INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Favorite Recording, Part Two


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Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 15, 2002 02:36 p.m.

That darn thread Favorite Recording just won't go away. Keeps popping up with today's date, but there's nothing new on it for some time! So, continuation of the old tread.

Lars&Jerry, just got Nikhil's double CD "Live at De Kosmos" with Monomanjari and Sindhu Kamaj. That is definitely an odd raga, almost sounds like Nikhil lost his way in it more than once. But a damn fine alap! Haven't got to Sindu Kamaj yet. Lars, Raga Records sell both versions of Monomanjari? Didn't see the other one.

Still holding out some hope for a "good" Vilayat Khan (good defined as pretty darn subjective)to go in my collection. What would you consider to be his best CD/recording as your recommendation?

Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 15, 2002 11:00 p.m.

Hey Russ.......don't know about Vilayat Khan CD's, don't listen to him but the other Nikhil Banerjee Manomanjari is #202 at
Click on Nikhil Banerjee on the left and it's the 2nd CD down from the top!
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 16, 2002 01:30 a.m.

Hey Russ
I agree about the Manomanjeri in that double pack. I still find it a tough listen. But I hope you get more out of Sindhu Khamaj. For me, that one was a revalation.
Like Lars, I still can't love Vilayat Khan's style. I have a full run though by him of Raga Hameer (i.e. a full CD raga), and it's interesting, as much as anything because I also have Ravi playing Hameer and I'm always interested to hear two great masters playing the same raga in their different ways. At one point in the gat, the Ustad stops playing and sings for a few measures!
One thing I like about his style is that he doesn't seem to allow the tabla to become overpoweringly busy, something that I sometimes find a bit distracting with Ravi and Nikhil for example.
But the sound of his instrument is less rich somehow than their's, and I also don't like his chickari style which, even in alap, 'chings' the chickaris in a very regular rhythm (one, ching, two, ching , three ching, etc, if you can imagine that.) Kind of comes across like sub-continent country and western!
Russ - If you want to try him without taking a risk, I'd be happy to burn one for you to dip your toe in the water.
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 16, 2002 10:49 a.m.

Hi Jerry;
Yeah, I've read that Vilayat plays his chikaris in a "tanpura" style, very rythmic and steady, almost like waltz time in some cases. In contrast, Ravi and Nikhil play theirs more as a point of emphasis, separating phrases. Only in the jhalla do they use chikari for pure rythmn.
In the last two years I have got out of listening to just Ravi or Nikhil, and started to listen to other sitar styles. As a player, I'm looking for the style that is compatible with me. That's also why I'm adding others to my CD collection, including ol' Vilayat since he is so different.
Jerry, since you spell "favourite" differently, may I assume you live on the other side of "the big pond"? Your kind offer to burn a CD for me would be appreciated, and if I can do one for you, just let me know. I will get an email address off to you later.
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 16, 2002 12:30 p.m.

Hi Russ
A swap sounds good. Yes, I'm in the UK, (old chap).
Get me on
Vilayat Khan revealed Apr 18, 2002 11:36 p.m.

I rarely get involved in online discussions, but this thing about favorite recordings, and especially the comments about Vilayat Khan have prompted me to make a suggestion or two. Vilayat is, for sure, more problemmatic for the listener than say Ravi or Nikhil. But he is revered like a god in India, and with good reason!
And there is hope! Thirty years ago when I was totally immersed in the recordings of RS and NB I came across, in a record store, this guy Vilayat Khan. I was hesitant to buy it, but, captivated by the picture on the cover, I took a chance. This thing became, and still is today, my most prized recording.
The secret is that Vilayat is best approached thru the raga Bhairavi. He is somewhat a specialist in this raga.
This 30 year old Bhairavi is now available on CD! When I first heard it, I was totally shocked and blown away by his mastery of melodic progression, this is in thumri style. And forget about the "spiritual sky", this one comes from mother earth, grounded by the triad in the chickaris, you'll only know what I mean when you hear it. The CD is available thru SaReGaMa, and they have a website. It has 3 things on it. Ahir Bhairav, Tilak Kamod, and Bhairavi. This is important! Listen carefully---you must go directly to track #3 and listen to Bhairavi, only then listen to Tilak Kamod next.
I hope someone will take me up on this.
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 19, 2002 12:49 a.m.

Hmmmm, David.....Not being a fan of V.K., I am intrigued. What's the exact name of the CD?? SaReGaMa seems to be 'still' under renovation............I'll try it out if I can find it.......??
Re:Vilayat revealed Apr 19, 2002 05:49 a.m.

