Skip to content

Some fave Carnatic and Hindustani Vocal and Instrumental selections…

January 20, 2010

PS:   As much as possible, i have updated this page; videos removed for privacy protection by You-tube have been replaced wherever possible.  Will check in now and then to see if all links are working.




PS: This list is endless – i can go on adding a million links: Wanna touch the soul of India?

First listen to Jana Gana Mana by ARR:


This above one is a jugalbandhi performance by India’s leading tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, southern carnatic violin maestro Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan (who’s no more) – for composer AR Rahman – breathtaking fusion – INDIAN MUSIC FOR U! (fusion of north indian hindustani classical & south indian carnatic classical) (when this album was made, AR Rahman was still called AS Dileep Kumar only – he was actually assisting the duo in this fusion)

Veena is my most favourite musical instrument for all times for the simple reason that I tried learning to play Veena for sometime in my teenage…

Spirituality & Divinity are a part & parcel of our life: we are the sort of people who light Deep (lamp) even in our loos. As for Veena, its considered like mother of all indian classical musical instrumetns – as Goddess Saraswathi, one of the trinity of the hindu goddesses (others being Shakthi & Lakshmi) is considered the Goddess of Wisdom. Veena is her instrument. That’s why Veena is most revered of all classic indian instruments.

. During Navrathri (Dushera), all musical instruments are WORSHIPPED in India. Might sound crazy to most others – but for us, MUSIC IS A FORM OF BHAKTHI (devotion) TOO. Thus we don’t think its big deal – worshiping such non-living objects like musical instruments. We see them as: INSTRUMENTS OF CREATION – GOD’S WILL.

My top fave no.:

Raghuvamsa sudha – by Rajesh Vaidya: (but Vaidya uses drums etc in accompaniment to create fusion music. Usually we don’t – we use only Mridhangam as accompaniment for Veena.

Rajesh Vaidya’s official website:

I donno if even i can play the a,b,c now in Veena, i mean sa,re, ga, ma. – makes me sad to think of all those years of training going to waste.

Veena requires fluidity & nimbleness in fingers – which comes with years of practice only. I had it then – but now my fingers have become stubby & rigid. I could sit for hours in the same position all those years back with Veena on my lap. But now? I don’t think so…


I also luv Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan – more for popularizing violin and carnatic music to masses in his own way:


Jugalbandhi (fusion) by (Mandolin) Shrinivas & Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain


Jugalbandhi by Zakir Hussain on tabla, Vikku Vinayak Ram on Ghatam (the pot – classical indian) (one of the best i’ve come across – 2 geniuses really) – by the way Vikku is also a Grammy Award winner….


I found this beautiful old video of Vikku Vinayak Ram & Zakir Hussain who seem to share an extraordinary friendship with each other – OUTSTANDING EXAMPLE OF PEACE & HARMONY OF INDIA: i guess Musharaff should be mailed this video: This video to me represents the spirit of India, the real India – and this should open eyes for all those who wanna believe the worst of us and divide this great nation or belittle our glorious culture & heritage. In a nation of 1 billion people, sometimes a Gujarat or Ayodhya are bound to happen – passions could clash – but its very insignificant considered the sheer size of this nation and the multitude of our crowds. All this cannot rob us of our true spirit, and a shared sense of harmony & pride. No society is faultless – but i should say, we are quick to reform as well. The same Gujarat today is one of India’s leading states economically and socially – and even Gujarati muslims prefer Modi for their CM for what he’s achieving for his state. Its not a figment of my imagination – its SOLID TRUTH. Just watch this amazing video:

In this charming video which is from earlier days of Zakir & Vikku, Zakir Hussain talks of Ganesha who he says he sees in his music! Says he woships Ganesha actually. And he’s the son a man who went by the name Allah Rakha…. The fact is, u cannot master classical music in the subcontinent without worshiping the reigning Gods first…. Ours is the only land in the world where music is considered spiritual.


Jugalbandhi: Zakir Hussain on Tabla with Maestro Hari Prasad Chaurasiya on Flute: (Flute – the Bansuri – is again the musical instrument of Lord Krishna. U cannot imagine Krishna without playing the flute or with the flute in his hands always….)


