Unfortunately one of my hard disks developed a malfunction. I have been spending most of my spare time over the past few weeks slowly transferring the data to another drive, with the help of an excellent app called "Disk Warrior." Very little data will wind up being lost, but it has been a very very slow process and there has been little or no extra time for working on the blog.
It is always a good idea to back up your data. Hard drive costs are continually going down; a 4TB is a bit over $100 USD and is as much storage as most normal people will need. An 8TB drive is running about $200 from my favorite online retailer. After 4-5 years of use most drives will start to be at risk for failure. Always a good time to back up!
Here is a small post in the meantime. It was recorded from French radio in 1977 by a mysterious person known to tape trading circles as "The French Gentleman." I spent several hours restoring the audio as noted in the description below.
RAVI SHANKAR and ALLA RAKHA KHAN
La Sorbonne (Grand Amphlitheatre)
28 January 1977
Ravi Shankar (sitar)
Ustad Alla Rakha Khan (tabla)
Sharmilla (?) (tampura)
Djarna (?) (tampura)
01 Introduction by RS (02:17)
02 Tabla solo in rupak taal (16:13)
03 Raga Misra Pilu (51:21)
Total time: 69:51
fm > reel-to-reel (mono, 1st gen) > wav > flac
flac -> wav -> ClickRepair (click and buzz removal) -> audacity (judicious EQ, minimal compression, DC offset, normalization) -> flac or mp3 (xAct) -> mac os compression to .zip -> you
The relatively small file size reflects the fact that it is a mono recording.
These files were recorded off the air by the French Gentleman and remastered by Richard.
(the above is an edited version of the original text file provided to me)
There was a considerable amount of FM radio-sourced clicks, buzzes and other extraneous noise as well as a small amount of intermittent HF distortion. The former was IMO fairly successfully dealt with; the latter is not able to be corrected. The resulting files are quite listenable.
Unfortunately the tabla was barely present in this recording (except for the tabla solo) and that is a reflection of the time. Often in the 1970s and before, tabla players were not even credited on LPs. It would take the world-wide success and popularity of Ustad Alla Rakha's son to help change this.
(after converting to .wav files, these are suitable for burning to CD)
(compressed files with lowest level of data loss possible with mp3 files -
suitable for listening to on portable devices)
My gratitude to my readers for their patience during this hard drive trouble.
My final message today is a reflection of the very dark times in which we are living. Unfortunately, we are at a stage where a short-fingered vulgarian and 39% of the US population can make me reconsider whether it was a good idea to bring children into the world.
This slogan was originally part of a series of posters printed by the UK government during the second world war and designed to be posted in London metro stations. And yet 75 years later it is just as relevant: