BARMER BOYS/CLINTON CEREJO - Pir Jalani Video on Season 3, Coke Studio@MTV!
August 28, 2013: Barmer Boys/Clinton Cerejo's Pir Jalani video on Season 3 of Coke Studio @ MTV is now out! On TV screens this Saturday at 8:00pm India Standard Time. Folk with attitude! 21st Century Folk! A song to honour the great 11th century Sufi saint from Persia, Pir Abdul Qadir Jilani.
Video: Clinton Cerejo & Barmer Boys Pir Jalani, Coke Studio @ MTV Season 3
In Memoriam: Padma Shri Sakar Khan (1938-2013)
PADMA SHRI SAKAR KHAN (1938-2013) – A LEGEND PASSES AWAY (August 10, 2013, New Delhi, India) With great sadness we announce the passing of music legend Padma Shri Sakar Khan (born August 9, 1938 – died August 10, 2013). Born in the village of Hamira in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, he was the greatest exponent of the kamancha - a musician's musician renowned the world over, a treasure of India. Not just of the Thar desert where he lived, but for the vast swath of land extending west to parts of Europe. To those who love traditional music for its own sake, Sakar Khan is to the kamancha what Yehudi Menuhin is to the violin. To those who subscribe to the view that the origins of several musical traditions including the Flamenco, and later, the Blues, are to be found in the songs of the nomads who traveled West from Rajasthan many centuries ago, Sakar Khan’s music takes on a deeper meaning. Sakar Khan’s kamancha is one of the last connections to the roots that fed the branches of music across continents.
Sakarji performed with music royalty such as Lord Yehudi Menuhin, George Harrison and Sultan Khan among others. He toured Europe, the US and Asia in the 70's and 80's and continued to play his instrument to the end. As a musician and a man, Sakarji is irreplaceable: he was a priceless ornament to the Indian folk tradition, and a pillar of his community, Rajasthan's Muslim minstrels, the Manganiyars. The one comforting thought is that his sons Ghewar, Firoze and Dara Khan, highly accomplished musicians who learnt from their father, will now carry his legacy forward. The tradition is alive, and will be for at least another generation, thanks to the lifetime Sakarji devoted to his beloved kamancha.
Career highlights: - Padma Shri awarded in 2012 - India’s highest civilian award for his contribution to Indian music - Has performed with violin legend Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison (of The Beatles). Numerous international performances, including those at major festivals in the US, France, Japan and USSR. - Tulsi Samman awarded in 1990 by the Madhya Pradesh government - Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1991 - His album "At Home: Sakar Khan" was released September 2012 on Amarrass Records.
Rais Khan (b. 1989) is an incredibly talented percussionist and member of the group Barmer Boys. Born in village Harbha (district Jaisalmer, Rajasthan), Rais' training in music began at an early age under the guidance of his father. He is a master of the morchang, or Jew's Harp, a popular folk instrument from western India. Using his breath, voice and mouth and the morchang, he shapes unique sounds, rhythms and sonic patterns, creating proto-electronic sounds. Besides the morchang, Rais Khan also plays the bhapang, the khartaal (Rajasthani castanets) and has added beatboxing to his repertoire.
Mohan Lal Lohar, blacksmith and woodworker
Mohan Lal Lohar is folk music’s equivalent of a polyglot---but with an added dimension. Not only can he play every wind, string, bow and percussion instrument native to his Rajasthan, he also makes them. His surname, ‘lohar’ (one who works with iron) denotes his caste and occupation: he is a blacksmith, from a family that has traditionally plied the trade.
But Mohan Lal is different. He combines a talent for music with his craftsmanship. At his workshop in Jaisalmer, the rhythmic beating of a piece of metal gives way within hours to the refined percussion of a freshly made morchang — just cool enough to play. The workshop itself belies what is produced in it. In one of the town’s many open-sewered lanes, it is just a portion of a small courtyard, under a shed that leaks; as much a play area for his goats as it is a place of work.
Lakha Khan, Sarangi maker
Lakha Khan is an acclaimed Sarangi craftsman and musician from the village of Raneri in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. It takes him ten days labouring away on a single block of wood to just carve out this complex musical instrument - a testament to the decades of craftsmanship, persistence and passion for music.
Speciality: Sarangi. Lakha Khan has four sarangis, each from a previous generation in his family. This instrument is in his blood. Contact us to find out how you can get a Sarangi handcrafted by the master.
Shankara Ram Suthar, Kamancha maker
There is a reason why the kamanchas on view at Manganiyar performances have a charming antiquity about them. They often come stained, patched up, with bits of inlay work missing—all signs that they are in regular use. But they are, almost without exception, also very old.
This is where Shankara Ram Suthar’s story as master kamancha-maker begins. In the early eighties, academics—and musicians—found that no one was making kamanchas any more. They imported a batch of about 16 from Pakistan, where artisans evidently had a bit if stock, and these made their way to collectors and musicians. But with no local craftsmen, there was a problem.
Like the one Sakar Khan had. Sakarji, the greatest living exponent of the instrument (Amarrass will release an album of sessions with him soon), discovered that the mango wood belly of his kamancha had developed a crack. But with no artisans making the instrument, there was no one competent to carry out repairs either. Shankara Ram Suthar, the carpenter by trade and caste, lived near Sakarji in the little village of Hamira, Jaisalmer. The instrument was taken to Suthar, who, knowing it belonged to a master, carried out the repairs meticulously. Sakarji’s kamancha was good to play again.
The fact that the carpenter’s work had passed muster with the redoubtable Sakar Khan drew other musicians to Suthar. He carried out repairs for them, but there seemed to be few fresh orders. This, despite the efforts of government officials sensitive to the fact that the art of making kamanchas was dying: Suthar produced some excellent prototypes for them, but that was about it. If you were just making kamanchas, you were not making a living.
Suthar fell back on carpentry. He would travel to Pune to make furniture for a contractor, as half-made instruments languished in his little workshop in Hamira. He still does what he has to to earn a living, but we are happy to report that he has received fresh orders through the Amarrass Society for Performing Arts. A discerning British collector of stringed instruments (and pensioner), received his kamancha last month and said he was delighted. A second piece will shortly be on its way to the United States. And a third one makes its way to Germany this summer. We are, we hope, seeing the beginnings of a renewal of interest in this unique instrument. (below: our first kamancha sold!)
The kamanchas that are produced in Hamira are special not just because of the high level of craftsmanship that goes into making them. They are also the product of a secular collaboration. The Suthar crafts the wooden portions of the instrument - the sound box, the bow, the neck and so on, but his Hindu religious beliefs forbid him from working with animal hide or gut. Once the skeleton is finished, the Muslim Manganiyars take over, attaching the hide, adding the gut strings and, of course, tuning the instrument to ensure it is perfect. When Sakar Khan is within earshot, nothing less will do.
Shankara Ram Suthar's speciality: Kamancha. This is the instrument that is at the heart of the Manganiyars's music. And the Suthar is the finest maker of it. All he needs is a block of wood of his choosing. To order this unique instrument, write to us or order online:
Amarrass Records India Pvt Ltd
301 Skipper Corner, 88 Nehru Place
New Delhi 110019 INDIA
US Office: Amarrass Records
2124 E. Main St., Madison, WI, 53704
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