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Towards Fusion: New Trends in Hindustani Sitar Music in Malaysia


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While a classical Sitar recital in Malaysia still retains many of its original forms and practices, local sitarists are experimenting with new musical ideas to promote the Sitar and its music to a wider audience of mixed ethnicity. Musicians combine Hindustani musical elements such as Raag (melody) and Taal (rhythmic cycle) with different musical elements such as the Chinese pentatonic scale and Arabian Maqam as well as new genres to produce a musical blend broadly dubbed as ‘fusion music’. This article explores how the characteristics of the Hindustani elements of Raag and Taal are adopted to complement the structure and style of the new compositions. Different Sitar playing styles and techniques are employed in the performance of fusion compositions that use Blues or Bossa Nova genres.
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Pravina Manoharan
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Towards Fusion: New Trends in Hindustani
Sitar Music in Malaysia
While a classical Sitar recital in Malaysia still retains many of its original forms and practices,
local sitarists are experimenting with new musical ideas to promote the Sitar and its music to
a wider audience of mixed ethnicity. Musicians combine Hindustani musical elements such as
Raag (melody) and Taal (rhythmic cycle) with different musical elements such as the Chinese
pentatonic scale and Arabian Maqam as well as new genres to produce a musical blend broadly
dubbed as ‘fusion music’. This article explores how the characteristics of the Hindustani
elements of Raag and Taal are adopted to complement the structure and style of the new
compositions. Different Sitar playing styles and techniques are employed in the performance
of fusion compositions that use Blues or Bossa Nova genres.
Keywords: Raag, Taal, fusion, Sitar music.
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Malaysia is a multiracial and multicultural society that has a rich and diverse cultural and
musical heritage. Indians represent the third largest population in the country. The classical
music practiced by Malaysian Indians is based on the ancient traditional system that originated
in India.
Indian classical music refers to both the South Indian Carnatic and North Indian Hindustani
systems. Hindustani and Carnatic music share a common ancient musical heritage, as both
systems are built upon highly complex and elaborate melodic structures called Raag, and both
employ a system of rhythm and meter that falls under the rubric of Taal (rhythmic cycle).
Hindustani music in this paper should not be confused with the Bollywood music that
accompanies Indian lms. The term ‘Hindustani music’ refers to the classical form of North
Indian music built upon the structures of Raag and Taal.
Hindustani music was popularised in Malaysia through the Sitar, a lute with six to seven
strings. This instrument played an important role in introducing Hindustani music to many
Malaysians. Over the years, the music performed on the Sitar has stayed true to its classical
form thanks to the Guru Shisya Parampara (teacher disciple tradition), where this art is passed
down orally from teacher to disciple.
At the turn of the millennium, the Sitar is becoming an increasingly popular instrument,
especially in the world of fusion music, because of the versatility of the instrument and the
rapid commercialisation of this new genre of music. A number of local musicians, namely,
sitarists, are experimenting with the idea of fusion music that involves the synthesis and cross-
cultural musical exchange between Hindustani Sitar music and musical elements, genres and
styles from different cultures within Malaysia and around the world.
Pravina Manoharan
This article traces the development of Sitar fusion music in Malaysia, focusing on the changes
in the Hindustani classical elements of Raag and Taal as incorporated into fusion music. It
also analyses the different playing styles adapted by sitarists playing non-classical fusion
The Development of Hindustani Music in Malaysia
Indian music (Carnatic and Hindustani) was brought into Malaysia by the early Indian and
Sri Lankan settlers in this country (Orme 10 July 2005). The development of Carnatic music,
however, superseded the development of Hindustani music in this country as a result of
the migration of many south Indians to this country. Orme Maheswaran, who is one of the
pioneer sitarists in Malaysia, says that Carnatic music gained popularity in Malaysia during
the 1930s. This music was easily accepted by the Malaysian Indians because Carnatic music
was mainly taught using the Tamil language, and Tamil is a language spoken by most Indians
in Malaysia.
