Give the drummer yet more


WFMU continues to mine the audio motherlode….

Tabla Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa & Ustad Amir Hussain Khan  ~  “Rhythms of India: Tabla Recital”
(Blog: Oriental Traditional Music from LPs & Cassettes)

This Is Your Brain, on Tablas
“Rhythm is man’s primal impulse: it comes naturally to him. And to the Indian mind, everything in creation moves to rhythm. As the celebrated Sanskrit work on Indian music, the “Raga Kalpadruma” says: “The emergence, sustenance and dissolution of the three worlds come from rhythm. All living beings from the smallest worm onwards, move by rhythm. Even the movement of the sun, the moon and the planets depends on rhythm.”  (From the liner notes)

Labassi Lili Labassi  ~  Le Génie du Chââbi (1932-1939)
(Blog: Holy Warbles)

Lili of the Valley
“The day an unbiased musicologist worthy of his title and without any prejudice of race, religion or origin studies Algerian musique [Chààbi & Andaluz] the obvious will appear; that its paramount lord is undoubtedly Lili Labassi.”  (By Robert Castel [Labassi’s son], in the liner notes)

Pike Dave Pike Set  ~  “Noisy Silence—Gentle Noise”
(Blog: Barabara Sounds)

Best Song Title: “Walkin’ Down the Highway in a Red Raw Egg”
Speaking of his contribution to the iconic Indo/jazz fusion track “Mathar” on this LP, guitarist Volker Kriegel reveals in the liner notes, “I have been playing the Indian sitar for only two weeks. Here too I’m interested in first of all in the wonderful sound of the great instrument. Mathar is the village where in northern Indian where Ravi Shankar studied 14 years with his guru before performing  in public. But there are three things in this: for me the word Mathar also consists of “mother” and sitar.”  (From the liner notes )

Hortobagyi Laszlo Hortobagyi  ~  “6th All-India Music Conference”
(Blog: Eclecticipher)

“Hortobagyi has spent the last 30 years creating the music of a world that never existed but might exist in a parallel universe. A complete Musical History of a Parallel Earth. A planet , where east and west mixed somewhat differently. Much deeper.”  (By Eclecticipher)

Simla Various  ~  “Simla Beat ’70/’71”
(Blog: Resin Hits)

“This is an Indian garage psych comp compiled from talent shows hosted by a cigarrette company called Simla in the ’60s. A weird cross-promotion between two of the greatest products circulating earth: rock music and cigarettes. As far as the bands go, the eruptions are really good distorted surf rock, and fentones/hypnotic eye have the best cuts overall. and let me tell you, the cross-promotion works. I’ve smoked more bones listening to this one than even Simla Cigarettes could support, dood.”  (By Josh Klimaszewski, at Resin Hits)

Martino Pat Martino  ~  “Baiyina (The Clear Evidence)
(Blog: The KingCake Crypt)

Does This Get Pat Frisked at the Airport?
“Adventurous fusions of Indian, psychedelic, rock, funk, and jazz music by one of the great risk-takers of the electric guitar. Baiyina features fluid guitars, exotic Indian percussion and drone instruments, unique time signatures, swirling flute and sax, deep grooving bass, and in-the-pocket drumming, making it one of the most unique acid-drenched albums to come out of the late ’60s. As the album’s subtitle reads: ‘A psychedelic excursion through the magical mysteries of the Koran.’ Indeed, each track takes its inspiration and name from different parts of the Koran.”  (By John Ballon, at

Raga Shankar Jaikishan  ~  “Raga Jazz Style”
(Blog: Holy Warbles)

Øשlqæda for President
Shankar Jaikishan, also known as S/J, were a duo of composers in the Hindi film industry who collaborated from 1949–1971. Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi was a native of Rajasthan, while Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal belonged to Bansda, Gujarat. Shankar Jaikishan, along with other artists, wrote ‘everlasting’ & ‘immortal melodies’ in the ’50s & ’60s. Their best melodies are noted for being raga-based & having both lilt and sonority. Shankar Jaikishan made a major contribution toward the development of jazz music in India and the new genre Indo Jazz. Their 1968 album Raga Jazz Style is the earliest Indo Jazz recording in India and the first to be released in stereo. On this album, considered to be one of the most innovative, S/J created 11 songs based on Indian ragas with sitar by Rais Khan.  (From Wikipedia)

