Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Relaxing Tune in Raag Megh

Heard from a pretty old tape of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Gambhir singing the Shabad: "Vin Bolia Sabh Kich Jaanda Kis Aagai Keechai Ardaas?"

Sorry - not Title Raag though.

I love this tune, especially when playing/singing it and thinking of what the words mean - It's so relaxing that it gives me goosebumps.

Find it here .

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Raag Darbari (Mishr) - Simar Mana Raam Naam Chitare

it took several mistakes before it started flowing ..

often heard sung by Bhai Niranjan Singh Jawaddi Kalan Wale .

Mishr Darbari
14 beat

good Practice

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bhoopali at a World Music Festival

Ajarn* Maiya Singh Ji was invited to play at the "Rhythm of the Earth" world music festival - at Central World , Bangkok - May 2008.

Satpal Singh Ji (Ustadji's nephew) is on Tabla.
the Thai word for "Teacher"/"Ustad" is Ajarn - pronounced aa-charn

Raag Bhoopali - Tintaal




Kindly excuse my playing - looking back at the video: I think my playing took more away from the music than it did add ... oh well - we had zero practice as a group before the event, so I shouldn't beat myself up about it too much eh?
Ustadji and Satpal Singh were awesome though!
We were initially given 1 hour stage time and were planning to play Raag Yaman. On the day, we were requested to cut it down to 20 mins due to various time constraints. Ustadji wanted to switch to Bhoopali, thinking that it would be easier for an audience unaccustomed to Classical Indian Music to digest and enjoy. my opinion: Good Decision !

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tanti Saaz workshop in Birmingham, UK

I wish I could be there to join in the fun :)


Ustaad Surjeet Singh (student of the world famous Pt Ram Narayan) and grand-teacher of the Gurmat Sangeet Academy is leading a one day intensive strings workshop in Birmingham on Sunday 1st of June.
If you would like to improve your Taus/ Dilruba/ Esraaj or Sarangi skills, then this is the workshop to attend. All abilities will be catered for.

The workshop will run from 10am to 4pm and will cater for all abilities. The fee for the day will be £10 (£6 for concs.).

For more details, email info@gurmatsangeet.org

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dhol Experiment

* You play tabla reasonably well
* You have a dhol handy - preferably one with a Plastic/Synthetic Skin on the Bass side.

* Put some Atta on the Bass Side - you'll have to experiment with quantity of Atta vs resulting tonal quality.

* try playing with your hands - Phakawaj style
* If you know Khuley Bol - Perfect ! if not .. check out some videos on youtube and pretend ! :)
* also pls try playing some basic thekas - tintal , kaherva , rupak , dadra etc.

The thing is - I KNOW that it will sound good .. but am unable experiment for myself due to no-dhol-at-home syndrome.
About a year ago, I had to play dholki for one of my sister's wedding functions - It sounded horrible. I put a fistful of atta on the bass side, and the moisture sort of crept in and caused the skin to loosen, wrinkle up and sound like a wet blanket when hit.
I then cleaned off the Atta, wiped the skin thoroughly and waited 10 mins for it to dry. Once it was back to normal, I put a tiny bit of atta back on it. (the circle was about as big as the tip of my thumb - yep that's it .. very small.) Worked great !

So kindly try it out, and post some videos :)

Thank you.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Student Esraj Prototype: Sound Check + Instrument test

An Esraj for students / beginners .
Prototype #2.
Made by a friend.
(#1 is with him)

Sound Check + Instrument test.

actually made for a private conversation btwn the creator and myself , but its here because I haven't posted in a while.

the tune i'm TRYING to play is Saach Kaho Sun Leho Sabai in Raag Bihag , heard from recordings of Bhai Avtar Singh ji.

other than that it's not in any coherent raag.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Beachside Bhimpalasi

I've been working on putting together a few relaxing sounding tracks of Ustadji playing his Esraj (without the TarShehnai attachment) . I requested that he reduce the very energetic Tihais and Gamaks so the music sounds chilled out.

