Sunday, 21 August 2016

Ravi Shankar - Ragas Kameshwari, Gangeshwari & Rangeshwari - LP published in India in 1972

Our colleague from the beautiful blog Flat, Black and Classical: Indian Classical Music on Vinyl and Cassette posted two days ago his copy of the same LP and apparently had to do a lot of work to get a good sound quality. Here my copy, which I bought in the mid 1970s in Southall near London, which sounds, to me, perfect. I had prepared this LP already in July 2013 for posting. As always I did no editing at all.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Yunus Hussain Khan (1927-1991) - Doyen of Agra Gharana - In Concert - Double Cassette published in India in 1992

After the two double CDs by the great Vilayat Hussain Khan here a double cassette by his son.

"Born on November 15th 1927 at Agra, Yunus Hussain Khan, the eleventh direct descendent of the Agra gharana, received intensive training from an early age from his illustrious father the late Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan. He also studied under other great masters like the Late Ustad Faiyaz Khan and his maternal uncle, Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan of Atrauli. His innate talent for music coupled with the rigorous training he received gave him full command over the great heritage of the Agra Gharana.
Possessed with a rich voice and superb musicianship, he sang the Agra gayakee in his own individual style: varied in music, rich in ideas and full of colour. He was prominent in the Hindustani Musical scene for more than five decades and gave numerous recitals both in India and abroad.
Khan Saheb was not only a sensitive vocalist but also noted for his versatility as an erudite scholar, gifted composer and teacher of music. He was a Professor of Music at University of Delhi, Viswa Bharti University of Shantiniketan and was also a guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy at Kolkata. During 1985-86, he taught at the University of Washington in the Ethnomusicology Programme and also gave lectures and demonstrations in the University of British Culombia, Canada. During his association with Delhi University, he was Director, Composer and Conductor of Sargam Choir, Delhi Youth Choral Group and his own Darpan Choir.
Associated with the All India Radio between 1962 and 1964 as Music Composer, he was a composer of distinction, and has left as a legacy, a valuable collection of his compositions under the nom-de-plume “Darpan” and several ragas, like Sujani malhar, Devyani, Nat Deepak, Husaini Bhairav, Nohar Todi, Ahiri Bihag, Lalita Sohini, Jogwanti etc. 
As a musicologist, he had to his credit many articles, books and papers on music. He has been recorded by Sangeet Natak Akademi and Unesco and has featured on European documentary films.
Yunus Hussain Khan died of a heart attack on September 29,1991, in New Delhi."

There exists also a beautiful double CD by him. It can be obtained from:

Yunus Hussain Khan (1927-1991) (Vocal) & Ramzan Khan (Sarangi) & Hidayat Khan/Zamir Ahmed (Tabla) - Darpan - Khyal, Classical Vocal Music of North India, 2 CD-Set, CD 1:  Raga Bihag: Vilambit (24:32) & Drut (10:25), Raga Chandini Kedar: Vilambit (27:19) & Drut (9:21), CD 2: Raga Rageshri: Vilambit (31:22), Drut (7:38), Tarana (10:14) & Hori Dhamar (10:10), Raga Lalita Sohini (12:34), PAN RECORDS, 4006/07 KCD
„Items selected from live concert recordings made in August 1973 in Amsterdam, when vocalist Yunus Husain Khan (†1991) made his European debut. This registration has become a historical document. Besides a gifted singer Yunus Husain Khan also was a composer of rare distinction. Under the nom de plume ‘Darpan’ he has composed numerous bandishes in various ragas. Today his compositions in well-known ragas are sung all over India. Digipack with 12-p. booklet.”

Friday, 12 August 2016

Ragni Recordings - An amazing CD collection from Pakistan, published by Zaheer Alam Kidvai. Now available also outside of Pakistan