Rich Buddy Rich & Alla Rakha  ~  “Rich à la Rakha”
(Blog: Dr. Schluss’ Garage of Psychedelic Obscurities)
From the album: Khanda Kafi (mp3)

Slap Dash
“For those of us living in the West, jazz drumming legend Buddy Rich is the marquee name here, although it’s not particularly representative of what you’re going to get with this recording. Neither is the trendy, ’68 vintage psychedelic exploitation lettering gracing the cover. No, this is in fact a collaboration with the sterling Indian percussionist Alla Rakha, and it’s his musical DNA that is most apparent here. Fortunately, the end result is a quite good album of classically-minded Indian music with a few jazz flourishes (although for the most part it seems that Mr. Rich is joining in with hand percussion or just a tom drum).”  (Description by Dr. Schluss , at Dr. Schluss’ Garage Of Psychedelic Obscurities )

Baris Bariş Manço  ~  29 Singles
(Blog: Turkish Psychedelic Music)

We’ll Always Have Bariş
“Along with Erkin, Baris Manco is one of the earliest stars of Turkish rock’n roll whose first public -success dates back to late 50’s.  He won scholarship in Belgium Royal Academy in 1963 and went to Belgium to study graphics and art. By the time he was there he was always busy with music and put out records in both Belgium and in Turkey (to where he returned for four or five months every year. Influenced by the rapid cultural movements occuring at the time in Europe, he realised his own country could be the cultural link between East and West, a link avidly sought by many open-minded Western European thoughts. After his collaborations with Les Mistigris and Kaygisizlar, Manço went on to form another band under his name which compromised of multi-national musicians. Best remembered for their fantastic live bluesy underground music.”  (Description by Gökhan Aya & Jay Dobis, reprinted at

SAREGA-WEB As they did for many sonic movements, restaurants and bars played a pivotal role in the ’70s Indian psychedelic funk scene. Inside the balmy local haunts of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) the hypnotic percussion and fuzz guitars of bands like Atomic Forest and the Black Beats perfected a distinct fusion of Western rock and Indian culture. On any given weeknight, a neighborhood food joint could transform into a packed dance party. In time, these exotic sounds even became fodder for Bollywood films of the era.

This is from an LA Times blog from back in May, about an event presented by Now-Again Records and World Psychedelic Funk Classics, which released the album back in November 2010.

More stuff from the wonderful Now-Again below the fold. Read the rest of this entry

‘Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga’


The July bombings that rattled Mumbai’s diamond district might also spur the tradition-bound industry to relocate to a new fortress-like center in the suburbs. By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times September 19, 2011

Opera House in Mumbai, IndiaPolice move crowds along near a bomb blast site at Opera House in Mumbai, India, on July 18. The country’s
diamond-cutting and -polishing industry is based mainly in the surrounding neighborhood. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP/Getty Images)

When three bombs tore through Mumbai  in July, the blasts scattered scores of diamonds being carried by traders as
they rushed to safe deposit boxes on their way home. After frantic panning of  drains, sewers and monsoon puddles, about 65 were recovered. […] The coordinated bombings, which killed 26 people in the biggest attack  against India’s financial capital since late 2008, when a three-day siege killed  166, also staggered the country’s diamond-cutting and polishing industry, the  world’s largest.

[…] One effect of the attack may be a move that the insular, tradition-bound  industry has resisted: an accelerated relocation to the fortress-like Bharat  Diamond Bourse — Bharat means “India” in Hindi — in suburban Mumbai. “Most of the diamond industry is allergic  to change,” said Anoop V. Mehta, the bourse’s president. “This business is still  old-fashioned, done with a shake of the hand. They haven’t moved on.”