The development of Hindustani music in Malaysia was not as widespread as that of Carnatic
music. Unlike Carnatic music, many Malaysians were only introduced to the classical form of
Hindustani music in the mid 1970s. This is attributed to a number of reasons, one of them being
the difference in language between the two types. Hindustani music is a north Indian system
and has very strong Arabian and Persian (now Iranian) musical inuences resulting from the
Muslim invasion in the late 13th century (Bhattacharya 1978). Therefore, the terminology
of Hindustani music is generally in Hindi or Urdu (a language of North India with Persian
inuences). Given the language used, this system was ‘alien’ to the Malaysian Indians who
spoke Tamil (Orme 10 July 2005). The difference in language was one of the main reasons why
the development of Hindustani music in Malaysia took longer as compared to that of Carnatic
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Due to the difculty presented by the terminologies and the language, it was easier to learn
Hindustani Raags through an instrument such as the Sitar (Orme 10 July 2005). Hindustani
music in Malaysia was thus popularised through instrumental music. As Penang-based
sitarist Hamid Khan asserts, ‘The Sitar became the most famous of all the instruments which
introduced Hindustani Music in Malaysia’ (11 September 2006).
The Development of the Sitar in Malaysia
The Sitar is one of the most famous stringed instruments outside India. It is a long-necked lute,
made entirely of wood except for its resonator. The instrument has six to seven main strings
running across the ngerboard. In addition to the main strings, eleven to thirteen sympathetic
strings run parallel to the main strings under the frets. The instrument is held at a forty-ve
degree angle while one is playing. The Sitar is a versatile instrument and has developed and
evolved in many different countries around the world, including Malaysia.
It is believed that the rst Sitar was brought into Malaysia in the early 1950s. According to
veteran sitarist Orme, a group of Indian musicians brought the Sitar to this country during
one of their trips. There is, however, no recorded history of the instrument being performed or
taught by any teachers or music education institutions until the mid-1960s.
In the mid-1960s, there is evidence of the Sitar’s having been played in the Gurdwaras (Sikh
Temples). The Sitar offered an accompaniment to religious songs in these temples (Hamid
Khan 11 September 2006). Women in the Sikh temples played the Sitar to accompany Bhajans,
Shapads and Kirtans, which are light classical north Indian vocal genres. The instrument,
however, was not recognised as a classical solo instrument that one might use to play purely
classical compositions.
Pravina Manoharan
In the early 1970s, the popularity of the Sitar began to escalate rapidly. This was a result of the
famous collaboration of Ravi Shankar and George Harrison of the Beatles in the mid-1960s
(Hamid Khan 11 September 2006). During the late 1960s and early 1970s, prominent sitarists
from India, like Ravi Shankar, Nikil Banerji and Ustad Usman Khan came to Malaysia to
perform purely classical Sitar concerts (Orme 10 July 2005). Through various performances like
these, the Sitar gradually began to gain prominence and popularity among many Malaysians.
Many musicians in Malaysia began to develop an interest in the Sitar, and they slowly learnt
the basics of the instrument.
During the early and mid-1970s, the Sitar was promoted by a number of local musicians in
Malaysia, namely, Orme Maheswaran, Jabamalai Dass and Hamid Khan. Over the years, the
Sitar was gradually recognised as a classical solo instrument in this country.
From Classical to Fusion Music: The Transition
The strength of Hindustani classical music lies in its rich and sustained tradition, which was
passed down for generations through the traditional practice of Guru-Sishya Parampara. In the
early years, many Gurus were careful to pass the art of Hindustani music to only worthwhile
and deserving students, as music was considered sacred and divine. A musician who studied
under a Guru through this traditional system understood his/her role and responsibilities as a
student and a disciple.
In the past, when a person chose to be a student of music, he consequently made music his
livelihood. He trained and practiced under the watchful eye of his Guru to full his aspirations
of becoming a professional musician. The complexity and intricacies of the Hindustani system
made it a very difcult and demanding eld of study. A disciple had to surrender himself
completely to the music. The disciple made music his life, and inevitably his life became
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Presently, with the emergence of industrialisation and mainstream popular styles of music, it
has become difcult, almost impossible, for classical musicians to practice and perform solely
classical Hindustani music. In a world where pop music, R&B, hip hop and rap predominate,
classical Hindustani music is no longer the preferred choice among many youths. Classical
musicians are faced with the uphill battle of competing with the catchy rhythms and lyrics of
mainstream popular music. The intricacy of the Hindustani system and the deep understanding
required of the Raag and Taal make classical Hindustani music less appealing to the younger
generation. Consequently, there is a growing gap between the older people who form the
majority of classical music lovers and the younger generation.
