Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wrestling with the Flute: Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

Poster of Varanasi wrestlers

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, India’s greatest living flute player, was born in the ancient and sacred city of Varanasi in 1938.  His father was a wrestler and the young Hariprasad followed in his footsteps. Or tried to. It was soon clear that he was going through the motions and his heart lay in music.

He studied singing initially with one of Varanasi’s many master musicians, but fell in love with bansuri (bamboo flute) after hearing Pandit Bholanath, perform.  He became Bholanath’s shishya (musical apprentice) for nearly a decade and by the late 1950’s was composing and performing for All India Radio out of Calcutta.

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia

He developed a close working relationship with the santoor player Shivkumar Sharma with whom he has collaborated on a number of recordings, including the international bestseller Call of the Valley (with Brijbhusan Kabra on guitar), as well as film soundtracks. 

Panditji has spent his career reaching out to new listeners and promoted not only the flute but Indian classical music generally.  In that process he has never hesitated to work with musicians from other traditions and has a number of collaborations with the jazz sax player Jan Gabarek and guitar whiz John McLaughlin.

Tonight’s post is a album from the early 1980s recorded with Zakir Hussain on tabla. Chaurasia’s innovative spirit is evident here as well in his including Spanish guitar accompaniment on Raga Ahir-Lalit. It is a brilliant touch. Sunil Kaushik’s playing is perfectly pitched to the moody contemplative piece and never veers into the dangerous ‘fusion-confusion’ territory.

The bansuri remains the ultimate Indian musical instrument for me. None of others is able to create so quickly or so strongly such vivid dusty pictures and deep feelings for that illusive place (or is it just a state of mind?)  called ‘India’.

            Track Listing:
            01 Raga Ahir-Lalit
     02 Raga Ahir-Lalat (Tal_ Roopak)
     03 Dhun Sindhi Bhairvin

Listen here.


Miguel said...

Thank you yer again :)

could you please check track three...

I dl twice but it won't play... :(

even wrestling did not help...

ajnabi said...

Hi Miguel,
I've reupped as they say....let me know if it works this time.

Miguel said...

Thank You Ajnabi,
it's still the same (but you included the covers)


Let's wait if others have same trouble... I'm no expert in these matters, could not convert it to mp3 either... the first two are fine.

Did you dl it yourself... ?

ajnabi said...

yes i did
i'll try again later tiday

ajnabi said...

Miguel, have rewrapped that track...and uploaded again...hope it works now. if not, it is probably some wikileaks bug.

kokolo said...

oH MY, never heard this one, never even heard of this one, listning now, disapearing, what a miracle man he is, thanks for the bouns effort, no problems with tracks. Thank you thank you thank you

ajnabi said...

you're very welcome. And glad to hear there are no problems with the upload! Enjoy disappearing!

Miguel said...

...listening too!

Thanks :)

Ross said...

Many thanks! Just came across this on the tube:

Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia - The Valley Recalls

I guess it's a reprise of Call of the Valley? Whatever it is, it's great.

ajnabi said...

Thanks Ross. Its's good indeed!