January 21, 2018

Emani Sankara Shastry: INDE DU SUD - Concert de Vina [Ocora 558503] an LP recorded in France in 1975 and released there in 1980 (reissued 1984)

Here we have a recording by the great Carnatic veena performer, ES Shastry, recorded for the legendary Ocora label in France in 1975.

Ocora is one of those labels where almost every LP or CD released is a gem. They sometimes have a tendency to combine releases when reissued, but trying to fill up the minutes of a CD is a sin I can readily forgive when the production values are as high as Ocora's.

This LP was exceptionally difficult to scan, because of the cover's high-gloss deep black surfaces. I finally gave up and took a photo with my iPhone and then tarted it up a bit in Photoshop (mostly evening out the blacks near the edges). Don't bother doing a Google Images search for this LP -- there are some painful attempts out there.

My copy looks like it has never been played. There was almost no surface noise, something I have come to expect from French vinyl pressings.

Side one:
Raga Shree in Adi taal (22:48)
Side two:
Raga Vachaspati in Adi taal (21:25)

Emani Sankara Shastry: Veena (they choose to spell it 'vina')
Madras A Kannan: mridangam
unidentified: tanpura

Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT440MLb
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepairand xAct

(the highest resolution I am capable of recording)

(after converting to wav, will provide "CD quality" audio resolution)

(the highest resolution file that the mp3 format supports)


  1. Thanks a lot for this one, always great to come across a new Ocora!

    1. Tane, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. The Ocora series is a real treat and deserves its stellar reputation. Look out for more of their Indian music releases coming this way in 2018.

  2. Thank you Richard!

    You are expanding my experience in forms of music that have long draw me in.

    The transfer is beautiful (listening now) as is the music. I LOVE that you post high-resolution files.

    Thanks again

  3. I can't get enough of this album. Not only does it sound amazing, but his playing just blows me away - SO soulful! Mississippi delta blues by way of the sub-continent. I don't have much exposure to Veena playing but another album I've heard, The Pulse Of Tanam: Ghana Raga Panchakam (Ragas Of South India) by M. Nageswara Rao gives me a similar impression.

    Thank you so much!

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. The Rao album you mention is part of the Nonesuch Explorer series. I have all the Indian releases from that series and plan on posting them sometime this year in the order in which they were released. Some of them were available very briefly as Japanese CD imports a few years ago, but even those are getting hard or next-to-impossible to find. All are very high quality musically.

  4. Thank you. Looking forward to hearing this transfer from a clean vinyl!

  5. Hi . Thanks for Posting.
    As you said : (after converting to wav, will provide "CD quality" audio resolution). Just want to ask, which converter will give the best result .

  6. Thank you for asking. Both of my parents were teachers and they both strongly encouraged me to ask as many questions as possible. I could have saved a lot of trouble in my life had I listened to them!

    The FLAC file is a file that has been compressed using data methods rather than being an audio method (examples of audio compression include the mp3 format, which discards sounds that the software designers believe you can't hear in a recording).

    The Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) format should provide a bit-for-bit perfect copy of the original wave file. It is somewhat analogous to using ".zip" on a file -- when you "unzip" the file you expect it to be unchanged.

    So, therefore, all programs -- if they are working properly - should restore the WAV file back to its exact original state from the FLAC. The only difference is how easy the program is to use. Windows users have a very wide choice for FLAC converting programs. Mac users are encouraged to use Scott Brown's free program xAct (just click on the name of the program in the post). Unix users are on their own.

    I would like to mention that there are computer audio programs that play FLAC files "natively" -- by converting them very quickly and playing the WAV file for you -- good examples are FUBAR2000 (for Windows and iOS) and Golden Ear (Mac).

    By using lossless compression we can preserve audio quality no matter how many times a file is copied -- compare this to the days when audio cassettes were the primary method to distribute music. After a few generations the hiss and distortion would become unbearable, an inevitably rare and unofficial recordings would become degraded in general circulation.

    Thanks again!

  7. Dear Richard,

    Thank you for your effort to provide such a high quality transfer from the LP. I am Emani Sankara Sastri's Grandson. We are greatful to you for this wonderful audio recording.