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Kadambini Thakur, Hindustan Times
August 08, 2007
Indian classical instruments like tabla, sarangi, tanpura, harmonium and the sitar are no longer just a part of the Indian music scenario. Sample this. Former Police singer Sting used Indian flute in one of his songs. Recently, in a Hollywood flick, Music and Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, there was a sequence of a concert that had the sitar as one of the accompaniments.

Mixing and matching

But there's more to it than what meets the eye.

With the growing popularity of the Indian sound and expanding markets, music instrument makers want to cash in on the trend.

Popularity of Indian instruments is an emerging trend. When we put Indian sounds in key- boards, they kind of lose their original touch - Benny, Euphoria drummer

Casio, the Japan based electronics company, launched a keyboard that has exclusive Indian rhythms and tones in its foray.

Music is getting more and more ‘mixer-oriented', so the question that arises is: will the original sounds of the instruments be able to withstand market pressures?

This keyboard is purely for the Indian market. The tunes and rhythms are manoeuvred for the Indian preference, setting in pre-recorded tunes such as the Garba, Keherva and Teen Taal.

But when it comes down to popularity and most importantly, the genuineness, it is always the originals that find prominence.

Benny, who handles keyboard in Euphoria says, "Indian sounds are put into some instruments like keyboards and synthesisers. But they are wonderful mostly in their purer forms. When we put them in keyboards, they kind of tend to lose the original touch. Nothing can beat the magic Shiv Kumar Sharma creates on santoor, or the soprano Ustad Zakir Hussain creates on the tabla."

Even with the long strides of technology, nothing really can beat the original.