INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Great Sitarists


Author Message
Great Sitarists Sep 22, 2003 10:49 a.m.

OK, its been wisely pointed out to me that many artists don't have a particular gharana, or may have trained under more than one instructor, may have more than one gharana or technique that they perform, or perhaps they perform the gharana they of the last instructor they trained under, and had previously performed the gharana of a earlier instructor. In my original post, I talked about ranking sitar artists, but as Amitava explains so well, that would not be an easy or correct thing to do.

So let me rephrase this whole mess, and start over. I want to try to improve mine, as well as other newcomers', knowledge of recorded sitar players. Below I have compiled a list of several sitar players I know of, who may or may not be considered "great", just sitar players I have heard. I know its a short list, but I have limited knowledge. It is sorted in first-name order, so the position of the name in the list means nothing.

What I would like everyone who can do, is:
1) add names to the list of recorded sitarists.
2) list the gharanas/schools/techniques that the sitarists uses/used.

The idea is, to compile a list of recorded artists, and for those of us wanting to understand the different schools or gharanas, we can refer to this list while listening to a recording, or use the list as a reference for purchasing recordings of artists who may perform a particular gharana. Of course, as Amitava pointed out, an artist may be playing different techniques at different times, so this won't be 100%, but I think it will still be an extremely valuable exercise. Once we have given this enough time, then I can post a compilation of everyone's lists and post it here for everyone's use.

So compile a list, perhaps using the names on my list as a start. You can include all or none of those names, just include names you know, however you want to do it. Make each row on your list a different name, followed by the gharana(s), like this:

Shahid Parvez, Imdadkhani Gharana

If there are more than one gharana, just seperate them with a comma, letting the row wrap to a new line if needed. Doing it this way will make it easier for me to feed the data into a database and work with it. But if you don't understand, do it however you like, and I'll deal with it. All I ask is, if you have other comments, put them below your list of names please.

So here is a list of names I came up with to get the ball rolling, though I'm not qualified to state what all their gharanas are; I'll leave that up to you old-timers:

Anoushka Shankar
Ashwin Batish
Budhaditya Mukherjee
Imrat Khan
Indrajit Banerjee
Manilal Nag
Nikhil Banerjee
Nishat Khan
Previn Shankar
Purbayan Chatterjee
Rais Khan
Ravi Shankar
Shahid Parvez
Shamin Ahmed Khan
Shujaat Khan
Vilayat Khan

Billy Godfrey
Sitars Etc. Fan Club, Beginners Division
Re:Great Sitarists Sep 22, 2003 11:39 a.m.

You forgot to put ME on that list!
Jeffrey R King
Re:Great Sitarists Sep 22, 2003 11:59 a.m.

Don't mind if I excuse myself from the poll. First I have not heard all these folks..and there are other sitariyas...and #2 in my opinion most of these musicians have something unique/appealing in each of their styles/performances. It would be easier is specific categories were asked to be judged - rather than a general feel. While things are subjective, an overall feel is FAR more subjective than gauging them by specific elements that define aesthetics. For example, raag-rules, structuring a performance, layakari, chikari work, meend work, imagination, taans (get into specific types), etc.

My 2 paisas.

Re:Great Sitarists Sep 22, 2003 12:27 p.m.

Amitava (Sep 22, 2003 11:59 a.m.):
Don't mind if I excuse myself from the poll. First I have not heard all these folks..and there are other sitariyas...and #2 in my opinion most of these musicians have something unique/appealing in each of their styles/performances.A


I guess I have an awful problem communicating, or designing polls or questions, in a way to get answers sometimes. I wish I was better.

Please participate in the poll. You don't have to put a 1-10 rating if you don't wish, but we could certainly benefit from your wide knowledge of ICM by providing sitar artists you have heard of, and what gharana they generally follow/belong to. Even if you don't even provide that, but provide only names, that would be extremely helpful. And perhaps they don't have to be "great" sitarists, but "good" sitarists, or simply "recorded" sitarists. I'm most interested in recorded sitarists anyway, no matter what their quality, as if I can know the gharana, it would help me when listening to them to understand the style.

This is not a sanctioned project by anyone, this is not scientific, this is not part of a research paper or anything, it is not to be used elsewhere, just here; this is just something I thought of that would help me, and probably help others. I see names mentioned all the time, I also see gharanas mentioned all the time, and being able to equate a name to a style would be hugely useful to my education. I respect your opinion over many others, and I hope you will reconsider. I think the value of this little project would be greatly diminished without your help.

Perhaps, if anyone does not want to publically post a list, you could email it to me privately at

Billy Godfrey
Sitars Etc. Fan Club, Beginners Division
Re:Great Sitarists Oct 08, 2003 06:25 p.m.

try this one..Pathak Gharana
Balaram&Ashok Pathak
see website Ashok Pathak
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