Raga-204 Booklet Text

Padmabhushan Nikhil Banerjee (1931-1986) was one of the greatest sitarists of this century. His music earned deep respect among India's classical music aficionados as well as gaining him a devoted international following. He was the disciple of the two greatest forces in 20th Century Indian classical instrumental music, Padmavibhushan Allauddin Khan and his son Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. Though he recorded many LPs, few were of live concerts, in which his leisurely, majestic raga development was unsurpassed. Mr. Banerjee disliked being recorded, feeling that the process distracted and somewhat compromised the inner meditative quality of his music, and high fidelity live recordings are rare.

To preserve his legacy and show the full scope of his musical vision, Raga Records is reproducing a series of live concert masters. Third in the series, this recording was made in Berkeley, before one of Mr. Banerjee's most appreciative American audiences. The first rag played that evening, Purabi Kalyan, is available (Raga-207).

photo: John Wilton

Swapan Chaudhuri is one of today's finest tabla players. He has long been associated with Nikhilda. Critics have described his playing as having a high degree of confidence, elegant clarity and laya accuracy. Born in 1947, he received his training from Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta, the eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana. He is the tabla master at the Ali Akbar College of Music, and has performed and recorded extensively with Ali Akbar Khan and many other leading musicians.

Misra Kafi was recorded during the second half of a concert, and shows Mr. Banerjee at his most mellow and relaxed. The scale corresponds to a Western minor scale; misra ('mixed') means that flashes of other ragas will occasionally be heard.

Mr. Banerjee recorded more than two dozen albums, on the Indian EMI label, and for Sonodisc in France, Harmonia Mundi and Chhanda Dhara in Germany, Amigo in Sweden, and for Raga, Capitol, Connoisseur Society and Musical Traditions in the US. Many of these recordings are available through the Ali Akbar College in San Rafael, CA.

Released by arrangement with Mrs. Roma Banerjee. Recorded in Wheeler Auditorium, U.C.B., October 23 1982 by Bill Lewis. Schoeps microphones, Nagra tape recorder. To maintain the purest possible sound, the program remained in the digital domain after transfer from the original master tape, without any added mixing or equalization. Audiofile Engineer: Andy Green. Special thanks to Subrata Chowdhury, consultant Ray Spiegel, and to NVI for digital studio facilities. Cover photo, Associate Producer: Ira Landgarten. Produced by John Wilton.

copyright ©, (P) 1988 by Raga Records, POB 635, New York NY 10014.