Fusion Music
To revive and sustain this musical heritage, classical musicians in this country have opted to
fuse elements and instruments of this classical Hindustani form with elements and forms from
different musical systems. In the last four to ve years, local sitarists like Samuel J. Dass,
Kumar Karthigesu of the Temple of Fine Arts and Hamid Khan have experimented with the
idea of fusion music. This syncretism in music is an inevitable process, especially if classical
musicians want to keep abreast of the mainstream popular styles of music. The efforts of such
musicians have contributed immensely to the development and popularity of the Sitar and the
growth of Hindustani Sitar music in Malaysia.
In an effort to promote and localise Hindustani music in Malaysia, Samuel J. Dass created the
fusion ensemble Varna in 2004. Varna is solely an instrumental ensemble, with the Sitar as
its main instrument, and it is the rst instrumental Sitar fusion ensemble in the country that
has produced an album and performs in public concerts. The band is composed of ve highly
acclaimed musicians. The leader of the ensemble is Samuel J. Dass, who plays the Sitar.
Jamie Wilson plays the acoustic steel guitar, while Fauzi Samin (Aji) plays the acoustic nylon
guitar. The percussionists in the ensemble are Prakash Kandasamy on the tabla (a north Indian
Pravina Manoharan
percussion instrument) and Sivabalan Shanmuga Sundram on the mirdhangam and ganjeera
(south Indian percussion instruments).
In an interview with Samuel J. Dass, he mentioned that ‘music should be for the masses and not
only for the elite classes’ (26 October 006). It has always been his aim to promote Hindustani
music to a wider audience in Malaysia. He strongly believes that fusion music provides a
greater avenue for promoting Hindustani music and the Sitar because ‘fusion music appeals
best to the younger generation and an audience of mixed ethnicity’.
Fusion music has not been well received by many purists who argue that the traditions and
‘authenticity’ of the music are lost when the classical form of the music is fused with others.
Many purists have dismissed the idea of fusion, claiming that this genre of music is not ‘pure’
and that the original characteristics of the music are lost. The same dissatisfaction is shown
by purists regarding Indian music. There is always a fear of the Raags losing their original
characteristics when they are incorporated in a fusion composition’ (Orme 10 July 2005).
On the contrary, fusion musicians argue that ‘evolution in music is not necessarily a bad thing.
However, respect and knowledge of traditional styles and forms must be kept (adhered to),
because one cannot progress without a history’ (New Straits Times 16 October 2005). Dass
asserts that in fusion music, a certain amount of compromise needs to be made between all
the different musical elements and forms that are being fused: ‘No one instrument or musical
element can shine throughout the performance as the role of each instrumentalist in the
ensemble is to support the other’ (Dass 12 July 2006).
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
The Changes in Classical Elements When Incorporated in Fusion Music
All the fusion pieces discussed in this paper are from the compositions for the fusion ensemble
Varna by Samuel. J. Dass. Varna has a total of nine compositions composed in different
genres and styles. The analysis of the pieces shows that there are changes in the Hindustani
musical elements of Raag and Taal when they are incorporated into fusion compositions. The
characteristics of these elements are altered and adapted to conform to the style and mood
of the fusion compositions. In fusion compositions, the development of the Raag’s melodic
potential is restricted due to the presence of harmony.
A Raag is a precise melodic form with a set number of swaras (notes) in its arohanam (ascending
motion) and avarohanam (descending motion). Most importantly, it must possess its own
individual aesthetic appeal. It is a ‘discernible melodic form that underlines all classical Indian
music’ (Bagchee 1998). A Raag is regarded as important because of its melodic potential. For
this reason, the Raag’s swaras (notes) are expected to be elaborated further according to set
techniques and methods.
