January 17, 2015

Nikhil Banerjee: Raga Desh -- live in Stockholm [ESP 165540] an LP recorded in 1979 and released in Sweden in 1983

Could I start this blog off with anyone other than Nikhil Banerjee (14 October 1931 - 27 January 1986)? I don't see how that could happen. He is by far my favorite musician of any kind. There is a deep and soulful aspect of his playing which is both exhilarating and calming at the same time.

Known for his exquisite and extended alap sections, Nikhil-ji seems to have an unerring sense of how much of an alap a certain raga requires. It's not just about playing for "As Long As Possible" (as sitarist Josh Feinberg once jokingly described an alap) but rather playing for the "exact right amount of time" and introducing and developing the notes of the raga in just the right way.

Banerjee definitely had a reputation as a skilled performer during his lifetime, but after his sudden and untimely death in 1986 -- and the subsequent issues on CD of extended live performances -- his reputation has shot upwards.

This 1983 LP on Oriental Records (New York, NY) is a reissue of the same LP on Amigo Records.

Tabla by Anindo Chatterjee

An excellent web page devoted to Nikhil-ji:




  1. Yes indeed, why not start off with the great Nikhil Banerjee. One of the great benefits of the interweb for me has been the discovery of Pandit Banerjee along with an appreciation of Indian classical music which wouldn't have been possible previously. Your blog looks to be a valuable source of rare vinyl which probably is unobtainable otherwise. Looking forward to the Ali Akbar Khan as well. All praise for you and your blog.

  2. There were two "Live at Stockholm" albums by this label, Vol 1 and 2. One was Piloo and the other was Desh. When they printed them, they mixed up the labels on the LPs. So this is actually Piloo. Here is the album images that go with the recording.

    1. Superb information! I am really impressed by the way this great information is being shared by so many passionate music lovers. I salute all the Indian music lovers on this blog. Appreciate it!!

  3. This is actually Raag Piloo. Nels Olsen is correct :)

  4. Thanks very much for this re-upload.Great performance.The first gat is in rupak tal (7 beats) which does seem to support the above posts. No matter a great recording.

  5. Here is a second take on some image editing of the cover posted by Richard (better perspective fix on my end).



  6. Since there is some confusion, here is a cover of Rag Piloo with a little image editing.