April 10, 2020

The "Oriental Traditional Music" blog is back in a new home

As many of you know, it's been more than a year since Axel Elbin died. He was a great soul who ran the "Oriental Traditional Music on LP and Cassette" blog. He was also a commercial dealer in Indian Classical LPs and CDs -- quite a few of the posts here are transfers of LPs I purchased from him.

Since the links which he hosted at adrive have now exited, a dedicated group of individuals, led by Gary Pro from Seattle, have come together to host a mirror site. This site will look, act, and feel like the old site, with the exception that there will be no new posts.

Here is the announcement from the group. I was not involved in any way with the effort to do this and all credit goes toward those mentioned here:

Many of you are familiar with the priceless blog library of music and information called, Oriental Traditional Music from LPs & Cassettes.

The creator of that collection, Axel Elbin, aka Tawfiq, left his body last year. His last blog post was in March, 2019.

Axel stored all of the blog's audio files on public file storage sites...adrive, dropbox, and mediafire.

Axel's subscription to adrive has now expired, resulting in all of those audio file links to now fail. I suspect the same thing will happen with dropbox and mediafire.

Louis Farrugia, Daniel Fuchs, and I [Gary Pro] have worked to preserve this important library of incredible music.

A clone of Oriental Traditional Music from LPs & Cassettes, with all of the audio files, can now be found here:


It does not work exactly like the original. The little triangle zip expanders [on the years and months, in the index] do not work, so click the link [name of year, or month] next to it, instead.

This outstanding library must be preserved.

I [Gary Pro] encourage anyone, to use a website copier, such as HTTrack, do download the Whole site, which includes this blog clone. I may be told to take it down, in the future.

So please do visit that site and download what you can. Seek out these precious music files and listen to them and enjoy. 

March 3, 2020

Budhaditya Mukherjee: Soulful Melodies on Sitar Strings [Magnasound C4HI0067] a cassette recorded and released in India in 1989

Up next is a cassette from the ever-variable Magnasound label. Frequently these cassettes have one side which is distorted or otherwise unfortunate -- here we can hear that side A sounds much better than side B, although both are very listenable.

Mukherjee should need no introduction. He is certainly one of the very top sitarists alive today. He hasn't made a point in spending a lot of time seeking fame outside of India, which means that he doesn't have the name recognition he deserves.

YouTube has some great videos of this maestro as well.

Sitar: Budhaditya Mukherjee
Tabla: Vibhav Nageshkar

side A;
Raga Basant Mukhari with two compositions in teentaal

Side B:
Raga Bahar with a composition in teentaal
Raga Desh with a composition in ektaal

Transfer: Nakamichi ZX-9 cassette deck, extensively refurbished and rebuilt to "better than new" state by Willi Hermann
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity and xAct.
Monitoring: Focal Spirit One headphones


24bit, 96kHz FLAC files (1.2 GB)
highest resolution files I am capable of producing. These can be listened to on a computer using software.

after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR, or listened to with software such as Foobar2000 or Vox.

320 kbps mp3 files (129 MB)
highest quality mp3 files possible. Use responsibly. 

January 9, 2020

Alla Rakha: Tabla! [WPS-21458] an LP recorded and released in the US in 1969

Alla Rakha (29 April 1919 – 3 February 2000) should be familiar to most readers of this blog.

The article about Alla Rakha from the Enclycopedia Brittainica, written by Virginia Gorlinski, is as follows:

"Alla Rakha, Alla also spelled Allah, originally Allarakha Qureshi Khansaheb, also known as A.R. Qureshi, byname Abbaji, (born April 29, 1919, Phagwal, Jammu, India—died February 3, 2000, Mumbai), Indian tabla player, widely acknowledged in his day as one of the finest in India. As a regular accompanist of Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar in the 1960s and ’70s, he was largely responsible for developing interest in the tabla among non-Indian audiences. He traced his lineage to the Punjab gharana (community of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style).

"Despite opposition from his family, Alla Rakha left home at age 12 to learn tabla under the great master (ustad) Mian Qadir Baksh. He also trained under Ashik Ali Khan, a vocalist admired especially for his mastery of the khayal Hindustani song repertoire. Alla Rakha joined All India Radio at Lahore as a staff artist in 1936, and in 1938 he was transferred to Bombay (now Mumbai) as a senior percussionist. Initially he had a difficult time proving himself, but soon his command of the tabla—displayed through outstanding technique and tone production—impressed both the connoisseur and the layperson alike. In 1943 Alla Rakha left All India Radio to work in film music. Using his family name, A.R. Qureshi, he composed sound tracks and served as musical director for numerous movies.

"By 1958 he had become disenchanted with the film industry and left that arena to focus on classical music. Also that year he toured internationally with Shankar, and the two artists subsequently developed a musical partnership that lasted nearly three decades. Especially as Shankar’s counterpart, Alla Rakha played a key role in raising worldwide awareness of the tabla and of Indian classical music as a whole. In addition to Shankar, Alla Rakha teamed with other virtuosic musicians, such as sarod master Ali Akbar Khan, to perform playfully competitive duets known as jugalbandis.

"Aside from his work with Indian classical musicians, Alla Rakha notably collaborated with American jazz drummer Buddy Rich to create the album Rich à la Rakha (1968), a pioneering experiment in the type of cross-cultural musical fusion that became increasingly popular later in the 20th century."

side one:
Tala Dadra (9:45)
Tala Sulfakta (10:19)

side two:
Tala Pancham Sawari (19:42)

Tabla: Alla Rakha 
Sitar: Shamin Ahmed
Pakhawaj:  Taranath Ramroa
Liner notes: Lakshmi Shankar
Producer: Richard Bock

Equipment used in transfer:

Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable: Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97xE
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepair, and xAct.


highest resolution files I am capable of producing

after decoding to WAV files, these can be burned to CDR

highest quality mp3 files possible 

A good explanation of what FLAC files are and why you should be listening to them if you can.

Please note — my scanner has been not working well with my new laptop. I can only scan once each time before I have to quit and restart. Each time I scan a cover I need to do it 4 times and then merge the photos using Photoshop (Windows uses can use a different application). The back cover and label scans will be forthcoming soon! Thank you for your patience!