Hindustani music is linear in motion, and the melody is always monophonic—while in
Western classical music, in contrast, importance is given to harmony, chord progression
and modulations. Besides the basic twelve tones of the scale, Hindustani music has an extra
ten shrutis (microtones) that are not present in the harmonies and chord progressions of the
Western classical musical system. These ten extra shrutis are the distinguishing features of
many Raags. Certain Raags are recognised through the careful use of these shrutis within the
Pravina Manoharan
The presence of the twenty-two shrutis of the Hindustani scale makes it almost impossible
for all of the shrutis to fall under the Western classical chord system, which is built upon the
twelve semitones of the Western musical scale. These chords will not sound very pleasant
if paired against microtonal variations, as harmony usually sounds best when notes have a
natural harmonic relationship according to the Western equal temperament tuning system.
An example of the changes in the characteristics of the Raag can be seen in the fusion
composition Life Breath by Samuel Dass. This composition is based on three different Raags,
namely, Bhairavi, Malkauns and Nandkauns. Each Raag has a different feature, and the notes
of the Raag have to be performed according to set rules and techniques in order to highlight its
characteristics. Life Breath is also set in the key of G Minor of the Western Classical scale. An
analysis of this piece shows that the melody line of Life Breath does not adhere strictly to any
one particular Raag. The scales of these three Raags have been used interchangeably to form
a melody line for Life Breath that is governed by the rules of harmony.
Figure 1 Scale for Raag Bhairavi.
Figure 2 Scale for Raag Malkauns.
Figure 3 Scale for Raag Nandkauns.
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Figure 4 Excerpt from Life Breath.
An analysis of the excerpt in Figure 4 shows that the sequence of swaras (notes) in the rst bar
suggests Raag Malkauns, given the omission of the notes Eb and A. However, the F# in bar 2
does not belong to the scale of Raag Malkauns. This swara belongs to Raag Nandkauns. In the
remaining bars, the combination of swaras used does not suggest one Raag in particular. The use
of the F# and F interchangeably throughout this excerpt suggests two different Raags, namely,
Malkauns and Nandkauns. Although the swaras of Raag Bhairavi are present in certain bars,
the omission of the note Eb in the entire excerpt is not characteristic of that Raag. The exclusion
of this note can result in Bhairavis losing its character as a samporna-samporna Raag (a Raag
with seven notes in its scale).
Pravina Manoharan
From the perspective of Western classical music, the omission of the submediant (Eb note) in
the scale of G Minor can often be overlooked simply because Eb does not play an important
role in the spelling of the three chords used in Figure 4. Therefore, G Minor will not lose its
tonal quality with the ommision of this note.
Life Breath is an example of how the characteristics of the Raag change as the swaras are tailored
to suit the melodic and harmonic structures of the piece. In many of the fusion compositions
for Varna, the presence of harmony and chord structures hampers the Raag’s development.
The Raag’s characteristics are unclear, as the melodic lines of the pieces are forced to resolve
with the chords in the bars.
Another example of changes in the characteristics of Raags can be seen in the fusion piece
Vibrations by Samuel Dass. According to Dass, the excerpt in Figure 6 is based on Raag
Bageshri. An important characteristic of Bageshri’s scale is that during the descent of this Raag,
the swaras are performed in a vakra (twisted) form.
Figure 5 Scale for Raag Bageshri.
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Figure 6 Excerpt from fusion piece Vibrations by Samuel Dass.
This piece is in the key of G Major, and the chords in this excerpt alternate between F Major,
C Major and D Minor. An analysis of this piece shows that the swaras of the Raags have been
interwoven and tailored to conform to the chords in the bars.
The swaras in the rst two bars do not suggest Raag Bageshri because of the presence of the
swara Pa (A natural) as employed in the ascending scale. Based on the scale for this Raag,
Pa is usually only present in the descending scale. This excerpt is also not entirely in Raag
Pahadi, given the presence of swara Ma (G natural) and sudha Ga (F natural) in bars 1 and 2.
The sequence of swaras in the rst two bars of this excerpt therefore does not belong to either
Bageshri or Pahadi. The ascent from Ga (F natural) to Pa (A natural) in bar 7 and then to the
high Sa (D natural) in the following bar is not characteristic of Bageshri. The use of swara Pa
in the ascending scale is uncharacteristic of this Raag’s scale.
