Bansuri & Tabla

Hariprasad Chaurasia 
Zakir Hussain


1. Rag Ahir Bhairav: Alop And Jor
2. Rag Ahir Bhairav: Slow Gat In Rupak Tal/Fast Gat In Teental


Zakir Hussain (tabla drums),
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia  (bansuri - Indian flute).
Credited to Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain, this recording by Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead dates from December 1974 and was recorded in Fairfax, CA. It consists of the early morning raga "Ahir Bhairav."
Classical flute music from India that is both devotional and romantic. The divine playing of Hariprasad with tabla master Zakir Hussain moves mountains of emotion.
This historic concert took place in 1974 (Street Date Nov 10, 1989) at the Stone House (literally a large granite room) in Fairfax, California, and was a youthful collaboration between two true geniuses of Indian classical music.
The Bansuri flute is one of the three original forms of rendering Indian Classical music according to ancient scriptures - Vaani (Vocal), Veena (String) and Venu (Flute). According to Hindu mythology, it is the instrument of Lord Krishna and is thus very popular for playing folk music. The introduction of the flute in modern Indian Classical concerts has been rather recent however, and the late Pandit Pannalal Ghosh has been widely recognized for this achievement.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia further enhanced the bansuri playing style, with his innovative fingering and blowing techniques and took bansuri music to yet higher level.

The Hindustani bansuri flute usually consists of a blowing hole, six fingering holes and one tuning hole (though in some cases, flutes do not have tuning hole). The pitch of the bansuri varies depending on the length and diameter of the bore. The longer the flute, the deeper its pitch. However, longer flutes are also difficult to blow and finger. To balance this tradeoff, most Hindustani bansuri players tend to choose bansuri with pitch E (safed teen) and this flute is approximately 30" long.

Naturally, the bamboo suitable to make bansuri is not available freely. In its entire length, the flute bamboo should not have a node. If you think about it, it is not common to find a bamboo that is thin, straight and yet does not have a node for 30". Such bamboo species are only found in the jungles of Indian states of Assam and Kerala. Before making the flute, the bamboo is seasoned so that the natural resins strengthen it. It is then blocked with a piece of cork or rubber stopper from one end. Holes are then burned into it as drilling holes often breaks the bamboo. The proportions between bamboo length, bore, diameter of each hole and the location of stopper cork are extremely critical for getting the tuning of the bansuri right. Strings are then tied around the bamboo for both decoration and protection.

The Bansuri is a versatile instrument. It can easily produce all basic elements of Hindustani music variation such as meend (glide), gamak, kan. Versatile bansuri players also produce emotions in their music through variations in blowing style.

The Bansuri is a very simple instrument. Unlike string instruments, it does not need tuning once it is tuned by the flute maker. However, as Hariji puts it, it is Krishna's instrument and the Lord has made it deceptively simple. To become adept in the bansuri, one needs many months of practice.


kokolo said...

:)what a team, alaways nice to hear that one.

Miguel said...


yes team is always good...

if it's a good team :)

and this one is!