Zarsanga is a famous Pashtu singer widely known as The Queen of Pashtun Folklore. She was born in 1946 at Zafar Mamakhel, a small village of Lakki Marwat. She belongs to a nomadic tribe that used to settle in Afghanistan in summer and stay in Lakki during the winter. In 1965, she married Mulajan, a resident of Sarai Naurang (Bannu) who was also a nomad. Many people believe she is married to popular folk singer Khan Tehsil, but she denies the rumours:
“Actually I sang with him on many occasions and most of our joint songs got immense popularity. He is not my husband he is just like my own brother”.
Zar Sanga has four daughters and two sons. Only Shehzada, her second son, has stepped into the world of music. At the start of her career, Zar Sanga would listen to the songs of Gulnar Begum, Kishwar Sultan, Bacha Zarin Jan, Khial Mohammad, Ahmad Khan and Sabz Ali Ustad. “I liked all of them, but I have maintained my own traditional way of folk singing. The people would earnestly enjoy my songs on both sides of the Durand Line (Pakistan-Afghan border). “I got no education so I cannot sing from a written paper. Most often I sing the songs that are composed and created by the common folk. However my husband also wrote some of my popular songs”, she said. A French researcher, Miss Kia, who worked with Radio France, once said Zar Sanga’s voice was the only mountainous voice in the Pashto language. Miss Kia took Zar Sanga to France for a musical concert. In France, many people were fascinated by her sweet melodies. The Pashto singer described a concert in London: “I was singing a traditional folk song in Pashto about the mountains and gypsy life of the tribals and when I finished it, a British person came close to me and proudly remarked that he was also a gypsy.” The famous numbers of Zar Sanga, which she never misses at any musical event she plays are Da Bangriwal Pa Choli Ma Za (her first-ever song on radio), Zma Da Khro Jamo Yara, Rasha Mama Zwi De, Zma Da Ghrono Pana Yara, and Kht Me Zanzeri De. Zar Sanga has been to Germany, Belgium, Iraq, Dubai, America, France and UK and has enthralled thousands of Pakhtuns and local people with her voice.
'Alan (Allan) Faqir (1932-2000) was one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music in Pakistan. He was particularly known for his ecstatic style of performance marked with extreme devotional rhetoric and sufi dance singing. Deprived of a mother's love, he went off in search of someone who could replace that love. He arrived at the tomb of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai in Bhit Shah and started living there. Faqir's memory was sharp even though he could not read and write. Hearing the traditional Latifi Raag sung every night touched his heart. Encouraged by Faqir Zawar Qurban Ali Lanjwani and Moolchand Maharaj, he began singing Bhitai's poetry at the shrine and ultimately spent twenty years there until meeting Mumtaz Mirza, who introduced him to Radio Pakistan and ptv in Hyderabad and helped him to learn the correct pronunciation of Bhitai's poetry. Eventually, he became a performing legend.
Many thanks to KF for sharing generously these rare recordings.
"Born in a family of music lovers, Anant Bedekar also played the sitar and the surbahar. His music, he said, was neither in the dhrupad nor in the khyal style. His expressive playing technique and the singular sound of his bin made him an original binkar at any rate, unjustly condemned to obscurity.
Anant Bedekar (1921 - ?), doctor and binkar, enjoyed the mixed instruction of Laxman Rao Chavan, son of Balvant Rao Chavan, one of Bande Ali Khan’s disciples."
Ravi Shankar, composer, sitar player and worldwide music legend, has died surrounded by family near his home in southern California. He played at Woodstock, collaborated with the Beatles and fathered Norah Jones.
Ravi Shankar passed away in the presence of his family late on Tuesday in California aged 92. He had undergone successful surgery last Thursday, but was unable to recover from the operation. Shankar's family confirmed the news.
"Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as part of our lives," his family said.
"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed way," Shankar's wife Sukanya and his daughter Anoushka said.
Shankar is as famed in the western hemisphere as in his native India, and is broadly credited with popularizing Indian music in the rest of the world - by virtue of his nimble fingers and the distinctive sound of the sitar.