Pravina Manoharan
From a Western classical music standpoint, however, the notes F and A in bar 7 are crucial
notes, as they form the mediant and dominant of the D Minor scale, which are important in the
spelling of this chord. In bar 8, the notes D and G form the G Major chord. Therefore, although
the notes in bars 7 and 8 do not conform to the scale for Raag Bageshri, they conform to the
dominant and tonic chords of the key.
While the swara combinations in the entire 8 bars in Figure 6 suggest Raag Bageshri, it is
clear that certain swaras have been employed in ways that are uncommon to this Raag’s
progression. An important feature of Bageshri is the rendition of the swaras Ga and Dha. In
the performance of this Raag, these swaras have to be played with a slight gamak (oscillation
between two pitches), as shown in the scale of this Raag in Figure 5. The use of gamaks on
these notes produces slight shruti (microtone) variations that often highlight the characteristics
of this Raag.
According to Dass (2005), for the music to reach a wider audience of mixed ethnicity, ‘there
needs to be less emphasis on intricate classical details and more emphasis on catchy and
appealing melodic lines’. Dass asserts that ‘the aim of fusion is to attract the listener with
beautiful melodic lines and not to follow the rules of a classical performance which may bore
audiences who have come to enjoy a fusion performance and not a classical Sitar performance’.
He states that in most fusion compositions, the Raag is only used as the framework of the
composition and therefore there is inadequate room for the sitarist to explore all the different
swara combinations of the Raag.
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
‘Just as Raags organize melody, Taals organize rhythm’ (Massey & Massey 1976: 110). The
essential characteristic of a Taal is its cyclic or repetitive nature. Unlike in Western classical
music, the melodic phrasing of Hindustani music does not end on the last beat of the bar but
rather closes on the rst beat or sam (pronounced as sum) of the next cycle.
The term Taal is often translated as ‘rhythm’ (White 1971: 32), as a ‘time measure’ (Massey
& Massey 1976: 110), or as ‘a measure to assess a proper time within one round of a piece of
composition’ (Sharma 1993: 2). Each Taal has a set structure and specic bol pattern (rhythm
mnemonics on the tabla). These patterns are commonly known as thekas. A theka is a universally
accepted set of bols used to represent a Taal (Kandasamy 12 July 2006). Taals are often identied
by their theka patterns. Percussionists improvise on the theka to add variety to their playing
styles and to highlight the different timbres of the instrument. Figure 7 is an example of a theka
pattern for Keherwa Taal, an eight-beat rhythmic cycle.
Figure 7 Basic theka of Keherwa Taal.
Pravina Manoharan
The most important beat in the Hindustani Taal system is the sam. It is the rst and last beat
of a rhythmic cycle. The sam functions both as the resolution point for one musical phrase and
as the beginning of a new phrase: ‘The sam is (also) a point of culmination which completes a
rhythmic structure’ (Massey & Massey 1976: 111).
In many of the fusion pieces by Varna, the intricacy and complexity of the Taal system has been
altered to suit the melodic and rhythmic structure of the pieces. Many of the Taal’s dening
characteristics have been omitted or kept to a minimum to ensure balance between all the
different musical elements and forms that are fused.
Prana Express is a fusion piece composed to the eight-beat rhythmic cycle of Keherwa Taal.
In this piece, the fast-paced melodic lines and intricate guitar and Sitar techniques have
overshadowed the rhythmic section of Prana Express. The different bol combinations (rhythm
mnemonics on the tabla) and stroke patterns on the tabla and mirdhagam cannot be heard due
to the speed of the piece. The Taal pattern sounds like a succession of eight beats per bar with
no denite stress patterns for each bar. While the basic rhythm is based on a Taal, the tempo
adopted does not bring to the foreground any Keherwa Taal pattern. The key characteristics of
the Hindustani Taal are only highlighted when the rhythm and melodic sections both make a
clear arrival on the sam (rst beat of the rhythmic cycle).
