The unexpectedly rapid collapse of Afghanistan’s military forces and subsequent fall of that country’s government to the Taliban do not bode well for Afghanistan’s future. Many aspects of life that we in the “west” take for granted – such as the freedoms of expression and religion, and women’s rights for just a few examples – […]
The Saraswati veena is a plucked, stringed musical instrument from India whose origins date back to around 1700 BCE. This veena (also spelled vina), a member of the lute family, as are the chitra, vichitra, and rudra veenas. Dr. Tara Rajendran is a classically trained veena player (as well as a medical doctor – please […]
When she was only four years old, Dr. Tara Rajendran watched as her grandmother suffered from and eventually succumbed to leukemia. While certainly sad at this loss, she was taken, even at such a tender age, by how her grandmother seemed to feel less anxiety and pain whenever Carnatic music, the classical music of her […]
The sitar is a member of the lute family of stringed instruments; it is popular in northern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and is used to play classical music in the Hindustani tradition. The word sitar is derived from the Persian word sehtar, meaning “three strings.” Origin and Construction The precise origin of the sitar is […]
The oud is one of the oldest stringed instruments still in play today. Arabic tradition traces the oud back to Lamech, a descendant of the Biblical figures Adam and Cain. Indeed, oud-like instruments have been discovered at archaeological sites in Egypt and Mesopotamia (located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is today Iraq). […]
The balalaika is the quintessential Russian folk musical instrument, easily identifiable by its hollow, triangular body. The soundboard (top of the instrument) is made of a soft wood, usually spruce or evergreen, while the resonator (back) is built from multiple – three to nine – wooden sections, usually maple. Balalaika Family Members of the balalaika […]
A guide to this small South American powerhouse If you were to take a mandolin, combine it with a ukulele and maybe toss in some oud or perhaps a bit balalaika, you might very well end up with a charango. So, what’s a charango? This diminutive, multi-stringed, multi-coursed, hollow-bodied axe offers up sweet sounds reminiscent […]
Twenty years after founding the arts organization Silkroad, Yo-Yo Ma is passing the baton to three of his collaborators and close friends.