A three-time Grammy winner, Shankar played at the 1967 Monterey Festival and at Woodstock. He collaborated with violinist Yehudi Menhin and with the Beatles in the same era. He taught band member George Harrison, one of the more famous guitarists ever to have lived, to turn his hand to India's stringed equivalent.
Shankar has also fathered a Grammy winner, the eclectic vocalist Norah Jones who has been honored with jazz, pop and country music accolades during the last decade.
One of Shankar's first international awards was secured in Berlin at the 1957 Berlinale film festival, where he secured the Silver Bear Extraordinary Prize for composing the score for the Bengali movie Kabuliwala.
His influence touched almost every corner of the music industry, including fellow legends in the business. Jazz saxophone master John Coltrane named his son Ravi Coltrane.
Shankar also served as an unelected member of the upper chamber of India's parliament.
Classic Azerbaijani “mugam” dates back to a long history. It was developed, polished and passed from mouth to mouth. The only thing that wasn’t changed is the creative task of bearers of mugam, which comprises the ability of joining the strict rules of formations and freedom of its interpretation. A mugam performer sings and plays traditional variant of classical composition while demonstrating at the same time his ability of improvisation to listeners that adds a unique colour to the sounds of popular melodies.
Traditional mugam ensemble is a trio, casting a singer-hanende and performers on Azerbaijani national musical instruments “tare” (stringed) and kyamanche (bow). Drumming (“def”) party of music is performed by a singer himself.
From the earliest times Azerbaijani mugam art presents three main performing schools – Karabakh, Shirvan and Baku. Each of them added their amazing tints to the development and formation of this Azerbaijani “dastgyakh”.
The performance of “dastgyakh” can be compared with climbing to the Everest from all slopes by the strongest, skilled and well trained professionals.
Mugam trio named after Djabbar Karyagdyoglu offers organic blending of tastes of two schools: lower-Karabakh (in its turn Karabakh School has three trends: gorno- (mountain), middle- and lower-Karabakh) – singer-hanende Zakhid Guliev and Baku stringed musical instrument player Mokhlat Muslimov, and a bow player Fakhratdin Dadashev. Each of them, possessing an impressive individual performing aspect, tactfully locates the orientation of the improvisatory fantasy of a partner in the ensemble.
A repertoire of classical Azerbaijani mugam ensemble consists of mugams, zerbi-mugams, Azerbaijani-mugams and even traditional ashug (Caucasian folk) melodies.
Ancient land of Azerbaijan has been always generous with talents. Majority of them glorified this beautiful land to the world, entering to the golden foundation of world musical art. Safiaddin Urmevi, Abdul Kadyr Maragi, Uzeir Gadjibekov, Sadykhdjan, Djabbar Karyagdyoglu, Mirza Mamed Gasan, Kurban Primov, Bakhram Mansurov and other Azerbaijani musicologists and performers are the stars of “mugam galaxy”. Undoubtedly, we are the spectators of appearance of new stars, flaring with special glitters.
Many thanks to Berdak Bayimbetov for the translations and transcriptions, especially the big work of translating the liner notes.
We received only today the sad news that Ustad Mohammad Sayeed Khan of Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana has passed away on the 6th of october 2012, at the age of 77, in Amsterdam where he lived since the 1980s. In the 1970s EMI India released two LPs by him together with his younger brother Mohammad Rashid Khan - who passed away already in the 1980s - under the name Khan Bandhu. The second of these two LPs we present here as a tribute.
Mohammad Sayeed Khan - Khyal-Pionier in Europa - Nachruf von Yogendra -
Der große Khyal-Sänger Mohammad Sayeed Khan ist am 6. Oktober im Alter von 77 Jahren in Amsterdam verstorben. Er stammte aus einer alten Musikerfamilie in Mumbai und war ein Vertreter der Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. Gelernt hatte er von Kindheit an von seinem Vater, dem Sarangi-Virtuosen Abdul Majid Khan, Schüler von Gharana-Gründer Alladiya Khan und Sarangi-Legende Bundu Khan. International bekannt wurde Mohammad Sayeed Khan in den 1960er und 70er Jahren auf weltweiten Tourneen und zahlreichen Schallplatten im Gesangsduett als Khan Bandhu mit seinem jüngeren Bruder Mohammad Rashid Khan. Nach Rashids frühem Tod ließ er sich über den Umweg Surinam in den 1980er Jahren mit seiner Familie in Amsterdam nieder. Dort lebte er bis zu seinem Tod als Lehrer und konzertierender Künstler und wurde so ein wichtiger Pionier indischer Musik in Europa.
