Listen To A Rare 1964 Record By Iconic Indian Classical Music Icons — The Dagar Brothers

Berlin 1964 – The Lost Studio Recording
Berlin 1964 – The Lost Studio RecordingBlack Truffle Records

In the intricate tapestry of North Indian classical music, the Dagar Brothers, Moinuddin and Aminuddin, stand as luminaries, their voices echoing through time as torchbearers of the ancient dhrupad tradition. Hailing from a lineage deeply rooted in musical heritage, the Dagar Brothers, often referred to as the 'senior' Dagars, marked the nineteenth generation of a family dedicated to preserving the rich tapestry of dhrupad through meticulous patrilineal transmission.

In the wake of India's independence in 1947, a pivotal era when royal courts, traditional patrons of dhrupad, were abolished, the Dagar Brothers played a vital role in upholding the meditative purity of this musical form. Their contributions became globally recognized during their European tour in 1964-65, a journey that introduced many Western audiences to the profound beauty of dhrupad.

Capturing a moment frozen in time, Black Truffle Records presents 'Berlin 1964 – The Lost Studio Recording', a remarkable archival release featuring the Dagar Brothers. These recordings, made with crystalline fidelity at the International Institute for Comparative Studies and Documentation in Berlin, are a testament to the brothers' mastery and the enduring legacy of their musical lineage.

The album features two side-long performances: the midnight rendition of 'Raga Malkauns' and the early evening exploration of 'Raga Jaijaivanti'. Accompanied only by Moinuddin's wife Saiyur on tanpura and Raja Chatrapati Singh on pakhawaj, the brothers deliver mesmerizing performances that showcase the depth and subtlety of dhrupad. The extended alap sections, characteristic of traditional dhrupad structure, gradually introduce the notes of the ragas; creating a tapestry of sound that climbs in pitch and intensity.

'Raga Malkauns,' set to a ten-beat cycle, reveals its profound seriousness, with the pakhawaj entering around thirteen minutes into the performance. Raja Chatrapati Singh's skillful execution adds a layer of inventive metrical nuance, creating a sonic crescendo that captivates the listener. In contrast, 'Raga Jaijaivanti', features an alap lasting almost twenty minutes, drawing the audience into a mystical calm before the tape cuts off, leaving an air of electric anticipation.

The archival significance of Berlin 1964 lies not only in the musical mastery on display but also in the circumstances surrounding its creation. As detailed in liner notes by Peter Pannke, the tape ran out during 'Raga Jaijaivanti', adding an element of mystery to this already enchanting recording.

Accompanied by a full-color concert photograph, Berlin 1964 – The Lost Studio Recording pays homage to the pivotal role played by musicologist Alain Daniélou. His efforts in studying, documenting, and promoting dhrupad were instrumental in bringing this timeless tradition to a global audience and it was the Dagar Brothers' European tour in 1964-65 that first introduced Western listeners to Dhrupad. Through these rediscovered recordings, the Dagar Brothers' artistry invites a new generation to experience the profound beauty of dhrupad; transcending temporal and cultural boundaries.

You can pre-order the album and listen to a part of the the record below.

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