Yes. I have such a deep place in my heart for Indian music and the world it opened up for me. I had never heard any music from India until I heard MSS in 1965 or 1966 at Wesleyan. I fell in love with her Karaharapriva alapana and Bhavayami ragamalika. I was hooked. Absolutely hooked. Several years later, in 1969 or 1970 I was sitting in a coffee house in Lenox, Massachusetts where the Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians and the young musicians who come to study with them in the summer often frequented. So there was Leonard Bernstein, the famous conductor and composer, just two tables away, holding court with his young proteges, regaling them with stories about Mahler, no doubt. He saw that I was starring at him, but my other eye was on the mandolin hanging on the wall. I asked the proprietor if I could play it, and he said fine, and then I slowed tuned it up like to my sruti, 1/2, sa pa sa. Now Lenny was getting very interested. Fortunately at this coffee house, they had beverages stronger than mocha, which helped me get up my nerve. I approached the maestro and asked him if I could sing him some Indian music. He said, "Indian music, I INVENTED Indian music." What an ego! (He later would make public statements about being Mahler and Beethoven.) So I proceeded to sing the Sri Raga Samininekori, two speeds, faster tempo in the Charanam. When I got to s-----snppmrgrsrs----nsrgrsrmpn etc he started CONDUCTING ME. Well, off we went to the finish line, he with his grand gestures and me imitating all the head gestures of every vidwan I could remember. It was quite a show. At the very end of this encounter, he asked me, "What's a choir boy like you getting involved in Indian music?" He got it right about the choir boy.
You mention Vicky and Brubeck, Jr.. I assume you mean Darius. Enormous hands, just like his father. Scientology. Anyway, Vicky was an extremely talented musician who had a perfect ear for imitation and seemed to relish in performing. Shankar and Vicky. I have not seen her for all these many years. Bob Leroy. Bob, where are you? Frank and Gita! All these memories!
Wesleyan had a 40th celebration of the WorldMusic program a few years ago. I got my old group together, the Navarasa Carnatica Sangeeta Ensemble (David Reck came up with the name) and we did Telisirama, which I call the Wesleyan National Anthem, and something else, and then a piece that I had written in a Carnatic/Indonesian style in a made up raga in the forgotten language of the Carnatic music, Latin. Latin lends itself nicely to Kirtanas. So the saithya was "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, misere nobis. (Repeat). Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem." The text was appropriate to the time, as Bush was just about to invade Iraq and pleas for peace needed to go to the highest powers available. David, on vina, and Barbara Benary, on violin, followed nicely and David Nelson, mrdangm, just took it in stride, I think. I was very pleased that Prof. Harold Stone, from Philadelphia, and a relative of my aunt, appreciated the raga and had some thoughts on its similarities to a Hindustani raga that I had not heard of and the pelog scale used in Indonesia.
So, I am completely off the vidwan theme of this page, and the webmaster should banish me, but vkv, who I don't think I know, got me started and should take full responsibility for this long-winded digression. Jim
Last edited by Jim on 14 Nov 2009 07:55, edited 1 time in total.