Music in Varanasi


Feb 9th, 2004, 04:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Music in Varanasi

I just wanted to turn you all onto an incredible experience I had in Varanasi, India. We wanted to hear some local music while we were visiting. Someone told us about a small music school down near the ghats (Laliata ghat) that also arranged concerts. Almost by accident, we found it. The Sangita Music School. It was basically the home of the proprietor. When we asked if there were any concerts planned he said "just tell me what instruments you would like to hear and I'll arrange to have them here this evening".

We went back that night, sat in his tiny living room with he and his children sipping tea, and listened to world class Indian musicians (e.g. the tabla player had been playing tabla since he was 2 years old; his father was the sitar teacher of Ravi Shankar) for several hours. All for so few rupees that you wouldn't believe me if I told you.

Of all the wonderful things we did while in India, this surprise turned out to be the highlight by far. If you enjoy music, I would certainly keep an eye out for this wonderful place.
BilboB is offline  
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Feb 10th, 2004, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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It is true that Varanasi has a hoary tradition in Indian Classical music and dance, and that it has produced many extraordinary musicians. Bismillah Khan, the great shehnai player, lives there. so does Girija Devi the songstress. Then there are the great percussion masters of the tabla (Kanthe Maharaj, Samta Prasad, Kishan Maharaj and so on - the first two are now dead) who are native to Varanasi. Ravi Shankar is a great musician and was born in Varanasi but his importance and place Indian music are way too overstated in the West.

Ravi Shankar's sitar teacher was Allauddin Khan of Maihar (father of the California-based sarod master Ali Akbar Khan). You were spun a yarn by your music host about the tabla player and his father. Perhaps it is more important that yo uenjoyed the music and has an ennobling experience.

That the music of India surprised you is only an indication of your Eurocentric upbringing, nothing more. But I am glad you have discovered it. To sample some more of it you may saunter over to the website I have put together at:

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