Sunday Spotlight on the Non-Western Cello: Anup Biswas, the Cello in India, and Bollywood

Anup Biswas (right cello) with Soumita Roy (dancer) and Dipak Sapui (left cello) at Garden Buffet Supper and Soirée Musicale 5 June, 2010 , at Poulton House in Gloucestershire During a fundraising tour of England and Scotland for the Mathieson Music Trust June/July 2010

This installment of the Sunday Spotlight on the Non-Western Cello will be a bit more personal than those in the past. I know I’ve been terrible the past couple of months about blogging, but [fortunately] I’ve just been far too busy performing and giving presentations to have spent much time writing here or elsewhere.

After having this wonderful dinner with some new Indian-Muslim friends at a Bollywood Party last night, though, I decided it was time to do another spotlight. The subject of this post is Anup Biswas, about whom I discovered after reading the Cambridge Companion to the Cello (which I still think should either be significantly amended or at least have the title reflect the actual subject matter: “The Cambridge Companion to the Western Cello”).

The reference to Biswas at the end of a chapter in the Cambridge Companion to the Cello.  Mainy in reference to the music school he started at an orphanage in Calcutta.  Found this wonderful photo (above) of a collaborative performance between Dipak Sapui, Soumita Roy – the Bharat Natyam Dancer in center, and Anup Biswas at the Poulton House in Gloucestershire (5 June, 2010).  It was part of a fundraising tour for the orphanage music school which teaches both Western and Indian classical music, and, apparently collaborative fusions between both art music traditions if this image is any indication.

The one video I’d been able to find of Anup Biswas playing Indian Music was from this recital, again to benefit the Mathieson Music Trust, at the Sacred Heart Church in Caterham, Surrey.  The tabla player is Chiranjit Mukharjee.

Two things struck me when I first came across the reference to Anup Biswas: 1) that the Cambridge Companion to the cello bothered to mention anyone connected to a non-Western Cello playing tradition at all, and 2) until learning about Biswas, I was unaware of cellists in India who were already incorporating the cello into Classical Indian Music, most of what I’d seen are Western cellists (e.g. Saskia Rao-de Haas, Nancy Kulkarni) who had gone to India to learn Indian music on the cello (though now some cellists in the states are now getting conservatory level training on Indian music–more about that on a future Sunday Spotlight).

Continue reading “Sunday Spotlight on the Non-Western Cello: Anup Biswas, the Cello in India, and Bollywood”

Quick news bite and thoughts about binaries

il Troubadore at the Greek Islands Hafla on 17 March 2011 (photo by Kat Hill)

Just got back home from the show–the Indianapolis gigs are a good two hours drive (give or take 30 minutes for stops for coffee).  So many interesting things to share/talk about but don’t have the time as I head to Bloomington, Indiana (home to the renowned Jacobs School of Music) to play another show with my Balkan group.  Still deciding if I have time to get to this month’s GLMTA (Greater Louisville Music Teacher’s Association) meeting in the morning (urm–later this morning) but also have to go pick up a part for Hello Dolly which I’ll be playing in the pit for in April.

Still been having tons of thoughts about the economics of underserved audiences, and a recent discussion at Greg Sandow’s blog really had me thinking aloud on the drive up to the show last night.  Fortunately the wife is finishing her MBA so I got to bounce some ideas about the economics of music(s) off of her.  See, the discussion–as you can tell from the post and responses–frames the issue of Classical Music versus Pop music as a classical binary opposition that gets collapsed into a false dichotomy.  Basically, that’s the problem with binary oppositions in that they often get treated as binary distinctions, which are a different kind of logical animal altogether.

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Thai Saw Duang (ซอด้วง)

Thai Saw Duang
Thai Saw Duang

I just found this Imeem site with streams of Silapee Tramote playing saw duang (Thai: ซอด้วง) solos:
http://www.imeem.com/rayasuree/playlist/0hyHaPjI/thai-classical-music-saw-duang-solo-music-playlist/

 

For those of you interested, the Thai saw duang is closely related to the chinese erhu. More info about the instrument with some other short audio clips may be found here:
http://www.culture.go.th/research/musical/html/en_musical_central.php?musical=sawduang

I also maintain a MySpace site dedicated to the saw duang:
http://www.myspace.com/sawduang