July 2, 2016

Rais Khan: New Sitar [Loft 1008] (1980)

This is an interesting LP recorded in Munich in March 1980 and which appeared on the short-lived label "Loft Records" -- not related to the current label of the same name based in Berlin. The 1970s and 1980s were a golden time for Indian Classical Music in Europe and especially Germany and Switzerland. There was a regular concert circuit and around this time Ali Akbar Khan even opened up a branch of his music college (still operating) in Switzerland.

Rais Khan was born 25 November 1939 in Karachi, which is now in Pakistan. He is a member of the Mewati Gharana and was taught (as is usual) starting at a very young age by his father, Mohammad Khan, who played both rudra veena and sitar.

Khan has not been recorded very often. This seems like a shame for such a gifted musician. I believe the first time I was exposed to his music was from  a superb blog post of a reissue of his first LP on cassette.

There are several wonderful videos on youtube of recitals and house concerts (see below).

Tabla maestro Shankha Chatterjee is a well-respected guru in the Farukhabad Gharana. Like Rais Khan, he is also relatively under represented on record. This is certainly a shame. He toured extensively with sitarist Vilayat Khan in the 1970s and was living part time in Europe at the time of this recording. He has many disciples and continues to teach and perform.

side 1: Raga Jaman Kalyan (18:55)
side 2: Dhun and Ghazal (9:42 and 11:10)

Here is part one and part two of a video of a house concert in California in 1989 the day before his first public concert in the US.

Here is the video from that concert: first set and second set.

A quick search of "Ustad Rais Khan" on youtube will result in a handful of fascinating concert documents. Youtube -- for all its drawbacks -- is becoming the primary resource for those trying to preserve Indian Classical Music. Quite a few archival recordings have been showing up lately. Check them out while you still can!

Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 10 minutes in water, followed by a quick vacuum drying with a VPI 16.5 cleaning machine
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/44.1kHz resolution


  1. Wow, it's been a long time, I miss your posts, and thanks for this great LP, hope you'll some other soon!

  2. Glad you're paying attention, Rory! I have 5-6 projects that have stalled at about the 70-99% completion stage (mostly having to do with the artwork).

    So there MIGHT be a mini-flood of posts later in the month as I work on that back log.

    Plus I'm buying a bunch of cool LPs on www.discogs.com (note to my readers -- don't buy the ones I haven't gotten yet). So there will be some neat posts LPs which I haven't seen transferred anywhere.

  3. this record transfer all around changed my life. i’ve been a fan of Khansahab’s since his is a name that was taken quite often as one of the few greats in my house. my father had the privilege of performing at a ghazal baithak with him in Mumbai in the 90s. the immaculate definition of the FLAC transfer just showed his perfection and “upaj” in a completely new light, and i started looking up to him so much more. i have listened to this record hundreds of times and have just bought a sitar that i’m now teaching myself. thank you so much, unknown stranger who impacted my life so deeply 🙏🏼