Last year I discovered Zaheer Alam Kidvai's amazing blog Ragni Recordings, where he presents the 60 CDs he made up to now. The recordings cover basicly three domains: old style Qawwali of the Qawwal Bachon Ka Gharana (Delhi Gharana), classical Raga music and recitations of Urdu poetry. Just about a week ago three new releases were published, amongst them two sets of CDs by the great Agra Gharana singer Asad Ali Khan, of whom only very few recordings were available up to now (see below). Zaheer made his releases now available to music lovers outside of Pakistan on Dropbox as downloads in wave format for a very reasonable price. For more details refer to his blog: Ragni Recordings.
As the CDs were only for sale in Pakistan and quite a number of them I found extremely interesting, I tried to figure out a way to get them. I knew already that shipping things from Pakistan is almost impossible.
So I asked Musab who runs the wonderful blog Tangled Up In Blue, mainly on older Qawwali, if he could help me in any way getting these CDs. I was very touched that he responded immediatly very warmly and told me that a Pakistani living in Vienna was about to visit Pakistan and that he would ask him if he would be so kind to bring the CDs back to Austria and then ship them to me from there. That man also responded very warmly to this request and so after a couple of weeks I had these fantastic CDs (and DVDs) in my hands. This man from Vienna - I found out a little later - was no other than Asifmanu, the one behind the fantastic blog Qaul devoted also to older Qawwali and older Raga music from Pakistan.
Since then I was reguarly in contact with Zaheer Alam Kidvai, reminding him to inform me about future releases. As he is a very busy man it took about a year that the next three relaeses came out: two CD sets by the great Agra singer Asad Ali Khan and a double CD by Munawar Ali Khan.
Ustad Asad Ali Khan was one of the foremost and most outstanding students of Ustad Faiyaz Khan. After partition he went to Pakistan. As far as I know there exists only one commercial recording by him, which we posted a while ago here. The recordings published now by Zaheer Alam Kidvai are from two Mehfils. Very very beautiful old style music.
Ustad Munawar Ali Khan is the well-known son of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. We posted on our blog three LPs by him here. This new release is also a Mehfil recording.
All these new releases have an amazingly good sound quality though the recordings are Mehfil (private concert) recordings and were done over 40 years ago.

Among the older CDs especially interesting are the 7 volumes by "Manzoor Ahmed Niazi aur Hamnava", here called Badi Party (Badi means - I guess - greater, older, like in Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the older or greater Ghulam Ali.) The troupe consisted of four major Qawwals: Manzoor Niazi, Munshi Raziuddin, Bahauddin and Iftikhar Ahmad. All these members formed later (in the 1970s) their own ensembles and were the torchbearers of the original Qawwali of the Qawwal Bachon Ka Gharana (Delhi Gharana). The first three became very famous amongst connoisseurs. Today's most outstanding Qawwali ensemble of this old, extremely interesting tradition is the one by Farid Ayaz and his brother Abu Mohammad, the sons of the great Munshi Raziuddin. You find here CDs (and DVDs) by all these artists.

Zaheer just gave me some details on the new releases:
"1. All recordings older than 1970 were on a Sandberg Recorder
All Recordings after 1971 were on a Revox A77 10” Recorder
Most recordings after 2007 were on a Zoom Digital Recorder
Just a few recordings after 2007 were also done on the old Revox.
I prefer the Revox to listen to my recordings and have never felt that CDs match the Analog quality.
Transferring 78s (and most LPs) to CD is Ok, since many of them don’t have the Analog quality and in many cases are scratched etc.
2. The AAK 1 is May 1970
3. The AAK 2 is June 1971
4. More of AAK coming soon.
5. Munawwar’s Karachi Mahfils will all be 1975 (yes there are more)
He came here for a month and asked me to record him and took a copy of each performance. I have the originals."

Addition in October 2018:

All the great classical music and Qawwali CDs from Ragni Recordings are now available for lossless download on Qobuz:
Only the ones with light classical music and poetry recitation are not available. This makes it now much easier to obtain them.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Vilayat Hussain Khan (1895-1962) - A great singer of the Agra Gharana - Performances recorded by his students - CD 1 & 2

Here we present a privately done double CD by Vilayat Hussain Khan, next to Faiyaz Khan the greatest singer of the Agra Gharana of the 20th century. T-Series had published in 1997 a series of six CDs by him with recordings from the archives of All India Radio. Unfortunately these are no longer available for many years. might still have one or two of these volumes.
The recordings we present here were done during Mehfils by his students. Music of exquisite beauty.

CD 1 & Scans - wave
CD 2 - wave

CDs 1 & Scans - mp3
CD 2 - mp3

Many thanks to KF from whose collection these recordings are and who designed the covers.

