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Re: [OFF TOPIC] DEHLI <singing lessons>
An excellent instrument maker is located immediately in the heart of
downtown New Delhi. His name is Rikhi Ram and he's located at 8 Marina
Arcade, Connaught Circus, telephone # 332-7685. He's considered one of the
top four or five sitar makers in India, and his instruments are very
even by Indian standards. He also makes very nice tanpuras, and even some
unusual hybrid instruments (non-gourd, non-standard bass tanpuras that
GREAT, as well as things like tanpura/swarmandal [zither] combinations).
But his instruments are EXPENSIVE. If you can afford one of his sitars,
also pick up a fiberglass case for it -- he's one of the few people who
them. It's costly (as much as his sitars) and weighs a ton but you'll be
glad when your instrument comes home in one piece.
Another, less expensive shop for musical instruments is called Lahore Music
House in the neighborhood called Darya Ganj. They have good quality
instruments (though not "name" brands like Rikhi Ram, Radhakrishna Sharma,
Hiren Roy, etc.) at reasonable prices. Ask a rickshaw-driver to take you
Darya Ganj, then ask people there for more specific directions. (Addresses
in India can be maddening)
I'd avoid the musical instrument store on Janpath (just off of Connaught
Circus) in the block of Tibetan shops. This guy carries all sorts of
instruments -- real ones as well as tiny, non-playable "toy" instruments.
He deals exclusively with tourists, so most of his instruments are poorly
made for the tourist trade, more as "conversation pieces" than playable
instruments. He'll also charge outrageous prices for them, since no one
knows better. It might be worth stopping by, though, just to gauge what
might want to pay for a better-quality instrument.
Although bargaining is the rule in India, some instrument shops won't
over prices. Rikhi Ram refuses to lower his prices for anyone, but he can
get away with it since he's so well known. Unless you can judge how well
instrument is made, or are able to show that you can play it well, most
people won't lower their prices substantially. (You'll see this same
treatment of foreigners everywhere else you shop, too.)
I don't mean to discourage you, but it may be difficult to find a teacher.
You can ask for recommendations at the instrument shops, or even at the All
India Radio offices (also on Janpath, towards the Parliament buildings and
India Gate). However, many teachers will refuse to take short-term
students. I wouldn't expect to learn too much beyond the absolute basics
unless you plan to stay for a long time. A fair price for music lessons
would be about 60 to 100 rupees (approximately US $2.00 - $3.00) per
I wouldn't advise trying to bargain over the cost of lessons -- this would
be seen as an insult to the teacher.
Another word of advice: if you plan to travel throughout India, make sure
to hold off on buying your instrument until you are nearly ready to leave.
Although it's fairly easy to get around (by train, by bus, etc.) you don't
want to have to haul a fragile instrument around any more than absolutely
necessary. If you plan to stay in one place for a long time, then shop
around before you decide on an instrument. Also, if you're buying a sitar
or sarod, don't worry about buying a huge supply of extra strings -- you'll
be able to find better quality metal strings at home. DO make sure,
to get some extra picks (the wire sitar plectrum is called "mizrab," the
cocoanut shell sarod pick is called "jaba") as these will be very difficult
to find outside India.
Basically there are 2 classical music traditions in India -- the Hindustani
(North Indian) and the Carnatic (South Indian). These are very different
musical systems, though they share some common aspects. In Delhi you'll
find the Hindustani music more prevalent. Within the Hindustani tradition,
there are numerous "gharanas" or "schools" (localized traditions) of music.
So you might find a vocal teacher from "the Agra gharana" or "the Jaipur
gharana" or "the Patiala gharana." As a beginner, this will make very
little difference to you. Check out the newsgroup
rec.music.indian.classical for their FAQs, discussions, etc., but beware --
they can be a pretty nasty group overall. You're more likely to receive
condescending and scornful replies than any useful information.
Good luck with your trip, and good luck with your musical pursuits.
Shubbh Yatra! ("auspicious journey")
From: Anthony Mullen <anthony.mullen@KSCL.com>
To: Loopers-Delightemail@example.com <Loopers-Delightfirstname.lastname@example.org>;
Date: Monday, August 16, 1999 5:12 AM
Subject: [OFF TOPIC] DEHLI <singing lessons>
>I'm wondering if anyone can help. I'm going to Dehli, India at the end of
>September and I'm looking to find a couple of decent instrument shops AND
>I'm also looking to get singing lessons over there (work on my
>drone/tone/timbre). Does anyone have an idea of where I might start trying
>to follow this up?
>Also - anyone got any info/URLs of the types of Indian singing that exist?
>I'm afriad I'm a bit of a tourist in this regard.
>Any help appreciated
>> Reply To: Loopers-Delight@annihilist.com
>> Sent: 15 August 1999 08:41
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