January 9, 2020

Alla Rakha: Tabla! [WPS-21458] an LP recorded and released in the US in 1969

Alla Rakha (29 April 1919 – 3 February 2000) should be familiar to most readers of this blog.



The article about Alla Rakha from the Enclycopedia Brittainica, written by Virginia Gorlinski, is as follows:


"Alla Rakha, Alla also spelled Allah, originally Allarakha Qureshi Khansaheb, also known as A.R. Qureshi, byname Abbaji, (born April 29, 1919, Phagwal, Jammu, India—died February 3, 2000, Mumbai), Indian tabla player, widely acknowledged in his day as one of the finest in India. As a regular accompanist of Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar in the 1960s and ’70s, he was largely responsible for developing interest in the tabla among non-Indian audiences. He traced his lineage to the Punjab gharana (community of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style).

"Despite opposition from his family, Alla Rakha left home at age 12 to learn tabla under the great master (ustad) Mian Qadir Baksh. He also trained under Ashik Ali Khan, a vocalist admired especially for his mastery of the khayal Hindustani song repertoire. Alla Rakha joined All India Radio at Lahore as a staff artist in 1936, and in 1938 he was transferred to Bombay (now Mumbai) as a senior percussionist. Initially he had a difficult time proving himself, but soon his command of the tabla—displayed through outstanding technique and tone production—impressed both the connoisseur and the layperson alike. In 1943 Alla Rakha left All India Radio to work in film music. Using his family name, A.R. Qureshi, he composed sound tracks and served as musical director for numerous movies.

"By 1958 he had become disenchanted with the film industry and left that arena to focus on classical music. Also that year he toured internationally with Shankar, and the two artists subsequently developed a musical partnership that lasted nearly three decades. Especially as Shankar’s counterpart, Alla Rakha played a key role in raising worldwide awareness of the tabla and of Indian classical music as a whole. In addition to Shankar, Alla Rakha teamed with other virtuosic musicians, such as sarod master Ali Akbar Khan, to perform playfully competitive duets known as jugalbandis.

"Aside from his work with Indian classical musicians, Alla Rakha notably collaborated with American jazz drummer Buddy Rich to create the album Rich à la Rakha (1968), a pioneering experiment in the type of cross-cultural musical fusion that became increasingly popular later in the 20th century."

side one:
Tala Dadra (9:45)
Tala Sulfakta (10:19)

side two:
Tala Pancham Sawari (19:42)

Tabla: Alla Rakha 
Sitar: Shamin Ahmed
Pakhawaj:  Taranath Ramroa
Liner notes: Lakshmi Shankar
Producer: Richard Bock

Equipment used in transfer:

Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable: Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97xE
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepair, and xAct.


  
downloads:


highest resolution files I am capable of producing


after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR


highest quality mp3 files possible 





December 17, 2019

MS Subbulakshmi: Mela-Raga-Malika-Chakra [HTCS 03B 3346] a cassette recorded and released in India in 1989

Here is a lovely Carnatic vocal cassette featuring Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (16 September 1916 – 11 December 2004) singing a composition by Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan (1844-93) which incorporates all 72 ragas in the Carnatic system, as explained in the liner notes.

It may have occurred to some of my readers that almost all of the Carnatic music on this blog is from cassette. That's because Indian-made LPs of Carnatic music are extremely rare. Online dealers and websites selling Indian music are predominantly selling Hindustani music. Several years ago I purchased several big boxes of cassettes from Shrimatis in Berkeley, CA before they closed their doors and these are what I have been posting. Records from western labels such as World Pacific and Oriental are easier to obtain. 








Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, extensively refurbished and rebuilt to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones



downloads:


24bit, 96kHz FLAC files (1.3 GB)
highest resolution files I am capable of producing

after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR
highest quality mp3 files possible 






October 29, 2019

TR Mahalingam: Carnatic Instrumental [HTC 8090] a cassette recorded in 1971 and manufactured in 1990 in India

TR "Mali" Mahalingam is no stranger to this blog. This will be the fourth album which I have shared so far by this fantastic carnatic flutist.




Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones


downloads:


24bit, 96kHz FLAC files (903 MB)
highest resolution files I am capable of producing
after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR
highest quality mp3 files possible 



video of a concert by "mali" in Chennai in 1971 (audio only):


October 28, 2019

Lalgudi Jayaraman, N Raman, and R Venkatraman: Violin - Venu - Veena [HTCS 03B 8080] a cassette originally recorded in 1967 and manufactured in 1990 in India

Here is an interesting carnatic violin, flute (venu) and veena album which was very popular in its day. It has been reissued in multiple iterations and many people have very warm feelings about this album.

About 8 years ago it appeared as a vinyl transfer here.  It is mentioned in this article which is a brief introduction to carnatic music.




Violin: Lalgudi Jayaraman
Venu: N Ramani
Veena: R Venkatraman



Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones


downloads:


highest resolution files I am capable of producing - large file!


after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR


highest quality mp3 files possible 



Here is a concert by N Ramani:


October 26, 2019

Lalith Rao: A Never Ending Journey [Rhythm House 240 366] a cassette recorded and released in India in 1987

Here we have another post featuring the delightful vocals of Lalith Rao, a prominent female exponent of the Agra gharana.

Click here to see past uploads of Rao.




The titles and performers can clearly be seen on the scans below, so I thought repeating this information would be unnecessary.

One interesting feature about those cassettes from Rhythm House which I have seen are that they have been manufactured using a process where the cassette tape master is played in real time (sometimes cassettes are sped up 8x or more to speed up the process -- adjustments in EQ have to be made for this and the quality is almost never as good as a "real time duplicated" cassette).







Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, refurbished to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones



downloads:

highest resolution files I am capable of producing - large file!

after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR

highest quality mp3 files possible 



Click here for a good explanation of what FLAC files are and why you should be listening to them if you can.