The multibillion-dollar industry still transacts million-dollar deals in  rabbit-hutch offices around Opera House, a dilapidated British Raj-era music hall, with brokers haggling over gems on sidewalks below.

Diamonds worth a fortune are carried in vest pockets by unarmed, shabby-looking couriers mostly from Gujarat state, north of Mumbai, from families so interwoven that few dare steal anything because the community opprobrium would be so great.

Despite calls to upgrade security around Opera House, it has remained haphazard even after the attack. A deliveryman glides past a checkpoint with a stack of dented lunchboxes known as tiffins — investigators believe one of the bombs at another gem market was hidden in a tiffin — as workers genuflect to an elephant god statue in the main Panchratna building lobby beside a beeping but
ignored metal detector. […]

Many traders live near Opera House and bridle at the suburbs’ inconvenience  and higher rents. And despite its size, even at full capacity, the bourse could handle only 2,500 of the industry’s estimated 5,500 companies. […]

Traditionalists counter that Indian family connections and global diaspora will keep India’s trade ahead of competitors for years to come. “It’s also a business built on trust,” said Harshad Shah, 52, a diamond broker who was standing near the Opera House blast site. “People don’t trust the Chinese. You can’t do business with them on a handshake.”

The Indian diamond industry after the Mumbai July bombings

Hindutva stifling of academic freedom in India

Bharata Asks for Rama's Footwear

Image via Wikipedia

From The Hindu:

Most academicians at Delhi University are feeling betrayed by their own fraternity, the reason — the Academic Council’s recent decision to drop from the history syllabus a celebrated essay by the late scholar and linguist A. K. Ramanujan on the Ramayana, despite intense opposition from the history department.

The essay, “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five examples and three thoughts on translations,” which forms part of the B.A. History (Honours) course, had attracted the ire of Hindutva activists because it talks about 300 different versions of the Ramayana that abound in our country and beyond. And when the decision to scrap the course was put to vote at the Academic Council meeting this past Sunday, only nine of the 120 members present dissented. [READ THE REST]

India’s Jewish mother


By Michelle Goldberg:

APRIL 11 2010

Outside the Manakula Vinayagar temple in Pondicherry, a former French colony in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a temple elephant named Lakshmi collects offerings of rupees with her trunk, blessing devotees and tourists alike with a pat on the head. White curlicues are painted on her face, bells hang around her neck, and silver jewelry adorns her ankles. Behind her, little stalls sell religious knickknacks—faux-sandalwood figurines of Hindu gods and a great profusion of framed pictures. It looks, in other words, like thousands of other temples throughout India, until you examine the pictures more closely. They’re of an old woman with hooded eyes and a cryptic closed-mouth smile who looks a bit like Hannah Arendt. Everyone refers to her as “The Mother,” but she was born Mirra Alfassa. The de facto goddess of this town is a Sephardic Jew from France.

The Jews of Pakistan


Point of No Return, which mainly focuses on Jews from Arab lands, has some interesting posts on Pakistan. Here are some links and extracts.

Our culture is lost, says Pakistani Jew’s descendant

Karachi synagogue in the 1970s

The history and plight of Pakistan’s vanished Jews has elicited much interest on this blog, especially from Pakistani Muslims.Point of No Return was therefore excited to hear from Yifa Yaacov, the great grand-daughter of a Karachi Jew called Rachael. But we were also sad to learn from Yifa that their specific culture has been lost to Jews like herself. Yifa invites comments from interested readers:

“I am the great-granddaughter of a Karachi Jew named Rachael. Her father was a jailer in Karachi. She moved to Mumbai and Gujarat and died in Ahmedabad in 1973. My great-grandfather, a Maharashtran Jew, died in Israel. I visited her grave this past summer. It touched me deeply and I started to learn Urdu (maybe I will get to Marathi someday). I only wish I could visit Rachaelbai’s birthplace in Karachi. What kind of a world is it where a great-granddaugher cannot see the birthplace of the great-grandmother after whom she is named. […]

