INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall.


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Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 27, 2002 05:07 p.m.

Hi All: Although I�m still high from seeing Ravi & Anoushka Shankar last night, I thought I�d jot down some observations while still fresh in my mind. If you get a chance to see them, DON�T MISS OUT!
The interaction between Bappi and Noushka was an inspiration to humankind. They absolutely adore each other. Musically, the interaction between Ravi, Anoushka, and (2) tabla players was a thrill. The last piece espesially was an absolute gas! Ravi explained before they started it, that it was going to be a kind of follow the leader, mish-mash, in which he would not only incorporate different ragas but also change talas in the midst of it all. It turned into a kind of musical tag in which each musician took turns polyrhythmically turning the groove every-which-way-but-loose. They were all having a ball, often laughing and grinning at each other. Ravi would look at Noushka or one of the tabla players with this one-eye-open, SE grin on his face as if to say �Wait �til you get a load of this� and then proceed to turn things upside down and inside out.
Another thing I was pleased with was Ravi�s alaps were much longer than on any of his recordings that I have, including concert footage. Maybe he feels that today�s American audience (that would go to an ICM concert) can actually sit through more than five minutes of alap.
Now for the sitar tech stuff. I had great seats (4th row, center) so I was able to see everything that was going on.
First, both sitars had pick-ups on them that were not being used to amplify the instruments. I don�t know what brand they were, they were grey and round and looked bigger than the typical piezo type transducers I�ve seen. Anybody know what these are? Although both Ravi and Anoushka tuned primarily by ear, there were a couple of times when Ravi handed his sitar to Noushka, while he talked to the audience, and she would plug into a tuner. Then she would hand the sitar back to Bappi and they would fine tune by ear.
Although there were no broken strings during the performance, there was one point when Ravi knocked a chakari string off its post. Luckily the Master still has his eyesight, as it only took him a few seconds to re-position it. Damn, I�m half his age and I can�t see that little groove! Maybe he did it by feel
One thing that should put a lot of us at ease, regarding our instruments, was the fact that there was quite a bit of tuning going on during the performance, not only with tuning beads, but with pegs also. (Of course players of this caliber have no problem reaching up and grabbing a peg while they�re playing.) During Ravi�s alap, he had to re-tune his low SA and/or PA string each time he did one of those low, sorrowful-sounding meends. This confirmed, in my mind, what my sitar-tech guru told me; �There�s just NO WAY of keeping those big bronze strings from going out of tune when you do a big meend.� What makes a player like Ravi so great is the ability to deal with constantly re-tuning the string and not have it interrupt the flow of the alap.
BTW, my sitar guru informed me that the latest rage is to use a flat wound harp string in place of the big bronze SA string. Apparently they stay in tune much better and don�t rattle like the bronze wire.
Well, that�s about it. If I think of anything more, I�ll let you know. Cheers � K.K.
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 27, 2002 06:16 p.m.

Yes, watching father and daughter trade off with the tablayas is probably the best part of their performance. They are happy people. And Ravi always was a cut-up. Looks like the "Noush" picked it up too. Good for her.
Don't know what the pickup is, but it probably goes straight to a mixer board. That's one reason why their sound is always good no matter where they play.
There is no way to keep those bass strings in tune for long. Trick is to not lose the beat when you have to grab a bead or peg. I haven't got that one down yet. Mucho practice I guess...
Harp string huh? OK, I'm curious. You're going to have to tell us more about that one sometime (gauge, etc).
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 27, 2002 06:34 p.m.

Hi Russ: I don't think the pickups were plugged into anything when not tuning. I didn't see any direct boxes, but I could be mistaken. Sitars just had mics on them. I think I'm going to see Anoushka tomorrow night down in Carlsbad. It's pretty low key down there so maybe I'll get a chance to ask about the pickups. - K.K.
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 27, 2002 07:39 p.m.

I've had the great pleasure of seeing them in concert twice, the second being at pasadena jr college(calif) at that concert a friend of mine who plays tambora with him, as well as works on his sitars here in the U.S introduced me to him. He was very kind & warm. And autographed my Bangladash booklet. The concerts are so much more energy filled than albums could ever be................Peace
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 28, 2002 12:26 p.m.

Oh yeah, live performance beats recordings any day of the week. I've seen them exactly twice as well. Wanted to get his autograph last time, but the guys running the Ravi Shankar foundation who sponsored the recital would not permit anyone near them. KK, get Ahouskha's take on the string thing too if she's willing.
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 28, 2002 04:32 p.m.

The pickup is a Schertler (Swiss made) contact pickup. I have one myself. They are the best
and most expensive contact pickups made. They
have a web I agree,
at the UCLA concert the actual sound out of
the board seemed to be all microphone, although I have mixed both together myself.
I have found it of use as a signal boost when
in a situation where the microphone is feeding
back too much, as these pickups are very
feedback resistant, although I don't imagine
that's why the Shankars were using them. Hope
this info helps, Mark
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 29, 2002 02:24 a.m.

Dear K.K., As I just got back from Anoushka's
solo concert in Oceanside and had the chance
to speak to the Shankar's current sitar tech (Kenji), I thought I'd add to my post.They are
using the Schertler in the mix. I didn't ask
at what ratio. Also, you might find it interesting to know that they used no microphones on the tanpuras tonight, but rather an oval/cupped shape contact pickup that actually sat on the carpet. The bottom of
the tanpura was then placed on this pickup. It's something that they were trying out. It
sounded fine to me. P.S. It was another great
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 29, 2002 03:05 a.m.

Hey Mark: I just got back from Noushka's concert myself! I must have a longer drive than you Yes, tonight I noticed that the pickups were running to the board. My mistake Russ. Nouska was using the tone generater in her tuner, to tune to. I could hear it from where I was sitting. Beeeeeeeeeeep. So, I was wondering why you could hear Kenji's tampura so well. Vedi trriky. What a fabulous show, eh? I especially liked the dance that the lady tampura player did at the very end!! Seriously, I thought Noushka was really trancing out tonight on her alaps. It really hit me. And the tabla players were ON FIRE! Also, I thought the presentation to Ravi was very touching. So where do you live, Mark? I haven't seen you post on this forum. Do you know Tony also? I was suppose to meet him there tonight, but he flaked. Maybe he got a last minute gig. Time for bed. - K.K.
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 29, 2002 10:10 a.m.

Which Tony is that KK?
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 30, 2002 11:29 a.m.

Sitarsrule: Same wildman who you know! - K.K.
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 30, 2002 06:22 p.m.

Wow, what a small world, that you know Tony K. He & I made a music video a few years ago, as well as having him fine tune me sitars.........Peace
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 30, 2002 08:35 p.m.

Hi K.K. I've never posted before this but I've
been reading for about six months. Yes, I know
Tony. He's like my guruji but I'm in the
Pasadena area so I'm not able to get down to him very often. By the way, I was third row
center at UCLA, you must have been right behind me! If you want to give me your e-mail
I'll send you a digital photo or two that I
took during the concert-I even have one when
the tanpura lady started to fall--I think she was so thrilled to be up there that she
was having an out of body experience! I was just waiting for her to levitate! Mark
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Sep 30, 2002 08:46 p.m.

Mark I'm in Redondo Beach, & the trip to carlsbad can be a bit trying on the 405 frw, After I'm done with school, I'd like to hook up with you guys here in the L.A area for a jam ........Peace
Re:Ravi & Anouska at UCLA Royce Hall. Oct 01, 2002 11:06 a.m.

Mark: I'd love copies of those images, thank you! My email is - K.K.
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