"Ustad Vilayat Husain Khan (1895-1962) was one of the greatest figures of the Agra Gharana, who excelled both as singer and teacher. He was the fourth son of the legendary singer, Natthan Khan. After he lost his father at the age of six, he was looked after by his relatives, Kallan Khan and Mohammad Baksh, durbar musicians in Jaipur and received his initial training from them. In 1914, he moved to Mumbai to live with and learn from his older brother, Mohammad Khan. Here his gurus also included Ghulam Abbas and Tasadduk Khan.
Vilayat Husain Khan had documented the names and materials of 42 gurus, including Ustad Faiyaz Khan, from whom he took taleem in the course of his distinguished life. He inherited, imbibed and developed a style which was both individualistic and representative of the Agra Gharana. Khan Sahab, was a bridge between the last phase of the Durbar music and the modern period. His music was steeped in Sangeet Vidya (the science of music) and authentic `gayaki`. 
Khan Sahab had a large repertoire of compositions in dhrupad, dhamar, khayal etc and his renditions were marked by distinctive extempore bol-bant and fine layakari. He composed bandishes in many ragas including some very rare ones under the nom-de-plume `Pran Piya`. He also composed rubaiyat, nazm, marsiya and soz under the pen name, `Shafaq`. He also authored "Sangeetagyon ke Samsmaran", a collection of biographical sketches of a large number of musicians. His significant contribution has been in the Drut-Chhota Khayal in some uncommon ragas, in which till then, only Vilambit Khayals were available. His command over difficult and complicated ragas made them seem deceptively easy. 
Khan Sahab had several disciples in Maharashtra, and the region owes its eminence in Hindustani music to the work of generous teachers like him. Some of his well known students were Mogubai Kurdikar, Jagannathbuwa Purohit (Gunidas), Menaka Shirodkar (mother of Shobha Gurtu), Ram Marathe, Gajananrao Joshi, Sumati Mutatkar, as well as his sons in law, Sharafat Hussain Khan and Latafat Hussain Khan and his son, Yunus Hussain Khan. His most famous guru-shishya relationship was with Jagannathbuwa Purohit and each of them composed several bandishes dedicated to the other. 
He was a court musician of Mysore for sometime and also lived in Kashmir for a while, as tutor to the young prince Karan Singh. After independence, he was appointed as a Sangeet Salhakar (Advisor) to All India Radio, Delhi. Ustad Vilayat Husain Khan was conferred the title of `Sangeetacharya` from Mysore Darbar and received the `Sangeet Ratnakar` from Allahabad Sangeet Parishad."

Friday, 5 August 2016

Vinayakrao Patwardhan (1898-1975) - In Memoriam - LP published in India in 1976

Last year we posted already on his 40th anniversary recordings by the artist from a private collection here and here. In 2011 we had posted a set of two cassettes Echoes from the Glorious Past with one track by the artist.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Latafat Hussain Khan (1920-1986) - A Gem of Agra Gharana - LP published in India in 1976

In the past we posted already recordings by the great Ustad Faiyaz Khan here and here and by his most importent disciple Ustad Sharafat Hussain Khan hereherehere and here.
Recently Meera Music, India, published 7 CDs by Ustad Faiyaz Khan. These outstanding CDs can be obtained from: 

Here we post a LP by another of the great masters of Agra Gharana: Latafat Hussain Khan.

"Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan belonged to the tradition of Khandani musicians, who held aloft and carried forward the torch of musical learning and excellence. Both as a performer and as teacher he had the unmistakable mark of a gharanadar musician. Deeply religious, self effacing and unassuming by nature, he was always willing to give – qualities that were very clearly reflected in his music and in his approach to the performance and teaching of music.
Born on December 12, 1920, Latafat Hussain Khan was the youngest son of Altaf Hussain Khan of the Agra gharana. He was initiated into the rigours of music by Tasadduq Hussain Khan. Then followed an extended training period under his eldest brother Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan in Bombay. Sometime in the early forties, he went to Baroda to stay with his uncle, Ustad Faiyyaz Khan and receive rigorous taleem. He also took advanced taleem from his gharana elder, Vilayet Hussain Khan.  Latafat was musically a successor to Ustad Faiyyaz Khan. He was particularly known for his powerful voice, his crisp nom-tom alaps, and his effervescent delivery. With his masculine voice, dhrupad based alap, he was in the mainstream of the Agra gharana. In voice production, he was close to Ustad Faiyyaz Khan – a deep penetrating voice with tremendous control on swar and shrutis, a voice that deliberately created broken nuances while singing the rangila phrases made famous by his ustad. His alap was rich and his raga portrayal was sublime. Latafat Khan composed hundreds of bandishes under the pen name of "Premdas".  
Like most exponents of the Agra style, Latafat Khan was a scholar musician, ever true to the ancient tenets of classicism and very concerned with what was "correct" and "pure" and very disdainful of compromises made all too often by younger musicians who sometimes sacrificed authenticity for easy popularity. At the same time, like many others of his famed gharana, he gave great importance to the entertainment value of classical music. This was achieved by the judicious use of "layakari", the choice of colourful bandishes and the clever utilization of tans.
Latafat Khan was honoured by Sur Singar Samsad in Bombay and was also the recipient of a host of other awards. In 1978, Latafat Khan joined the Sangeet Research Academy of the I. T. C. at Calcutta as a Guru and trained several pupils. Even though his health was giving him trouble and his voice was losing its grit and quality possibly due to his asthmatic trouble, he was a greatly revered and respected musician. Those who came into contact with him will never forget the warmth of his nature. ITC Sangeet Research Academy raised Latafat Hussain to the national level again through concert appearances in all parts of India.
Latafat Hussain died in Kolkata on December 11, 1986."

Another beautiful LP - the only other one published - can be found here.