Karachi’s Jewish cemetery in dire need of repair

There are nearly 5,000 graves at the Bani Israel cemetery in Karachi, Pakistan. (photo: Huma Imtiaz/The Express Tribune)
The Pakistani journalist Mahim Maher always wanted to be Jewish– not a popular thing to be in today’s Pakistan. The few Jews have all disappeared, or claim to be Christians. The 5,000-grave cemetery in Karachi is in desperate need of repair, she writes in her Jewish Journal blog:

In the heart of Karachi, amidst the sounds of traffic and the ever-present smog, one can hear shouts of bus conductors calling out “Tower, Tower!” The object of their affection is the 19th century Merewether Tower on II Chundrigar Road, dwarfed now by tall buildings in the city’s busy financial area, but still unique due to its design. In the middle of the tower is an engraved Star of David, set in stone. Some upholder of religion has thoughtfully spray painted Yahoodi (Jew) on the tower, perhaps to mark it for demolition in the future.[…]

Pakistan’s problem with the Jews

A Jewish family in Karachi (Photo: Dawn)

Tufail Ahmad traces the development of antisemitism in another Muslim country without Jews – Pakistan. Hateful ideological sloganeering by Pakistan’s leaders makes little distinction between Jews and Israel’s policies, Ahmad writes. Via Memri (with thanks: Lily)

Historical records indicate that Jews, with no connection to the Pashtuns, have lived in Pakistan and the wider South Asian region over the past several centuries. A 2007 report in the Pakistani dailyDawn noted: “The earliest graves… [of Jews in Karachi] are from 1812 and 1814, with a vast majority from the 1950s.”[2] The report also cited Aitken’s Gazetteer of the Province of Sind, a British-era government document which was published from Karachi in 1907, as recording that “there were only 428 Jews enumerated in the census of 1901, and these were really all in Karachi. Many belonged to the Bene Israel community who observed Sephardic Jewish rites and are believed to have settled in India [which included Pakistan] shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus [the Roman Emperor in 69 AD].”[3][…]

The Samosa


A recommendation

The Samosa

Some recent examples:

The activist Left must condemn the murder of the Israeli settler family

By Dimi Reider

Late on Friday night, a Palestinian militant scaled the fence of the settlement of Itamar, south-east of Nablus. He made his way to one of the homes and climbed in through an open window. The first room he encountered was a nursery. He paced in and plunged a knife into a sleeping three-year-old toddler. Still unnoticed, he made his way to an adjacent bedroom, where he found and slayed an 11-year-old boy; then, finally arrived at the master bedroom, where he stabbed and killed the parents along with a four-month-old baby girl.

India-Pakistan: hand of friendship

By Aparna Pande 

This is not the first time an Indian Prime Minister has extended a “hand of friendship” towards Pakistan, nor is it the first time Dr. Manmohan Singh has done so. Prime Minister Nehru repeatedly offered his hand of friendship and so did his successors Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. IK Gujral hoped the Gujral doctrine would help lessen the trust deficit and Vajpayee undertook a bus yatra to reaffirm that India has accepted the creation of Pakistan and wishes Pakistan well. Dr. Manmohan Singh has repeatedly offered his hand of friendship to Pakistan and expressed the desire to reduce the trust deficit between the two countries.

A growing campaign to defend Usama Hasan and free speech

By Sunny Hundal 

A group of people, including Yahya Birt, have set up a group on Facebook to rally people in support of Usama Hasan (background here)…

Music Review: Rupa & the April Fishes, Este Mundo

By Gautam Pemmaraju 

In May 1914 Komagata Maru, a Japanese steam ship carrying 376 Indian migrants, was refused permission to dock at Vancouver in a show of racial exclusionism. On return to Calcutta, a British gunboat met the ship and its passengers, who were considered to be political agitators, and a six-month standoff ensued.