August 14, 2008 1:13 AM   Subscribe

It's the middle of August, and chances are pretty good that it's HOT where you are. Let's lend our ears, then, to some of the most cooling music around, from the Indian bansuri. Air conditioning for your soul.

More info on the players heard in the linked video clips:

Hariprasad Chaurasia, Prasad Bhandarkar, Harsh Wardhan.

David Courtney's Bansuri and venu page is informative and packed with more embedded YouTube clips.

Free online bansuri lessons, from the fine folks at Know Your Raga.

Interactive bansuri fingering chart.
posted by flapjax at midnite (38 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
You never disappoint, flapjax.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:16 AM on August 14, 2008

It was 15C and wet in London yesterday - do you have anything that'll make my soul sizzle?
posted by rhymer at 1:49 AM on August 14, 2008

Haha! Sizzle, eh? You'll have to wait for my next FPP, I promise it'll set the house on fire.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:53 AM on August 14, 2008

I wish it were hot where I am. But the music is nice.
posted by moonbiter at 2:09 AM on August 14, 2008

rhymer, I was going to moan about the weather, too, but I figured that people would just bitch at me for trying to "act British".

Anyway, like that ever stopped me.

God, it's been wet and cold here. I almost turned the heating on this morning. I was in Berkshire yesterday, and we got hammered by some really heavy rain. The ground is so wet here in Worcestershire that the local festivals are being cancelling due to wet ground (the lorries can't get the equipment in for the mud).

I guess we shouldn't moan. Last year, everything in Gloucestershire nearly floated out to sea.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:10 AM on August 14, 2008

Typical Northern Hemisphere bias! It's goddamned cold where I'm at; put on some spicy warming music!
posted by barnacles at 2:28 AM on August 14, 2008

Hot, here? I wish! What happened to the summer?
posted by salmacis at 2:33 AM on August 14, 2008

We Brits have definitely been seeing the downside of "mild and damp" this summer.

Still, I'm on holiday from the 22nd to the 14th which will probably mean three weeks of sun for you. And a mysterious cold monsoon in Malaysia where I'm going. By way of succour, I suppose can spend the time listening to flapjax's music.
posted by rhymer at 2:41 AM on August 14, 2008

Yeah, whine some more about how cold it is. It's been 100 degrees F or more here every day for like a month and a half now. As much as I like my city, I fucking hate the summers here. It's torture, as Bill Hicks said only lizards like this kind of weather. I'd love to live in England or somewhere else where it's cold/cool in August.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:11 AM on August 14, 2008

This summer's been a really bad Vancouver winter here in Toronto.
posted by gman at 3:47 AM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ah, the weather's always better on the other side of the fence, eh?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:48 AM on August 14, 2008

28C today, which is the warmest in the past week or so, but still not Hot, compared to a few weeks ago.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:49 AM on August 14, 2008

Ah, the weather's always better on the other side of the fence, eh?

They haven't built it yet.
Wicked fuckin' links, by the way.
posted by gman at 4:02 AM on August 14, 2008

Thank you flapjax. I would never have discovered this without your links. And yes the sun shines in the Mediterranean and yes it is hot and that is why I live here. Cool post.
posted by adamvasco at 4:51 AM on August 14, 2008

Next week, I'm going to be leaving the cold wet weather of England, where I live now, to go visit the cool wet weather of my hometown Toronto! Yay! \o/

But seriously, the music is really beautiful- just as calming as cooling for a stressed-out student. Thank you so much flapjax!
posted by Kirjava at 4:54 AM on August 14, 2008

Ah, the weather's always better on the other side of the fence, eh?.

To paraphrase a well-worn Swedish saying: There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing and bad music.

No bad weather when you're listening to this. Thanks flapjax.... and now you have set the bar high for your next post. Looking forward to it.
posted by three blind mice at 5:28 AM on August 14, 2008

The "conditioning" link instantly puts a smile on my face. Thank you sir.
posted by cashman at 5:28 AM on August 14, 2008

Ah, Hariprasad Chaurasia in particular is a big favourite of mine.

One of the silliest things I've ever done was to skip a free all-night concert by him in Varanasi one time, on the assumption that the venue would be packed to the rafters. I asked around the next day, and, no, it was an intimate little affair. On the ghats. All night.

And one of my most ambitious little flights of fancy was thinking that because I had played the standard western flute for a while, I could pick up an Indian bamboo flute, get a few lessons to suss out the basics, then somehow improvise ragas from a theoretical text on raga structure that I picked up. That kinda went nowhere fast, but it was fun taking lessons inside a cute little stone temple that felt like it was about a thousand years old, somewhere in the winding alleyways in the old part of town, a few blocks back from the Ganges.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:44 AM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

oh jeez, now i have a virtual crush on ubu, meh
posted by infini at 6:00 AM on August 14, 2008

My soul is PUH-RETTY ice cold as it is -- thanks.

ahem, also: awesome stuff flapjax.
posted by Menomena at 6:09 AM on August 14, 2008

oh jeez, now i have a virtual crush on ubu, meh

ah, but i see you're already crushing on homunculus & tellurian, you great polyandrist.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:19 AM on August 14, 2008

er.. what can I say? its that wit, those jabs of insight, the comments... *whispers* tbh, there's no one else...
posted by infini at 6:32 AM on August 14, 2008

besides, wot great company you're in! ;p
posted by infini at 6:34 AM on August 14, 2008

flapjax, every time I click through one of your FPPs, I feel like I've just completed a course in the Flapjax Online University of International Music. Great job, as always.
posted by amyms at 6:52 AM on August 14, 2008

While good this music failed to go to the fridge and get me a cold beer. Therefore FAIL.
posted by gomichild at 7:11 AM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Damn right it's hot here. Supposed to get to 104 F tomorrow.
posted by wastelands at 8:10 AM on August 14, 2008

"Air conditioning for your soul" HAHAHA.

