conductor, Slovenská Filharmónia
Alan Hovhaness: Janabar, Talin, Shambala
OgreOgress productions, 634479 667077
45:00

30 June 2010

It's time for dancing with the sitars. Three sitarists, three hours, six ragas.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Raga Bilashkhani Todi
20:10

2. Raga Malaya Marutam
13:42

Tracks 1-2
Shalil Shankar - sitar, Subhankar Banerjee - tabla
Shalil Shankar: Raga Bilashkhani Todi
Audiorec Classics, 766032 1045-2
30:06

3. Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(Our raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale. Note how the mood changes as D- and B-flats are added, and E- and A-naturals jettisoned...)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

4. Raga Charukeshi
29:35

5. Raga Jog
31:56

Tracks 4-5
Mani Shankar - sitar, Siddartha Shankar - vocal, Mayookh Bhaumik - tabla
Rejoice: Duet Sitar & Vocal
Rageshree Music Institute, CD RMI 107

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

6. Raga Yaman Kalyan
22:13

7. Raga Bhairavi
21:40

Tracks 6-7
Hasu Patel - sitar, Brian Feather & Paul Nugent - tanpuras
Hasu Patel: Gayaki Sitar
Hasu Patel, HASU-1

23 June 2010

This is an ear-based program. The Indian shehnai and the Tibetan gyaling (oboe) are the featured instruments .

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Raga Yaman
L. Subramaniam - violin, Bismillah Khan - shehnai & their ensembles
Live in Geneva: Commemorative Album for India Festival in Geneva
Audiorec Classics, ACCD 1020
41:18
(A North-South duet.)

2. Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(Our raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale. Note how the mood changes as D- and B-flats are added....)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

3. Raga Puriya
41:44

4. Thumri in Raga Khamaj
8:38

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

5. Dhun in Raga Shivaranjani
11:46

6. Banarasi Dhun
10:29

Tracks 3-6
Bismillah Khan - shehnai, Nayyar Hussain - shehnai, Mumtaz Hussain - shehnai, Nazim Hussain - tabla, Basharat Hussain - khurdak [small kettledrums], Mehtab Hussain - sur shehnai [shehnai drone], Nanne Hussain - sur shehnai [shehnai drone], Bande Ali - tanpura peti [drone]
Ustad Bismillah Khan: Live at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, November 22, 1993
Navras Records, NRCD 0033

7. Sacred Instrumental Music
Monks of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
OgreOgress productions, 643157 175827
40:42
(The whole album, played as a suite. Piercing oboes, gutteral horns, crashing cymbals and tiny bells set against a vast canvas of silence. Click the link above for a complete track listing and to purchase the CD. Proceeds support Tibetan monks in exile. "Gyaling (Tibetan oboes) are often played when receiving respected teachers and for inviting and making offerings to enlightened beings.")

16 June 2010

All sarod, an instrument for which there's no Western equivalent. I like to think of it as a high-class banjo.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 10:00am

1. (But first...)
Ragamalika (Medley of Ragas)
Ananda - voice, Jana Starling - clarinet, K. S. Mani - violin, Anand Bala - mrdangam [double-sided drum]
Ananda: Treasures
Tantra, TSMV9701
15:07
(...our raga guide, beginning with South Indian Shankarabharanam, which happens to share its interval structure with the Western major scale.)

2. Raga Sindhu Bhairavi (rec. 1955)
Ali Akbar Khan - sarod, Chatur Lal - tabla, Mr. Gore - tanpura
19:50
(Late morning raga. "Moods... are pathos and joy".)

3. Raga Hemant (rec. 1994)
Ali Akbar Khan - sarod, Zakir Hussain - tabla
24:32
(Springtime? or autumnal? raga expressing "peace, joy and hope". Hemant means "winter" in Sanskrit. Riddle me this: How is spring like fall?)

4. Raga Hindol-Hem (rec. 1994)
Ali Akbar Khan - sarod, Zakir Hussain - tabla
49:58
(Evening springtime raga. "Peace, pathos, joy and heroism". Pathos, as in appealing to the emotions, not the negative connotations that this word carries in English.)

Tracks 2-4
Ali Akbar Khan: Then & Now
Alam Madna Music Productions, CD-A 04201A/B
(The late Ustad Ali Akhbar Khan, sarod master and popularizer of Hindustani music in the West.)

Set #2 - 10:00am - 11:00am

5. Raga Malkauns (rec. 2001)
Devjyoti Bose - sarod, Sandeep Das - tabla
Devjyoti Bose: Devotion
Sense World Music, 003
64:17
(Late night raga "...just five notes: deep, peaceful and sublime..." Read more about this transformational raga in the show notes from January 27th. Malkauns is kinda spooky. The Raga Guide says "superstitious musicians describe it as a raga with supernatural powers, and some believe that it can attract evil spirits". But who said that personal growth was a walk in the park? Well, sometimes a walk in the park with the windchill at -40 will do you good.)

09 June 2010

The Broadcast presents dueling Indian santurs (hammered dulcimers).

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Raga Pahadi & Raga Misra Pahadi
Shivkumar Sharma - santur, Shafaat Ahmed Khan - tabla
Shivkumar Sharma: Mountain Breeze
Audiorec Classics, 766032 1041-2
59:37
(Genial, folksy, light classical raga. Pentatonic with a sprinkling of accidentals. More and more of them as the performance unfolds.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

2. Raga Kirvani
35:19

3. Dhun in Misra Anandi
8:20

Tracks 2-3 (rec. 1995)
Tarun Bhattacharya - santur, Bikram Ghosh - tabla
Tarun Bhattacharya: Kirvani
Music of the World, CDT-139
(This one's for you if you've ever wondered how to play a pitchbend on the hammered dulcimer.)