In fusion music, percussionists are often required to fuse their playing styles with the style and
mood of the fusion piece. In fusion pieces like Bombay Bossa Nova and Damascus, the tabla
player fuses his playing style with the rhythmic structure and melodic phrasing of these pieces.
In Bombay Bossa Nova, the tabla player adapts his playing style to suit the Bossa Nova rhythmic
pattern. The characteristics of the Hindustani Taal are portrayed through the verbalisation of
bols (rhythm mnemonics on the tabla) by the tabla player at the beginning of the piece. In this
piece, a fusion of the Bossa Nova rhythms and the tabla bol patterns is achieved. In Damascus,
piece both the tabla and mirdhagam players try to fuse the different rhythmic patterns of their
instruments with the different strokes and rhythmic patterns played on the doumbek.
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
In most of the fusion pieces, the characteristics of the classical Raag and Taal have been altered
to conform to the style and mood of the piece. In an attempt to localise Hindustani Sitar music,
fusion musician Samuel Dass has compromised on many of the dening characteristics for the
Raag and Taal. The intricate details of the Raag and Taal, as present in a classical performance,
have been omitted in the fusion pieces as he asserts that there needs to be a balance between
all the musical elements and forms that are being fused.
Changes in the Playing Style of the Sitarist
In a fusion performance, instrumentalists often try to fuse their playing style with the style or
genre of the new composition. In fusion compositions that are not based on Raags, Dass tries
to minimise the use of Sitar alankaras (ornaments) and classical playing techniques, as he
feels that an overemphasis on these classical alankaras can disturb the feel of the fusion piece.
In these pieces, Dass merely fuses his playing style with the mood and style of the piece. In
Damascus, for example, the use of Sitar alankaras is kept to a minimum. Dass only employs
a short meend (lateral deection of the main string).
In Brickelds Blues, Dass fuses his playing style with the mood and feel of a Blues-inspired
composition. Blues is a genre that is not found in Hindustani classical music. Hence, a Blues-
inuenced melody played on the Sitar is an example of an attempt by Dass to fuse his playing
style with this musical genre. The main melody of the composition is rst played on the steel
guitar, after which the exact melody is then imitated by the sitarist to show the versatility of the
instrument when it is used to play a Blues melody.
In Chinese Song, long tremolos that involve quickly striking the baj string (the main string
of the Sitar) are played with more exaggeration. Long tremolos are uncommon in classical
Sitar performances. In the performance of Chinese Song, this ornament is played loudly and
deliberately to give the piece a Chinese feel, as tremolos are common in Chinese instrumental
Pravina Manoharan
music (Dass 12 October 2005). The tuning of the main string of the Sitar is also altered in this
piece to make the Sitar’s timbre close to the Pipa’s (Dass 12 October 2005). The baj string,
which is the main string on the Sitar, is tuned to a shruti (microtonal variation) slightly higher
than the original D (one tone above Middle C according to the Western tempered scale). The
rest of the six main strings of the Sitar are tuned in relation to this new Sa. This tuning method
is only used for this particular composition.
Musical exchange between cultures in Malaysia has broadened the horizons of many classical
musicians. They experiment by combining Hindustani musical elements and forms with those
of other cultures. Although Hindustani classical music still remains the forte of many classically
trained musicians, they are also experimenting with different musical ideas and forms to create
a blend of music popularly known as ‘fusion music’. This new trend in music has proved more
acceptable to younger audiences who prefer their music to be lively with catchy rhythms.
Purists constantly stress the importance of upholding the traditional practices of Hindustani
classical music, as they fear that the music is losing its classical identity. Fusion musicians,
however, argue that Hindustani music is an age-old tradition that is based on a rich musical
heritage and that purists therefore need not fear the growing trend of fusion music. Fusion music
is not a threat to classical Hindustani music. This new genre cannot replace a musical system built
upon these highly complex and elaborate systems of Raag and Taal. Fusion is merely a form of
experimentation with the concept of combining something that is current with something from
the past. Many years from now, current fusion music will be replaced by the emergence of new
musical styles and genres. Hindustani classical music, however, will always remain in its classical
form. Fusion musicians are trying to bridge the gap between diverse musical systems.