I never knew what this instrument was called. Great post.
posted by hellslinger at 10:26 AM on August 14, 2008

Ooh, lovely stuff flapjax.
posted by vronsky at 11:57 AM on August 14, 2008

besides, wot great company you're in! ;p

well, there should be a palpable tension between me & tellurian at the next Sydney meetup now! you'd be able to cut the air with a knife. a knife of snark.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:04 PM on August 14, 2008

but i see you're already crushing on homunculus & tellurian, you great polyandrist

infini, we have similar tastes in our cyber crushes. I'm also cyber gaga for flapjax, vronsky, matteo, y2karl, the cydonian, psmealey, peacay, ikkyu2, jack_mo too. Emotionally promiscuous. *sigh, a very satisfying cyber life here in MetaFilter, fans face, turns up the musical air conditioning.

And as for that cool, khus perfumed musical air conditioning, it's toasty in NYC, just perfect weather for listening. ahh.

Love your post flapjax. Love flute music and especially classical Indian flute.

A gazillion years ago, 1977, I bought a baby palm squirrel in Calcutta's New Market, named it Anuki (small atom). The animal vendor, a wonderful, smallpocked Muslim from Lucknow who recited poetry beautifully. He told me to keep the baby warm, to put it under my hair at the nape of my neck. That first night I took Anuki, sleeping soundly on my nape under my hair to a Hariprasad Chaurasia concert. Nothing like cool flute with a warm palm squirrel. :)

Interesting anecdote about his life:

Hariprasad had to learn music almost in secret, scared of the father who wanted him to become a wrestler. He did go to the Akhada and train with his father for some time, although he also started learning music in secret, and practicing in his friend's house. He has credited this wrestling training for giving him the immense stamina and lung power that are the hallmarks of his flute playing, stating that, "I was not any good at wrestling. I went there only to please my father. But maybe because of the strength and stamina I built up then, I'm able to play the bansuri even to this day".
posted by nickyskye at 10:02 PM on August 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

*phew* ~ it's getting hot in here!

*cues shakuhachi music*
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:27 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

ooooooh! the ubiquitous little indian squirrels! i never knew what they were called in english. delightful little fellas.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:40 PM on August 14, 2008

Yeah, those tiny glari are palm squirrels. They look like chipmunks. Sometimes they're super squirrels.

And you know it's appropriate to get all hot in this thread because the bansuri is connected with Krishna and his seductive flute playing. There really is nothing like the bansuri in terms of a sublime combination of serene and sensual in the same note.

Cute Nepali folk song.
posted by nickyskye at 11:14 PM on August 14, 2008

The female friends of Krishna with their warm sensuous faces, eyes filled with passion, and delicate sensitive fingers, represent not the beauty of a particular woman, but the beauty of entire womanhood. In fact, she is there as the incarnation of all the beauty of the world and as a representative of the charm of her sex.

In the embrace of Krishna, the gopis, maddened with desire, found refuge; in their love dalliance with him who was the master in all the sixty-four arts of love, the gopis felt a thrill indescribable; and in making love with him in that climatic moment of release, in that one binding moment, they felt that joy and fulfillment which could not but be an aspect of the divine.

Through their experience, thus, the erotic the carnal and the profane became but an aspect of the sublime, the spiritual and the divine.This cumulative myth sustained one basic point: for women, Krishna was a personal god, always accessible and unfailingly responsive. He was a god specially made for women. In the popular psyche, Krishna and Radha became the universal symbol for the lover and the beloved. Krishna was the ideal hero, and Radha the ideal heroine.

Krishna the Divine Lover in Indian Art
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:37 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

ah. That enticing hook.
posted by nickyskye at 12:35 AM on August 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

Mmmm, this thread has gotten juicy...

I wants me some Gopies.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:17 AM on August 15, 2008

You know flapjax, after enjoying your, er, post (which double entendre seems risqué in light of the other comments in this thread) I looked up other flute music and nothing, er, comes close to the bansuri for alluring expressiveness. I don't actually experience the bansuri music as cool but more as warm. The way those great musicians that you linked to play, somehow combines a fluid sensuality, which might ordinarily seem at odds with a sound I think of as conveying spiritual transcendence.
posted by nickyskye at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2008

I looked up other flute music and nothing, er, comes close to the bansuri for alluring expressiveness.

Yes, the bansuri has that richness of tone, it's not shrill at all, which I think plays a big part in its sensuality.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:59 PM on August 15, 2008

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