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Sitar & Surbahar: Indian Music for Meditation & Love

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Ustad Imrat Khan comes from a family of North Indian classical musicians: a number of his maternal and paternal forebears were instrumentalists and singers, and his great-grandfather, Ustad Sahebdad Khan, developed the surbahar, sometimes referred to as the bass sitar. Imrat Khan plays both sitar and the surbahar, and his approach to the instruments is influenced by South Asian singing traditions. He is joined by his son, Shafaat Miadaad Khan, on tabla on one of the album’s two pieces, both of which are intended for evening performance. “Rag Jog,” a meditative work played by Imrat Khan on unaccompanied surbahar, features a lovely performance of the alap section—the opening part of a raga where the player improvises in free-time within certain parameters. Eventually the piece moves into the section known as the jor, where a beat is introduced, before the track fades out. The romantic “Rag Saraswati” finds Imrat Khan on sitar and his son on tabla. After a short alap, the lengthy vilambit gat section showcases the fine interplay between the drums and the sitar. This album, which originally came out as an LP in early 1980s, is a welcome addition to any collection of Indian classical music.

Customer Reviews

A little bit of India

The relaxing soothing tunes of Sitar and Surbahar settle the mind and ease the perverbial soul. It takes you to far off distant lands in India with the gentle sounds of meditation. If your objective is to reach a higher plain of thought this is certainly one of the pieces neccesary to obtain it. Two thumbs for Ustad Imrat Khan

About Indian Classical Music...

Indian classical music is principally based on melody and rhythm, not on harmony, counterpoint, chords, modulation and the other basics of Western classical music. The system of Indian music known as Raga Sangeet can be traced back nearly two thousand years to its origin in the Vedic hymns of the Hindu temples, the fundamental source of all Indian music. Thus, as in Western music, the roots of Indian classical music are religious. To us, music can be a spiritual discipline on the path to self-realisation, for we follow the traditional teaching that sound is God - Nada Brahma: By this process individual consciousness can be elevated to a realm of awareness where the revelation of the true meaning of the universe - its eternal and unchanging essence - can be joyfully experienced. Our ragas are the vehicles by which this essence can be perceived. The ancient Vedic scriptures teach that there are two types of sound. One is a vibration of ether, the upper or purer air near the celestral realm. This sound is called Anahata Nad or unstruck sound. Sought after by great enlightened yogis, it can only be heard by them. The sound of the universe is the vibration thought by some to be like the music of the spheres that the Greek Pythagoras described in the 6th century B.C. The other sound Ahata Nad or struck sound, is the vibration of air in the lower atmosphere closer to the earth. It is any sound that we hear in nature or man-made sounds, musical and non-musical. The tradition of Indian classical music is an oral one. It is taught directly by the guru to the disciple, rather than by the notation method used in the West. The very heart of Indian music is the raga: the melodic form upon which the musician improvises. This framework is established by tradition and inspired by the creative spirits of master musicians. Ragas are extremely difficult to explain in a few words. Though Indian music is modal in character, ragas should not be mistaken as modes that one hears in the music of the Middle and Far Eastern countries, nor be understood to be a scale, melody per se, a composition, or a key. A raga is a scientific, precise, subtle and aesthetic melodic form with its own peculiar ascending and descending movement consisting of either a full seven note octave, or a series of six or five notes (or a combination of any of these) in a rising or falling structure called the Arohana and Avarohana. It is the subtle difference in the order of notes, an omission of a dissonant note, an emphasis on a particular note, the slide from one note to another, and the use of microtones together with other subtleties, that demarcate one raga from the other. There is a saying in Sanskrit - "Ranjayathi iti Ragah" - which means, "that which colours the mind is a raga." For a raga to truly colour the mind of the listener, its effect must be created not only through the notes and the embellishments, but also by the presentation of the speific emotion or mood characteristic of each raga. Thus through rich melodies in our music, every human emotion, every subtle feeling in man and nature can be musically expressed and experienced. The performing arts in India - music, dance,drama, and poetry - are based on the concept of Nava Rasa , or the "nine sentiments." Literally, rasa means "juice" or "extract" but here in this context, we take it to mean "emotion" or "sentiment." The acknowledged order of these sentiments is as follows: Shringara (romantic and erotic): Hasya (humorous): Karuna (pathetic): Raudra (anger): Veera (heroic): Bhayanaka (fearful): Vibhatsa (disgustful): Adbhuta (amazement): Shanta (peaceful). Each raga is principally dominated by one of these nine rasas, although the performer can also bring out other emotions in a less prominent way. The more closely the notes of a raga conform to the expression of one single idea or emotion, the more overwhelming the effect of the raga. In addition to being associated with a particular mood, each raga is also closely connected to a particular time of day or a season of the year. The cycle of day and night, as well as the cycle of the seasons, is analogous to the cycle of life itself. Each part of the day - such as the time before dawn, noon, late afternoon, early evening, late night - is associated with a definite sentiment. The explanation of the time associated with each raga may be found in the nature of the notes that comprise it, or in historical anecdotes concerning the raga. (Read more on ravishankar.org on the worldwide web)

Imrat Khan rocks

I was quite estatic to find this here, as I've had this on vinyl for quite a number of years. Side A in particular is very meditative as Imrat plays the bass sitar (Surbahar) in alap. A great digital find. Side B is good as well, but the engineer had the Tabla up just a tad to loud for this. Still good once it settles down. Raga N Roll!

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Ustad Imrat Khan is one of the world's greatest players of the surbahar, a deep-toned, sitar-like stringed instrument that was developed by his great-grandfather, Ustad Sahabdad Khan, and Ustad Imdad Khan. With its four-octave range, the instrument is used to play the ultra-strict dhrupad style of Indian classical music. Still young when his father died, Imrat Khan was taught to play the surbahar and to sing in the highly ornamental classical vocal style of khyal by his mother, Bashiran Begum, and...
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Sitar & Surbahar: Indian Music for Meditation & Love, Imrat Khan
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Asia
  • Released: Jan 01, 1991

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