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Finally, fusion music will continue to exist, especially in a multicultural society like Malaysia
that has rich and diverse cultures. As long as the different musical systems of the world are
available to a musician, fusion music will remain. Musicians will continue to experiment with
different musical ideas, but at the end of the day, they will always fall back on their forte—which
is classical music (Dass 12 December 2005).
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Pravina Manoharan
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Interviews (Taped and Transcribed)
Samuel J. Dass (renowned classical and fusion sitarist). Brickelds, Kuala Lumpur, 12 December 2005,
26 October 2006 and 12 July 2006.
Orme Maheswaran (pioneer sitarist in Malaysia). Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, 10 July 2005.
Hamid Khan (Penang based sitarist). Penang, 11 September 2006.
Prakash Kandasamy (renowned Tabla player from Penang). Kuala Lumpur, 12 July 2006.
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Photo 1 Samuel J. Dass demonstrating how to hold the Sitar
(photograph by M. Pravina).
Pravina Manoharan
Photo 2 Orme Maheswaran on the Sitar. The Sitar has an extra thumba
(resonating chamber) near the neck (photograph courtesy of Mr. Orme Maheswaran).
Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.7.2008
Photo 3 Prana (fusion ensemble) performing at the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre on 12 July 2006.
S. Sivabalan – far right on Mirdhagam, Jamie Wilson – acoustic steel guitar, Samuel J. Dass – Sitar,
Fauzi Samin – acoustic nylon guitar, K. Prakash – tabla (photograph by M. Pravina).
... Seu ápice ocorreu entre os anos de 1960 e 1970 e foi incessantemente questionado por puristas (sejam eles músicos ou ouvintes). Sob a perspectiva purista, a fusão de uma determinada música com outros gêneros musicais acarretaria a perda das suas tradições e da sua autenticidade (Manoharan, 2008). Tal afirmação era questionada pelos músicos ligados à fusão. ...
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Este artigo surge de uma inquietação pessoal provocada pela percepção de preservação de postulados do século XIX em performances denominadas modernas do choro. Esta afirmação está baseada na análise do estado da arte e na observação de continuidade de determinadas características no choro desde seus primórdios até o presente momento. Como parte da proposição do modelo prático-teórico que será designado choro hodierno, este artigo realizou o levantamento dos conceitos fundamentais atrelados a este gênero musical: choro tradicional, choro moderno, choro contemporâneo, neo-choro, choro de concerto, hibridação e fusão. A compilação de informações mostradas neste trabalho revela que sem contestações a tendências hegemônicas -auto identificadas como legítimas- e sem a aceitação de tendências paralelas -que propiciem às práticas performáticas do choro novas mesclas de elementos- o choro dificilmente se afastará do mainstream.
This book focuses on the two traditions of Indian Classical Music; North Indian or Hindustani and South Indian or Karnatak. It is an introduction to principles ideas and systems of the above two traditions.
Daniel M. Neuman offers an account of North Indian Hindustani music culture and the changing social context of which it is part, as expressed in the thoughts and actions of its professional musicians. Drawing primarily from fieldwork performed in Delhi in 1969-71—from interviewing musicians, learning and performing on the Indian fiddle, and speaking with music connoisseurs—Neuman examines the cultural and social matrix in which Hindustani music is nurtured, listened and attended to, cultivated, and consumed in contemporary India. Through his interpretation of the impact that modern media, educational institutions, and public performances exert on the music and musicians, Neuman highlights the drama of a great musical tradition engaging a changing world, and presents the adaptive strategies its practitioners employ to practice their art. His work has gained the distinction of introducing a new approach to research on Indian music, and appears in this edition with a new preface by the author.
Dass (renowned classical and fusion sitarist) Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur
  • J Samuel
Samuel J. Dass (renowned classical and fusion sitarist). Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, 12 December 2005, 26 October 2006 and 12 July 2006.
Nad – Understanding Raga Music
  • S Bagchee
Bagchee, S. 1998. Nad – Understanding Raga Music. Mumbai: Rajgure Marg Girgaon.
Let's Hear it for Sam " . New Straits Times
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Khoo, E. 2005. " Let's Hear it for Sam ". New Straits Times, 16 October 2005.