The "exact" title is Ustad Vilayat Khan. So you see that's a big help! There must be twenty with that title!
But It carries the subtitle "an Exposition of Ragas Ahir Bhairav, Tilak Kamod, & Bhairavi", but I don't think that was in the listing. I bought it in the hope that it was the same recording from the old record, and it was, ....sorta....
The Bhairavi is exactly the same, The Tilak Kamod appears to be an alternative edit of the same recording, still very good, and Ahir Bhairav was not on the original record. This was Vilayat at a young age when he was making a name for himself, and it has an unusual tuning of the drones. And truly brilliant playing, in a lyrical style which is his forte.
He has developed a "no compromise" attitude that is sometimes bordering on arrogance, making a lot of his recorded work inaccesible to a lot of ICM listeners, especially to westerners who have certain expectations. But if you don't like this one, you will never like anything he's done. I'm betting you will though. Worth waiting till they get that website back on.
And if you do like it, I'll suggest the next step.
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 19, 2002 10:18 a.m.

OK David, I'll take you up on this and try it out. But you got me nervous about that "next step".
You sound like me a bit in getting an old VK record on impulse. Back in 1968, I bought an early VK record featuring a jugalbandi between himself and shenai player Bismallah Khan (can't remember the songs). Had no idea who these people were, just thought the cover was cool, and that was when I was just getting into sitar. Never did like that record, but the reason was because I can't stand shenai. Its timbre makes my skin crawl! So I gave the record away. But I thought the sitar was "pretty good" as I remember. But I have listened to thousands of hours of sitar since, and my interest in sitar and the music has only increased. So, giving Vilayat another shot....
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 25, 2002 10:11 p.m.

My CD is on order at Khazana. Here's the link for any/all who are interested:

Will listen to it with an open mind David, thanks for the tip!! Nikhil is God, though..........heh heh

Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 02, 2002 09:24 p.m.

Ok, first......sorry for posting the long link that screwed up the messages!
Got the VK CD today David, have to say I still am not 'moved', just don't feel the soul that you get from Nikhil. Vilayat is very good technically though...not my thing I guess! But worth a listen anyway.....been listening to a lot of Usman Khan who I like very much but it's hard to find a lot of recordings by him. Also been listening to Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan which is very entertaining as well........
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 03, 2002 12:11 p.m.

I've got NO ARGUMENT against pandit Nikhil Banerjee! Only that you might be able to appreciate UVK better thru this recording. Give it some time. A few more listens. Especially don't compare it to anyone else. Each player has his own voice, and the language can be different, and unfamiliar at first. ---David
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 08, 2002 09:22 p.m.

Just got the double cd "live at de kosmos", and I find both Manomanjari and Sindu Khamaj to be beautiful performances. Manomanjari may be different in parts, I am just a listener not a sitarist, but the instruments are always right on and perfectly complementary . The music is melodic, nothing atonal or nerve wracking.
I mentioned another CD from Raga records in a previous post, but misnamed it . The raga is Purabi Kalyan, not Puriya Kalyan. Just beautiful music. I hope to take in my first concert this summer.
Happy listening,
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 11, 2002 04:25 p.m.

Hi Joe,
Hey, 2 other great recordings in my opinion are 'Shyam Kedar' on the Chhanda Dhara label and 'Surdasi Malhar' on the Navras label by Nikhil Banerjee......glad you're enjoying the music!


Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 12, 2002 01:13 a.m.

Hi Lars
Tell me something. On that Sur Malhar recording, do you find that the recording balance goes screwy right at the end in the jhalla. I have to stop listening at this final track because all I can hear are the tabla and Nikhil's chickaris. How 'bout you?
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 12, 2002 01:18 p.m.

Hi Lars,

Thanks, I'll definitely check out those recordings.


Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 12, 2002 01:20 p.m.

Hi Jerry.......yes, it goes a little weird. I think it was the only digital recording NB did, he may have moved a little during jhalla and caused some mic problems? I can still hear the main string only at a very low volume........
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 12, 2002 02:29 p.m.

That's it. Me too. It's still worth it for the rest of the music though. Really he was amazing. Sometimes when he ends a phrase on that ma-re descent I feel like I'm sinking in treacle - in a good way
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two May 12, 2002 05:17 p.m.

Hi Jerry,
Yes, that's still a great recording......I've noticed from watching him on this video that he moves around a little so must have shifted during jhalla......
Have you listened to the interview with him that's posted on Peters site?? It's also at
Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 19, 2003 10:25 p.m.

Okay, I'll drag this one back out of the archives so you don't have to sift through 6 pages "of all time" (I ran into some old archives that answer current questions, so it wasn't a problem to look back at all of the threads).
I know this is really the sitarji forum, and I really like a lot of the sitar music that I have, but my three/four favorites at this time, are all on other, very related instruments.
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar - Rudra Vina
Live - Seattle 1981 (Raga-219)
Rags Todi, Ahir Lalit & Panchamkauns
Yaman & Shuddha Todi (Nimbus 7047 & 7048 -packed in a set)

Pandit Chandrashekhar - Surbahar
The Tradition Of Dhrupad On Subahar (Makar CD001)
Rags Yaman Kalyan, Jaijaivanti & Nandeswari

Asad Ali Khan - Rudra Vina
Raga Jaijaivanti (Nimbus 5601)

Re:Favorite Recording, Part Two Apr 19, 2003 10:32 p.m.

I'd also like to know more about the "deserted island". Robinson Carusoji?!
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