September 17, 2015

Kabir Khan - Mellow Moment on Sitar [Oscar Records PIKA-23] (1978)

Here is my final LP from the somewhat mysterious Oscar Records label. They issued a half dozen LPs in the late 1970s and early 1980s and were based out of New York. There were a few live albums of ghazals from singer Mehdi Hassan. One of popular Pakistani film songs. Then there was no more. It seems they had some sort of contact with EMI Pakistan -- probably help with recording, or else allowing people out of exclusive recording contracts, or something else. There is no evidence for a belief I once held that these were US releases of licensed EMI Pakistan recordings.

There is not much information I could find about Ustad Kabir Khan. He was born in Jaipur in 1924 and died in Karachi in 1980. He is considered to be a member of the Senia Gharana and according to one reference book ("Who's Who: Music in Pakistan"), he counted Ali Akbar Khan and Amjad Ali Khan (both sarod players) as teachers. [Certainly Nikhilji did not mind having two sarod players as gurus.] He appears to have a son who is active musically in Pakistan.

This is from near the end of that dark era when mentioning the name of the tabla player on an LP was considered optional and possibly a waste of time.

The track titles are as follows:

Side 1:
Raga Mian Ki Todi
Peelo (possibly Raga Pilu?)

Side 2:
Raga Multani
Raga Paraj

I would like to thank my internet friend and fellow music lover "Tawfiq" for discussing this label and this LP with me offline. As always his blog is self-recommending and its latest post is noted at right. He also has a superb store on He might be the most reliable supplier of new-old-stock Indian Classical LPs on the planet. This LP was purchased from a different seller on discogs. LPs from this label only rarely show up on internet sites and only once have I seen one in person before paying for it (that LP was also posted on this blog -- take a look for it!)

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: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/44.1kHz resolution
Software: Audacity to normalize and carefully remove a few clicks on each side. No change in EQ was made. Conversion to 16/44.1 took place in Audacity. xAct was used to convert to FLAC and mp3. So-called "noise removal" was avoided in order to best preserve the dynamic nuances and tone quality of the original sound. The record is visually in excellent shape but unfortunately there is some faint surface noise still present in the transfer. 


  1. If anyone can get me in touch with either the artist(s) or the owner(s) of the label, for a possible future vinyl reissue project, then please do so.

    1. A performance by his nephew, Ustad Sajid Hussain. Unfortunately there are barely any recordings of this musical family.

  2. Dear Richard,
    thank you so much for this. Great. I will post soon my LP by flutist Salamat Hussain from this label too so that we have them all posted. Hopefully more show up, if there are at all any other releases. Mehdi Hassan I personally don't find that interesting. For Ghazal one has to understand the language.

  3. It just occurred to me that "Asghar" and "Oscar" are probably pronounced almost the same. That is all.

  4. Many thanks for your hard work and generosity!

  5. Thank you for this! I believe my sitar teacher studied with Ustad Kabir Khan in the 70's. I'll see if he can provide any additional information. -Jeff

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  7. The remarkable performance and a great master.
    It is a pity that was published only 1 CD.
    This maestro had to record a lot!
    But the time has gone.

  8. Thank you for this post. My father had this vinyl, and I remember falling in love with it as a teenager/in my 20s. I personally think it is the greatest piece of sitar music I've ever heard, better than the more famous virtuosos. Incredible that Ustad Kabir Khan is hardly known. Was able to find mp3s of these tracks. Amazing talent.

  9. Dear Richard, would it be possible to repost the audio files for this and previous blog posts, as the Zippyshare links don't seem to work any more? Thank you for all your hard work on creating and updating this blog.

  10. NEWLY UPLOADED: Please see the links inside the post for the new, more permanent links.

    Thanks to everyone who has politely requested re-uploads. I am doing three of them this weekend.

  11. Thank you for this info. When I was growing up in the States, my father had this album and I came to love it in my 20s. Solidified my love for the classics and folk music from the northern Subcontinent. Could find no info on Ustad Kabir Khan either. The raag Peelo is particularly transcendent.

  12. Kabir Khan is the uncle of my sitar teacher, Ustad Sajid Hussain. Unfortunately, the Pakistani government does not support classical music much, therefore its in a decline here. Thank you so much for posting this rare record. God bless.