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

4. Raga Janasammohini (rec. 1998)
Shivkumar Sharma - santur, Rahul Sharma - santur, Shafaat Ahmed Khan - tabla, Manorama Sharma - tanpura
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma: Sampradaya
Realworld, CDRW75
66:20
(Jugalbandi, or duet, one idea realized through two pairs of hands, featuring, here, father and son.)

02 June 2010

Simon and Garfunkel sang "Slip Sliding Away". That's this Wednesday.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Ry Cooder & V. M. Bhatt: A Meeting by the River
10:08

2. Ry Cooder & V. M. Bhatt: Longing
11:59

3. Ry Cooder & V. M. Bhatt: Ganges Delta Blues
9:59

4. A. W. Caten: Isa Lei
7:40

Tracks 1-4 (rec. 1992)
Ry Cooder - bottleneck guitar, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt - mohan vina [modified archtop guitar], Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari - tabla, Joachim Cooder - dumbek [goblet drum]
A Meeting by the River
Water Lily Acoustics, WLA-CS-29-CD

5. Doug Cox, Salil Bhatt & Ramkumar Mishra: Bhoopali Dance (2006)
Doug Cox - resophonic guitar, Salil Bhatt - satvik veena [modified guitar], Ramkumar Mishra - tabla
Slide to Freedom
NorthernBlues Music, NBM0039
10:17

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

6. Raga Gavati
25:47

7. Raga Miya ki Malhar
25:57

Tracks 7-6 (rec. 1991)
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt - mohan vina, Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari - tabla
Gathering Rain Clouds
Water Lily Acoustics, WLA-ES-22-CD

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

8. Raga Puriya Dhanashri (rec. 2005)
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt - mohan vina, Salil Bhatt - satvik veena, Ramkumar Mishra - tabla
Bharat Sangeet Utsav 2005: Mohan Veena: Hindustani Instrumental
Carnatica, CAR CD 1087
66:32

26 May 2010

Welcome geniuses of rhythm! The eight weeks of Tabla Month wrap up today.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 10:00am

*1. Raga Deen Todi
9:23
(In 10, divided 2 + 3 + 2 + 3.)

*2. Raga Bilaskhani Todi
12:17
(In 6, divided 3 + 3.)

*3. Raga Bhupal Todi
9:48
(In 4½. Ever wonder where the other one-half goes?)

4. Vallabha Nayaka et al.
55:42
(In four "movements", alternating between 7- and 8-beat time cycles. Each of the percussion instruments plays several solos before joining together for the finale.)

5. Visvesvara
15:10
(In 7, but maybe 6.)

Tracks 4-5
Karaikudi R. Mani's Sruthi Laya Carnatic Talavadya Ensemble: Karaikudi R. Mani - mrdangam [double-sided drum], C. N. Chandrashekar - violin, G. R. Harishankar - kanjira [tambourine], T. V. Vasan - ghatam [clay water jug], Srirangam S. Kannan - mursing [jaw harp]
Layapriya
Audiorec Classics, 766032 1028-2
(No tabla here; this is South Indian.)

Set #2 - 10:00am - 11:00am

6. Vineet Vyas: Bring on the Rain
7:37
(Based on the rainy season raga Malhar.)

7. Vineet Vyas: Benares Dawns on Me (Kayda)°
6:36
(Based on Raga Bhupali. I will save my "crazy" ideas about Bhupali for a later post.)

Tracks 6-7 (rec. 2005)
Vineet Vyas - tabla, Steve Oda - sarod, Ajay Prasanna - bansuri flute, Murad Ali - sarangi, George Koller - dilruba [sitar/sarangi hybrid], Denise Djokic - cello, °Ron Allen - piano
Vineet Vyas: TaalWorks
Vineet Vyas, VV01CD

*8. Raga Miyan ki Todi
45:25

*Tracks 1-3 & 8 (rec. 1994)
Kamalesh Maitra - tabla tarang, Trilok Gurtu - tabla, Laura Patchen - tanpura
Tabla Tarang: Melody on Drums
Smithsonian Folkways, CD SF 40436
(In 16. Last of a quartet of morning ragas played on the extraordinary tabla tarang, a set of 12-16 drums arranged in a semi-circle around the performer and tuned to the scale of the raga.)

19 May 2010

In a word: tastiness, courtesy of the tabla players of the Ajrada Gharana.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

*1. Raga Bhoopali on Cello
21:58
(Teental.)

*2. Raga Gawati on Sitar
21:02
(Jhaptal,10 beats, divided 2 + 3 + 2 +3.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

3. Slow Teental
27:50

4. Medium Teental
28:11

Tracks 3-4
Akram Khan - tabla, unknown - harmonium lehara
Ancestors: Art of the Ajrara Gharana: Tabla Solo By Akram Khan
Rageshree Music Institute, CD RMI 108

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

5. Taal Bundu Khani
15:18
(8 ½ beats, divided 3 + 3 + 2 + ½.)

6. Taal Farodust
10:20
(14 beats, divided 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 3.)

7. Dadra
10:23
(6 beats, divided 3 + 3.)

Tracks 5-7
Sarvar Sabri - tabla, Vishwa Prakash - harmonium lehara, Raju Parekh - tanpura
Master Drummer of India: Sarvar Sabri
ARC Music, EUCD 1719

*8. Raga-Mala on Sitar & Cello
20:17

*Tracks 1, 2 & 8 (rec. 2003)
Saskia Rao-de Haas - modified cello, Shubhendra Rao - sitar, Akram Khan - tabla
Creating Waves
Rhyme Records, RCD 2327