Magic Of Monsoon Malhar Vol 1

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

Miyan Ki Malhar
Tabla Player
Anindo Chatterjee (Pandit)
Tambura Player
Naina Shah

About this album

The santoor is a type of dulcimer or box zither, whose strings are hammered with a pair of curved wooden sticks. It belongs to a large group of instruments found in many parts of Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China, although it was until recently little known in India. The modern Indian santoor is closely related, although not identical, to the Persian instrument of the same name. It was adopted into Indian classical music via Kashmir, where it is the leading instrument of the 'Sufiana Kalam' ensemble, and the agent of this adoption was none other than Pandit Shivkumar Sharma himself.

Born in Jammu on January 13th, 1938, Shivkumar Sharma began his training in vocal music and tabla from an early age. He was trained by Pandit Umadutt Sharma, a Kashmiri disciple of Pandit Bade Ramdasji of Benaras. Having been persuaded to take up the santoor, which was not used in Indian classical music at that time, Shivkumar Sharma set out to build a career as a concert soloist. After making his first public performance in Bombay in 1955, he continued to make changes to the layout and tuning of the instrument, creating new playing techniques and incorporating much of the rhythmic mastery he had learned as a tabla player into his santoor playing. So successful has this process been that he is now one of India's most popular classical musicians, and his work has been acknowledged with the receipt of the Sangeet Natak Academy Award.

Shivkumar Sharma's task has been a difficult one, since Indian classical music is still regarded as fundamentally a vocal art, and the santoor is in capable of mimicking vocal techniques to the same degree as the sitar or sarod. But while it may be true-as his critics claim-that his alap can only be a rough approximation of its vocal model, there are countless appreciative listeners who find it ravishingly beautiful music in its own right. His strengths, in addition to his breathtaking virtuosity, are undoubtedly a highly developed aesthetic sense and a command of rhythm which few musicians could even hope to equal.

Rag Mian ki Malhar
Rag Mian ki Malhar is a popular rag of the rainy season, believed to have been creted by Mian Tansen, the Emperor Akbar's foremost court musician, and to have been a favourite of the great ruler himself. It embodies something of the awesome power of the monsoon, as well as the romantic longing of lovers separated by the rains.


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