I will then add some layers to the sound to make it sound nicer.

I've managed to upload the first one to myspace. Do check it out and let me know what you think - it's the first track " Beachside Bhimpalasi 10beat "

Once I'm happy with about 4 tracks , I'll make them available for download as a set (free) - If anyone's interested.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

So Kim Manas Roop Kahaye - tune

Free Esraj Music MP3

Recording of Me attempting to play the tune for "So Kim Manas Roop Kahaye" (right click and choose (SAVE LINK AS))- composition heard sung by Bhai Baljeet Singh / Bhai Gurmeet Singh . This is another one of my all time favorite compositions - Find it and buy it if you don't have it. The original is AMAZING to listen to.

Raag Alhaiya Bilawal

Taal supposed to be Tintaal - Punjabi Theka - but I'm not exactly playing according to any beat. Was more focused on getting the Expression to match my memory of Bhai Baljeet Singh / Bhai Gurmeet Singh's version.
I'm pretty sure I can play it in beat too , I'll just have to record myself playing tabla for 10 mins and play it back while playing Dilruba.

I made a few mistakes here and there , and my ending is clearly the wrong Raag ;) but hey - I'm still sorta happy with it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Awesome old Picture

A Friend found this beautiful image in an old book on World Music.

Starting from left:

1st guy is holding an Esraj. Looks like there are no sympathetics. And there seem to be sound holes on the top section of the sound-box as well. very interesting ...

2nd guy's instrument looks to be a Sitar.

3rd guy's looks like a Veena - although I am not certain.

4th guy is holding a Taus. Doesnt look like the ones you see nowadays - but very cool nonetheless.
Posted by Picasa

with Bhai Sahib Gurmit Singh Shant and Jatha
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Monday, January 28, 2008

More of Bhai Gurmit Singh Shant

Recorded at my place , 16th Jan 2008.

I requested him to sing only "Vadde Taal"
He actually told me the names of the Taals later on, but I didn't write them down and therefore forgot them. If he visits your city - ask him - and let me know :)

Raag Basant - 15 beat .. Meanings: Basant Chariya Phooli Banraee

Raag Dhanasri - 18 beat .. Meanings: Har Charan Sharan Gobind Dukh Bhanjana
Right Click and choose SAVE AS to download the files !
** Update on 22/Feb/2008 ** I was sharply reprimanded by a friend about the above recording. Apparently it's Raag Bhimpalasi, not Raag Dhanasri.
I asked "what's the difference?"
I was told "Bhimpalasi = Madhyam is Vadi .. and Dhanasri = Pancham is Vadi "
I actually thought " errrr ... ok .. I'm still not going to be able to tell the difference . " but said " theek eh ... If you insist - I'll mention it"

Raag Kaliyaan - 9 beat + Raag Bihagra - Roopak .. Meanings: Nain Mahinje Taras De Pasee Didaar & Ratte Ishq Khudaae Rang Didaar Ke

Malkauns 12 Beat ..

An Exercise in Focus

I promised to upload more recordings of the New Year Diwaan at the Bangkok Gurudwara.
Here is one more recording of the Waheguru Jap Simran / Naam Simran - led by Bhai Gurmit Singh Shaant.
Right Click and choose Save As to download.

Listen to it LOUD.

There are 2 levels of listening that you can access in this recording.

The one you want to try getting a hold of is the sheer majesty of almost 1000 voices singing the Lord's praise in unison.

See how it goes for you.

as for me, well .. I still haven't been able to stop laughing at the guy on my right.
(updated 29/2/2008: In case you didn't catch it - I'm not being serious)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Raag Maajh

Jamming with Satnam Singh in Singapore

Raag Maajh Alaap

then Changed Seating Arrangements .

Raag Maajh Shabad

Baa Baa Black Sheep

I know this is a little off topic,
- and it's not exactly new - but I just watched these videos again and realized that there may be a few who haven't seen them yet - so I must share.