Sein musikalisches Erbe wollte keines seiner Kinder antreten. Deshalb entschloss sich Mohammad Sayeed Khan 2007 nach einer Pilgerfahrt nach Mekka, mit der etablierten Tradition vieler Musikerfamilien zu brechen, wonach musikalisches Wissen als eifersüchtig gehütetes Geheimnis nur mündlich an sorgfältig ausgewählte Verwandte oder sehr enge Schüler weitergegeben wird. Statt seine gesammelten musikalischen Schätze mit ins Grab zu nehmen, präsentierte er sie 2009 in Buchform mit begleitender CD. 238 Khyal-Kompositionen in 115 Ragas aus seiner Familientradition machte er damit der Allgemeinheit zugänglich und bewahrte sie so vor dem Vergessen.
Ustad Mohammad Sayeed Khan got the idea of opening his family's musical riches to the public during a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2007. With the New Year, the Amsterdam-based son of well-known sarangi maestro Abdul Majid Khan has fulfilled his dream, with the release of a CD and a book with 238 compositions in 115 Hindustani ragas ranging from Adana to Yaman. The ensemble was launched recently in Mumbai, London, Delhi and Kolkata.
Noted santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma complimented the ustad at the Mumbai function for "sharing the family jewels of his Jhajjar gharana''. "In one stroke, he has broken an unspoken taboo against the transmission of traditional knowledge which many old-style pedagogues tend to guard like zealous dragons hoarding buried treasures,'' he said. "By providing print and audio versions of the heirlooms with a commentary on the lyrics, the ustad has greatly facilitated the musical odyssey of the neophyte as well as seasoned performer. It's a milestone in the renaissance of the classical tradition.''
In the past, many chelas have complained of difficulties in getting hold of compositions from their `close-fisted' gurus even after offering years of service to them. Experts cite this as one of the reasons for the decline in the traditional style of teaching and the extinction of many exquisite compositions.
Ustad Mohammad Sayeed says he was inspired to share his family repertoire for the sake of posterity. "I do not want to take these treasures with me to the grave as has happened in so many cases,'' he said. "All my children are highly qualified and well settled in the Netherlands. But they aren't interested in music, which makes it all the more imperative that I share it with the larger `family of man'.''
The ustad recalls how he always used to pray for knowledge whenever he offered namaz. He said he was grateful for the superlative taalim (musical education) from his father, who had himself learnt at the feet of the legendary founder of the Jaipur gharana, Alladiya Khan.
Years later when he went to Mecca for a second visit, the ustad says he prayed for the first time for public acceptance of the knowledge that he had received from his forefathers. "Now that, too, is becoming possible,'' he said while reminiscing about the golden era of Hindustani classical music (which is evoked in the book through anecdotes of musicians). That was when his father used to accompany most of the illustrious musicians of the day on the sarangi. "Many masters visited and stayed with my father, who was particularly known for his sangat or instrumental accompaniment to the great diva, Kesarbai Kerkar,'' he recalls. "And it was during the soirees and night-long addas at home and on the concert platform, from behind the tanpura, that I picked up many a secret of the classical tradition during our rigorous apprenticeship.''
Ustad Mohammad Sayeed, a graduate of St Xavier's College, used to sing jugalbandis with his younger brother Ustad Mohammad Rashid Khan. Later he went to Surinam on an Indian Council for Cultural Relations fellowship and travelled thence to Holland with his family in the mid-1980s to eventually settle abroad. "That was the period when my younger brother died in Mumbai, and I began to brood about giving back to society what I had received in such abundance,'' he said.
Veteran sitarist Arvind Parikh, who was also present at the CD launch, said, "Ustad Mohammad Sayeed's maiden venture focused on the nayika or the heroine. We are now looking forward to the next volume which covers the social and cultural aspects of our rich musical heritage.''