Eventually I will be starting a new blog devoted to live, unofficial recordings of Hindustani and Carnatic music. This will include three kinds of recordings: mixing board recordings by sound engineers, open air recordings by members of an audience, and also FM broadcasts captured by enthusiasts at home. This offer is an example of the last category.
Had the French Gentleman not been home that night to record the radio broadcast with his reel-to-reel recorder, we probably wouldn't be hearing the performance, as truncated as it is. I find it a shame that such broadcasts are not more freely available. We have many documents of Ravi ji in the studio in the 1970s, but relatively few of him live in concert in the 1960s and 1970s. There is a spontaneity of such live performances which cannot be replicated in the studio.
Here is the original info file I shared a few weeks ago on the "Dimeadozen" website, which is devoted to sharing previously unissued live recordings:
RAVI SHANKAR and ALLA RAKHA KHAN
FM broadcast (mono)
01 introduction by RS (03:05)
02 Raga Kaushi Kanada (with radio announcer at the end) (34:34)
03 Tabla solo in rupak taal (interrupted by announcer) (08:52)
Total Time: 46:27
fm > reel-to-reel (mono, 1st gen) > wav > flac
flac -> wav -> click repair (click and buzz removal) -> audacity (EQ, minimal compression, DC offset, normalization) -> flac and mp3(xAct)
The original audio files, recorded by the reclusive, somewhat mysterious man known only as “The French Gentleman,” were in mono and were brickwalled. I was extremely concerned about possible severe distortion, but after removing clicks and ticks with the excellent app “ClickRepair,” and then (de-)amplifying the file by -6dB and applying much more aggressive EQ than usual, I was able to get a very nice sounding result. There is mid-range warmth and very little distortion.
Unfortunately, the broadcast seemed to be live in real time and was concluded before Alla Rakha’s tabla solo (as well as the rest of the concert) could be broadcast. Maybe somewhere in Paris, in the archives of the national broadcaster, there is the complete concert — but that would have required an engineer at the concert with a recorder as well as the desire to document this wonderful music.
This was recorded in 1973 by “The French Gentleman” and audio restoration was undertaken by Richard. The files were provided by Dimeadozen member “UncleMeat.”
(after converting to .wav files, these are suitable for burning to CD)
(the highest quality level of mp3 - suitable for listening on portable devices)