Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India label

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Abhimonyu
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Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India label

Post by Abhimonyu » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:38 am

Hello Everyone,

About 25 or 30 years ago when I was very young, I had come across 2 records of Ali Akbar Khansaheb from a family friend. They were from the Young India label. I copied the records onto my tape recorder but neglected to write down the details of the records.

I am guessing that they are pre-1950 because they mentioned that Khansaheb was grateful to the Maharaja of Jodhpur for this recording.

I have not seen these records on any discography later on. Here is the link to download them:

http://www.mediafire.com/?stpc5rgt65o4i

Please go to the folder "Ali Akbar Khan", then "Young India label records". There are 4 pieces, about 7:30 each. Desh, Misra Pilu, Khamaj Thumri, and (I'm guessing) Surdasi Malhar.

In the folder "HMV 78 rpm records" you will find his Kedar, Kirwani, Bagesri, and Basant Mukhari from the 78 rpm records of HMV. You might want to download these as well because the recording quality is far better than you will find anywhere else.

Finally, in the "All India Radio broadcast" folder, you will find a few Akashvani Kolkata broadcast recordings of Khansaheb from approximately 1960. The recording quality is very poor but I'm afraid that there is nothing to do about it. I believe the Chandrakauns and Zilla Kafi were published by T-Series but the Kedar remains unpublished.

Hope you enjoy them.

Abhimonyu Deb
Kolkata

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plectum
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by plectum » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:09 am

Thank you sir, what a treasure you have uploaded!!!! Khansaheb's recordings from his younger days are indeed priceless.
You know, music, art - these are not just little decorations to make life prettier. They're very deep necessities which people cannot live without. ~~ Pablo Picasso

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ragamala
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by ragamala » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:58 pm

Many thanks, indeed, for sharing these rarities with us!

Alan

pg382
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by pg382 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:44 pm

Many thanks, Abhimonyu!

horsefly
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by horsefly » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:55 pm

Many many thanks for these wonderful rare vintage recordings. The ones from Lucknow are especially
rewarding and come as a surprise as they do not seem to be documented in any discography that I know of or have found. The musical genius and supreme virtuosity of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan always amazes me and is especially evident in his early recordings such as these.

H

Abhimonyu
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by Abhimonyu » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:00 am

You are all very much welcome.

Jhaptal
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by Jhaptal » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:51 pm

Wonderful recordings. Thanks very much.

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plectum
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by plectum » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:40 am

Whenever I listen to the AAK’s recordings from his younger days, a question pops into my mind. How did he develop such a mature baaj at such a young age? Who was the inspiration? The natural answer would be his father, but from what I have listened to of Baba’s sarod recordings, he played in the traditional way, i.e. with heavy right hand emphasis. AAK may have developed his right hand technique from Baba but what about his left hand technique?

Here, I believe, lies AAK’s genius. On listening to Baba’s sursringar recordings(suddha kalyan and suddha nat), I seem to find the precursors to AAK’s technique. AFAIK, sursringar permits almost no right hand improvisational potentials, so the baaj is left-hand heavy. AAK, with his consummate genius absorbed the sursringar left hand technique, while maintaining the traditional sarod right hand bols, and developed a technique in which the right and left hand alternate in emphasis. The ultra-conservative Baba did not mix his suddha kalyan and yaman, or his sarod and sursringar, and might not have been too interested about this avenue, which was left to his son AAK to explore and expand.

IMHO, AAK was indeed a child prodigy, who was more prodigy than child, but this is not recognized.

Anyway, my 2 cents.
You know, music, art - these are not just little decorations to make life prettier. They're very deep necessities which people cannot live without. ~~ Pablo Picasso

expiring_frog
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by expiring_frog » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:44 pm

Thanks very much for these wonderful uploads, Abhimonyu.

I have the following info on the radio recs, which I'm not sure is in your files:

Chandrakauns: Recorded 30 Oct 1960
Kedar (Tabla: Keramatullah Khan): Recorded 19 Feb 1959
Zilla Kafi: Recorded 12 Dec 1960

aparajit
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by aparajit » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:41 am

Thanks for all your hard work. It really takes something to collect what you have, then to go to the effort of uploading it, and then to share it so generously.

We are all indebted to you.

Thanks,
Apu

RichardH
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by RichardH » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:55 pm

These recordings are really fantastic- for years, I've heard stories of long-lost 'big discs' from the period when Khansahib was a court musician, before any of the commercial 78's were recorded. The closest I ever came to them was once, while visiting the son of one of AAK’s earliest disciples, he sadly pulled out the broken halves of a huge shellac disc, which he offered to me if I thought it could be mended. At the time I thought it was not possible (it is) so I declined.

As soon as I heard these recordings, I took them to another of Khanshaib’s senior disciples (Rajeev Taranath) who happened to be visiting, and we spent the afternoon listening and commenting. Some of the observations:

This kind of disc- 78rpm, 7-30 minutes long- were mostly used by radio stations for ‘filler’ music and were usually one-off, direct-to-disc recordings, though they could be reproduced- and there were no consumer-level machines that could play them.

These recordings were probably not intended for commercial release- the street noise and the competent but not great tabla player would seem to indicate that these were made informally, maybe the Maharaja trying out some new recording equipment. This is particularly plausible as, at the time of his death in 1952, the Maharaja was planning to make Jodhpur a center of film and recording.

Stylistically, there are some interesting things: there is a certain kind of crisp, clear sound in the fast single-note tans (especially in the last piece) that I’ve only heard on two or three other recordings- it was later replaced by rather blurry fast-diris-plus-krintans. Also interesting is the sat-sangat portion of the medium gat- I’d always thought this was a later development. Although he continued to occasionally play the kind of up-tempo Masitkhani gat found in the last recording, he did it as a section within a whole vilambit gat performance, not as a separate item.

The last piece is probably better titled “Megh’ than Surdasi Malhar- I explain this in this PDF of notation of the recordings that I made:

http://www.filedropper.com/aak4ragasyoung-india

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ragamala
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by ragamala » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:11 am

Thanks very much Richard for your instructive guide to these recordings.

Having now had a better chance to hear these since my first instant response to the posts, I have realised how special indeed these are.

expiring_frog
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by expiring_frog » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:39 pm

Wow, thanks for such detailed notes, Richard, and thanks to Rajeev-ji as well.

The Desh ektal gat is probably based on the well-known bandish "beet jAt barkhA ritu sajan nAhi Aye". The version by Lakshmi Shankar is easily available online, and here's a classic rendition by Malka Jan of Agra from the very early 1900s, first decade or so: http://graphics.stanford.edu/~sidch/Mal ... itu%29.mp3. Khansahab has also played this in duet with Nikhil Banerjee (possibly moving into it from Khammaj -- I forget).

S

Abhimonyu
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by Abhimonyu » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:47 pm

Thank you, Richard, for your brilliant analysis. The music really does mean much more to me now after reading your writing.

Just 2 points to clarify. First, these were not 78 rpm records. They were 33 1/3 rpm records (10 inch size). They were commercial releases from the Young India label. This was an Indian venture from approximately 1935 to 1955. Please refer to the links below:

http://www.warrensenders.com/journal/?p=3635
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/indrecbk.htm

Second, because I had transferred the disks to ¼” about 30 years ago, I don’t remember exactly what was written on the records. I was too young then (about 9 years old) to understand the significance and importance of the recordings. I remember that the Desh specifically said “Desh”. However, the other labels that I had written are just what I had thought them to be.

Another thing. If you go to my Mediafire account (the link you followed to get the Ali Akbar Khan recordings), you will find a folder on Vilayat Khan. The 2 recordings there (Pilu and Ragesri) are also a Young India record, presumably from the same time or maybe a little later. Beware, the Ragesri recording is especially atrocious. However, I think that the music more than makes up for it. I would be interested in your comments.

RichardH
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Re: Ali Akbar Khan - rare old recordings from Young India la

Post by RichardH » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:21 pm

Abhimonyu wrote: Just 2 points to clarify. First, these were not 78 rpm records. They were 33 1/3 rpm records (10 inch size). They were commercial releases from the Young India label. This was an Indian venture from approximately 1935 to 1955.
This solves some of the mystery, but creates more- this rare 33rpm-10 in. format explains the unusual 9 minute length, but to the best of my knowledge, 33rpm playback equipment was not available to consumers until the late 50's- the idea that these were private or radio-station only recordings fits, but being on a major label doesn't- so the mystery remains.
Abhimonyu wrote: Another thing. If you go to my Mediafire account (the link you followed to get the Ali Akbar Khan recordings), you will find a folder on Vilayat Khan. The 2 recordings there (Pilu and Ragesri) are also a Young India record, presumably from the same time or maybe a little later. Beware, the Ragesri recording is especially atrocious. However, I think that the music more than makes up for it. I would be interested in your comments.
The length of these seems to indicate that they were in the EP format, which preceded the LP format, but which only held 12-13 minutes.

These are both interesting recordings- the Ragesri because is is so different from his brother's short recording from his first LP- far more lyrical and wayward- he uses a bit of shuddh ni and a bit of re is ascending movements- compared to Imrat's straight instrumental-ang style. When you compare these two it is clear just how radical Vilayet's vocal-imitation was.

The Pilu is also interesting- it's clearly Pilu, but distinct from other recording- he carefully avoids many of the common cliches-

i.e. NSGmP---


or NSRPg-SRN-S---


At first listen one could mistake this for Sindhura or Baruwa, so little shuddh Ga does he use.

Glad to see the cover- but one does wish that they'd gotten someone with something to say to write the liner notes.

It had always been my impression that India had moved from the 78 to the LP pretty directly- I do hope more recordings from this period come to light.

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