A jugalbandhi between Zakir Hussain on Tabla and Mridangam Vidwan Palghat Mani Iyer (mridhangam is the southern classical equivalent of tabla – as someone mentions, we call maestros as Vidwans in south, whereas in north they are called Pandits.) This is an old recording. I luv Mridangam more than the tabela mainly becoz, its the traditional accompanying instrument in southern carnatic music – and more so in the case of Veena.


Hariharan’s smash hit fusion: Krishna Nee Begame Varu

To me this song is the song of the millennium – SONG OF THE GREAT INDIAN SUBCONTINENT:

Fusion of Krishna Nee Begane – by Colonial Cousins (Hariharan)

I came across this great music piece featuring traditional indian musical instruments in fusion:

Mridangam (carnatic), Sitar (hindustani), Tabla (hindustani) and Flute (both)


No complilation is complete without mentioning Pandit Ravi Shankar, the sitar maestro & Granmmy winner for India. Here with his daughter Anouska Shankar


Also Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, the Sarod Maestro:

but frankly i don’t regularly listen to hindustani – no time really; carnatic consumes me totally!


Drums Sivamani – AR Rahman’s right hand (ofcourse Sivamani is a Chennai man too -well known in world music circles today) (nominated for Grammy)

Jugalbandhi by Sivamani:


I came across this beautiful Doordarshan signature montage & original Vande Mataram rendition: simple & pure: there are a 1000 private channels now – NONE HAS A LOGO OR THEME LIKE THIS! Takes me back to my school days when life used to be so simple:

Actually in this one, shehnai (shenoy) and tabla are played – the traditional indian way which is supposed to be very auspicious. Shehnai ofcourse is the traditiional northern indian wedding musical instrument:

Watch Ustad Bismillah Khan playing Shenoy:

(we get a beautiful Shenoy interlude in the song “Kabhi Kabhi’ (comes half way thro’ the song) starring Amitabh Bachan/Shashi Kapoor & Raakhi – whenever i listen to this song – i go weak…….. in the knees – shenoy is heard just for a min in this song – but it touches right my heart….)

I also simple LUV THIS SONG ‘SWAGATHAM SUBHA SWAGATHAM’ which always was sung at my school and in tv in those days: ‘Swagatham, shuba swagatham’ means ‘welcome, auspicious welcome’ Music score by Pandit Ravi Shankar. This rendition refers to me again the SPIRIT OF INDIA – INDIA’S PROSPERITY, PROGRESS, PEACE, HARMONY… EVERYTHING… My beautiful India… is there any other place on earth like it? Do not think am over-doing. But all am asking is; CAN U FIND THIS IN CHINA, JAPAN, KOREA, SOUTH EAST ASIA, ARABIA ANYWHERE ELSE IN ASIA?

Chorus music was very popular in those days which has become a rarity these days. In this beautiful rendition, the singers are dressed in tricolours of indian national flag – with saffron, white, blue (for the ashok chakra in the middle) and green.


Traditional south indian WEDDING music: Nadaswaram (2 long wind pipes just like shenoy) along with the southern drum Mridangam: (yes ofcourse, played live in 100% all weddings including mine – for over 2 hrs during the muhurat)

One muslim couple – husband & wife – are No.1 Nadaswaram musicians in the south today – MOST sought after in hindu temples! In this rendition, they are playing the beautiful keerthan ‘madhu kelara..oh raghava…’

See Nadaswaram in this old tamil film Konjum Salangai. One who plays this Nadaswaram in this song is the old tamil hero Gemini Ganesan, father of ex-bollywood actress Rekha! Yes, Rekha is tamil and so are a dozen bollywood heroines from Vyjayanthi Mala to Hemamalini to Jaya Pradha to Sridevi to present day Asin:

Mridangam & Nadaswaram band is present 100% in all hindu temples of the south. Hindu gods want to listen to music always! So to please them, 5 times a day (just like 5 time namaaz), 5 prayers are held during which time, a musical composition has to be played to please the gods! Poorer temples like my old street temple use recordings, what to do? Who will pay for the players otherwise?

Here are 2 more great nadaswaram featuring songs twined with southern classical dance performance by Padmini (who was the heroine of the Raj Kapoor film ‘jish desh mein ganga bahthi hai’) : The movie name is Thillana Mohanaambal which was a run away hit in those days: (All southern heroines like Hemamalini, Padmini & Vyjayanthimala were basically trained Bharatnatyam dancers)


I am rounding up this blog with whatelse but ‘Ma Tuje Salaam’ by AR Rahman – with whom i started:

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: