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Author Topic: Sitar  (Read 1113 times)

SeilerBird

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Sitar
« on: October 19, 2019, 01:50:27 PM »
In a previous discussion with Tom I mentioned my desire to own a sitar but I did not have a suitable place to display it. Afterwards I noticed I do have the perfect spot to put one. In the corner of my music room I have a padded stool with a plant on it next to my drum set. The plant used to be a large Christmas tree that was potted and beautiful. It died last month so I replaced it with a smaller plant. I realized I could move the plant and set a sitar on top of the stool and bungee cord it to the wall. So I started reading up on sitars last night. I discovered that owning a sitar is a whole lot more complicated than owning any other musical instrument. They go out of tune so often that a sitarist will sometimes have to retune in the middle of a song. The strings are made of a material that will rust easily. And so will the frets. Fret repair is also a big deal. All in all it sounds complicated to own one. But I am not deterred. I have a space and it will make a nice Christmas present for myself.

My love of the sitar began in 1965 when George Harrison was filming Help! and discovered the sitar. He immediately got one and used it recording Norwegian Wood. I was instantly hooked. Not just with the sitar but with Indian music in general. I really love the sound of the tabla (drums) and the rhythms they use. In 1967 Ravi Shankar was in concert at the Hollywood Bowl and the rumor floating around was that George would be in the audience. So I got a ticket and spent a lot of time looking for George but did not see him.
It is an outdoor venue and it was nighttime and there were a whole bunch of long haired hippies there so I did not get to see him. I found out later he was there, he went with Derek Taylor. Then in 1971 Ravi performed as the opening act to the Concert for Bangladesh in which he uttered the most famous line in sitar history. The group started with about two minutes of tuning up. When they finished tuning they got a big round of applause. "Thank you. If you enjoy the tuning so much I hope you enjoy the playing more."

In 1974 George took Ravi as the opening act on his Dark Horse tour and I went to see them in Long Beach after which I got to meet Billy Preston, who totally stole the show. In 2002 Ravi's stunning daughter Anoushka led a large group of Indian musicians to open the show at the Concert for George, celebrating George's life after he died the previous year.

Tom

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2019, 02:06:51 PM »
That's quite a challenge you set yourself Tom. Good luck with that. Waiting to view the YouTube video.

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... a sitarist will sometimes have to retune in the middle of a song ...

I've seen that, and it blows my mind.

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I have a padded room
The perfect place for anyone wanting to play the sitar  :)
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SeilerBird

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2019, 02:26:21 PM »
That's quite a challenge you set yourself Tom. Good luck with that. Waiting to view the YouTube video.
 
I've seen that, and it blows my mind.
I have seen many guitar players tune a string in the middle of a complex solo and it blows my mind too. But the real mind blower for me was when I saw Eric Clapton in 1974 and during one of his solo in one cool move the tuned two strings and got them both right with one twist on each one. They call him god for a reason.

BTW I have no intention of seriously studying the sitar, that takes a lifetime and my back kills me after a half an hour of playing guitar. I just want to learn Norwegian Wood. One that that really appeals to me is most Indian music is improvised and I love to improvise on the guitar.

Tom

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2019, 02:56:25 PM »
Shame on me - I knew that song, but didn't realize it was called Norwegian Wood  :-[
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SeilerBird

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2019, 02:58:26 PM »
Shame on me - I knew that song, but didn't realize it was called Norwegian Wood  :-[
Actually it has two names. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown). It is such a beautiful song.

Tom

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2019, 03:02:10 PM »
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appeals to me is most Indian music
Guests at one of the parties at our last house were an Indian couple I'd known for some time (worked with the husband at several companies). This was in the day when nobody was allowed to leave without first singing a song. When it was his turn, both his wife and I were astonished at what came out of the husband's mouth - sounds that neither she nor I had heard before. That's when I hid his car keys and they slept in one of our guest bedrooms.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2019, 03:04:11 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2019, 03:03:01 PM »
Quote from: SeilerBird
Actually it has two names.
Yes, I knew it by the second name.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2019, 03:51:00 PM »
By 1965 the Beatles were a huge success all over the globe and were trying to appeal to an international audience. They recorded two songs in German, John wrote Norwegian Wood, Paul sang Michelle with a line of French and Ringo was singing American cowboy songs.

edjunior

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2019, 09:02:48 PM »
BTW I have no intention of seriously studying the sitar, that takes a lifetime and my back kills me after a half an hour of playing guitar. I just want to learn Norwegian Wood. One that that really appeals to me is most Indian music is improvised and I love to improvise on the guitar.

To see a little of what Tom is talking about, watch this from the Monterrey Pop Festival.  There are times you can't even see his fingers they are flying so fast.  Ravi Shankar is pretty amazing on that Sitar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk60ObnbIOk
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SeilerBird

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2019, 10:18:43 PM »
To see a little of what Tom is talking about, watch this from the Monterrey Pop Festival.  There are times you can't even see his fingers they are flying so fast.  Ravi Shankar is pretty amazing on that Sitar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk60ObnbIOk
Wow, thanks for that Ed, pretty amazing. And that folks, is why he is the undisputed master of the sitar for over 60 years. How much of a master was he? Check this out:

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There are two popular modern styles of sitar offered in a variety of sub-styles and decorative patterns. The two popular styles are the "gayaki style" sitars (sometimes called "Vilayat Khan style sitars") and the full decorated "instrumental style" sitars (sometimes called "Ravi Shankar style sitars").


He has a style of sitar named after him, kinda like Les Paul. The Ravi sitar has a gourd, called the tumba, near the headstock and Gayaki does not. I will be getting a Gayaki since it is much cheaper. I am just as blown away by Alla Rakha the tabla player. This concert took place a month and a half before I saw them in Hollywood. The amazing thing about the Monterey concert is that prior to the concert he was virtual unknown to most all of the people in the audience who were waiting for their favorite rock stars to start playing. They gave him a two minute standing ovation at the end shouting "Bravo". He played Woodstock too and was featured at Woodstock in the rain. His performance was left off the album and the movie.

LarsMac

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2019, 10:06:31 AM »
One of my favorite Sitar pieces, lately:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lnys8R2fXk


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SeilerBird

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2019, 10:21:07 AM »
One of my favorite Sitar pieces, lately:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lnys8R2fXk
That is very nice LarsMac, thanks for posting. I have long been a fan of Ry, he is probably the best slide guitarist living today. I had not heard of Bhatt but he is very good and fluid. I really love the tabla player but don't give him another cup of coffee. ;D The song is called Ganges Delta Blues, a play on Mississippi Delta blues, one of the earliest forms of blues in the US.

LarsMac

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2019, 10:39:46 AM »
That is very nice LarsMac, thanks for posting. I have long been a fan of Ry, he is probably the best slide guitarist living today. I had not heard of Bhatt but he is very good and fluid. I really love the tabla player but don't give him another cup of coffee. ;D The song is called Ganges Delta Blues, a play on Mississippi Delta blues, one of the earliest forms of blues in the US.

Glad you like it.
I've been a fan of Cooder since I saw him and Taj Mahal do a collaboration many years back. And The Sitar has fascinated me since Monterrey, as well.

I would love to learn to play a Sitar, but I suppose I will start with the Ukulele and see how THAT turns out, first.
 
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SeilerBird

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Re: Sitar
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2019, 11:37:17 AM »
Glad you like it.
I've been a fan of Cooder since I saw him and Taj Mahal do a collaboration many years back. And The Sitar has fascinated me since Monterrey, as well.

I would love to learn to play a Sitar, but I suppose I will start with the Ukulele and see how THAT turns out, first.
I have been reading about learning the sitar and it looks like learning to speak Chinese backwards would be easier. Go for the uke.