First One: Gurmukh Singh - Malaysia Wale. Gurmukh Veerji is blessed with true passion for Kirtan Seva. He can really connect with the Sangat and command their attention when he's on stage. He's **great** at difficult and old classical compositions.
Here he is having some fun with one of his classes at Sammelan in Indonesia.

Next time he comes to Bangkok for Sammelan, I'll be sure to get some good recordings made. Including a Baa Baa Black Sheep with full vaja/tabla. heheh

Here's another cool version - embedding is disabled .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efbb7FLCqpU

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Maiya Singh - Instrumental Audio Recording

Free MP3 of Maiya Singh playing Raag Jhinjoti - Roopak 7 Beat Cycle. Right click the link and choose "Save Target As"
Phone Rang towards the end again... seems to happen a lot eh?

I'm on Tabla . Testing out a new Banares-Made set I was thinking about buying off someone .. but I dont think I am going to: the Duggi/Dagga is way too tight and it doesn't suit my playing style.

I'm thinking of getting a Set: high C# Tabla and Atta Wala Dhama - both with nut/bolt attachments. There's nobody in Thailand who's willing to change the poora on old tablas. It's hot and humid about 80% of the year and so Tablas wear out quite quickly
- might as well get nut/bolt attachments and accept the slight decrease in sound quality in exchange for the security of being able to change the skins quickly and easily.
Any suggestions ?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Jamming with Satnam Singh in Singapore

TRYING to accompany Veerji Satnam Singh's alaap in Raag Kaliyaan / Yaman .

Using Angad Singh's Esraj.

Taken at Silat Road Gurudwara, Singapore.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Gurmeet Singh Shaant - Night Diwaan 31 Dec / 1 Jan

Happy New Year :)
May you be blessed with a constant and greatly heightened awareness of the Joy present in your life. And may you be blessed with the power to make choices in your life that keep you connected to that Joy.

Audio recordings taken from Bangkok Gurudwara - 2008 New Year Diwaan.

Aise Gur Ko Bal Bal Jaiye - Kanhra Partaal : Dhamar , Iktaal , TinTaal

Vadh Sukh Rainariye - Bihagra Chanchal

I have question:
How would you ask an enthusiastic member of the congregation that CANT SING FOR NUTS to keep shut while you record one of the Greatest Ragis alive today ?
The guy sitting on my right was croaking away, enjoying himself thoroughly at my expense.

And about 1 meter in front of me, towards my right, there was a kid about 11 years old, busy talking to his dad and fiddling with a plastic bag - I gave him a really mean stare to try get him to shut up and leave the bag alone, it finally worked.
Ok I can shut an annoying kid up, but how can you tell someone who's singing along to the Shabads to keep quiet? He was not doing anything WRONG. In Guru Darbar - we are all encouraged to sing the Guru's praises. I was stumped, so I let him be.

Check out the recordings --- the whole Sangat sang along, it was awesome. - except for the totally off-key fellow on my right, and the annoying kid with his plastic bag.

Not that I have any problem with people who are not able to sing but enjoy doing it anyway - I just wish they were aware of it and were considerate enough to keep quiet while other people are trying to record.
I was sitting RIGHT in front , 2 meters from the stage. The Darbar hall was PACKED .. I couldn't have moved anywhere to escape his voice.
He didn't do anything wrong .. It just bugged the heck out of me that I didn't get FIRST CLASS recordings.

I have 3 more recordings: One of the Simran we do from 11:55 - 00:05 , another Shabad, and Anand Sahib. But the guy who cant sing sings so bloody loudy that I can't stop laughing when I hear it - so I'll wait until I calm down a bit before uploading those.

I'm very happy that Bhai Gurmeet Singh Shaant, one of the most learned Ragis active today, is in town for another 2 weeks.

And I'm REALLY happy with my recording equipment. When I listen to the mp3 files - it feels like I'm back there in the Sangat experiencing the aural atmosphere all over again.