The Blissful Bansuri

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Growing up playing music I first played piano, guitar and harmonica. It was as a blues harmonica player and singer that I realized I could play flute while standing. Ian Anderson was big then (Jethro Tull) and I talked to my band director and started the western flute. I was hooked partly because I began playing flute with many different types of music. I played Mozart flute concertos, music of J. S. Bach, jazz (like Hubert Laws) and found the flute could be very meditative (Paul Horn). I began playing along with Indian music as well. I studied Indian vocal music and took up tabla drums. I also began to hear the bansuri. I first heard Hariprasad Chaurasia on a recording called “Making Music” led by Zakir Hussain.

Here is that recording

What a sound! So blissful and sweet, peaceful, heavenly and earthy all at the same time. I have never stopped playing the western flute, but from that time forward, the bansuri became my main instrument. The effect of this instrument is so healing and combined with the beauty of Indian music, I never tire of this music. I was very fortunate that in 1992 I came to India to learn music and was able to meet Hariprasad directly, and he let me study with him which filled me with joy! We spent many hours during 1992-1994 and then Hari-ji suggested I continue studies with him at the Rotterdam Conservatorium in Holland. That continued for 12 years and I received 2 degrees in North Indian classical music. Again we would spend hours learning the beautiful ragas and the marvelous playing of Hariprasad. I feel extremely fortunate to have this kind of opportunity. Thanks for the great guru/shishya system of Indian culture to make this opportunity available and thanks to Hari-ji for his great dedication to this music.

 

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