Featured post

An Old Sarangi from Rawalpindi

Thanks to my friend Ali Zafar, the old sarangi from Rawalpindi has been fully restored with skin, strings and missing pegs in Lahore. Lovely sound!

Click images for larger view. Photos by Taimur Khan

Sarangi nut

I increased the gut-string height by raising the nut with two PVC card strips.

Sarangi bridge

Adjusted the bass string height with a piece of PVC card.

Sarangi refurbished

Here she is – my birthday sarangi. :)

Featured post

Poland–Pakistan: Sounds from two continents

Left to right: Muhammad Ajmal (tabla), Taimur Khan (sarangi), Muhammad Azam (vocals), Marta Sołek (suka), Maria Pomianowska (suka)

Left to right: Muhammad Ajmal (tabla), Taimur Khan (sarangi), Muhammad Azam (vocals), Marta Sołek (suka), Maria Pomianowska (suka) | Photo credit: Omer K.’s Photography

Update – 11 March 2013: Full music CD “Poland-Pakistan: Sounds from two Continents” is available for free download.

I would like to share two tracks from our pleasant collaboration with two Polish musicians/friends in November 2012. It was a great experience in very limited time: less than five days for rehearsals, concerts, recordings. The following titles can be right-clicked and saved.

Happy New Year!

Sarangi–Suka Duet – improvisation in D minor & D harmonic minor

Lipa – Polish folk song

Maria Pomianowska: suka and vocals
Marta Sołek: bass/cello
Taimur Khan: sarangi
Muhammad Azam: vocals
Muhammad Ajmal: tabla
James Stephens: recording and production
Umair Jaffar: all arrangements in collaboration with the Polish Embassy, Islamabad.

Featured post

Sama & Other Poems

Wazir Khan Mosque, January 2009. Photo by Taimur Khan

Starting today, I will share a poem on this blog every Friday, 12:00 pm PKT for the next nine months or so, from a set I wrote in recent years.

These future posts and other poems can be accessed under the “Poetry” label in the header menu. I hope you will revisit, and enjoy reading some of them too.

This summer air…

This summer air is not a state of matter. It is the space
beside knowledge of fractals and scales that music
makes its own. There are likenesses and likelihoods asleep

in the small patches of flowers on the wayside, and the wayside
is a doorway to the dispossession of noon. The crackle and
smoke of hermel seeds may not avert evil but in their antiquating

sound and smell, another world resides; a shadow of some
traveling self that often finds itself saying and hearing things
with the imprecision of words exiled to the latency of years.

If nothing in the world is new, we owe it to an abiding recollection
of what it is to love and be loved. If Plato was not right about
our memory of Forms, he was right about the form of our minds.

We could populate a page with flowers, birds and insects whose names
we know and that most resemble nature in its imperfections, like
a forest densely quivering by day with cicadas fed on the moon’s milky sap.

You must have seen how in quieter, calmer monumental spaces,
the drift of your hair, the warmth of your face, your palms
and eyes have often taken wing as little songs and settled in the groves.

I don’t encourage the illusion that your body is distinct from your voice
that I wear like a shroud of sleep, or that the pools of your eyes are
not harbors where the broadest thoughts could anchor and regard the sea.

Knowing red as red is not the same as remembering it as flowers,
and the certainty of childhood too is not enough. Tell me,
my muse, what you remember of time; of the sweet and sore eidolons

of memory and desire, so we may arrange them in a picture book,
on strings of verses which don’t rhyme or rave in measures.
They’ll be replete with rounds of reason, loosely hung as ribbons

over features of absences and returns of ambivalence,
taking shape along the frames and margins of the hottest days
melting into rain… inimitable like love, salubrious like you.


Taimur Khan

Saint Petersburg Mosque

Saint Petersburg Mosque

In 1882, Selim-Girei Tevkelev who in 1865 was appointed the Mufti of Orenburg turned to and obtained agreement from minister Count Tolstoy with the requirement for a mosque in St. Petersburg. In 1906, the Minister formed a special committee headed by Ahun Ataulla Bayazitov to collect 750,000 rubles within 10 years for the construction of the mosque. They organised collections in towns and providences of Russia and received donations from many sponsors. In addition the committee input securities in total amount of 142,000 rubles and also stamps for mosque’s project. The biggest donor was Said Abdoul Ahad, Emir of Bochara who undertook all expenses for the building. –Wikipedia

Link
Grasshopper (Acrididae), Barbilla National Park, Costa Rica. Photo by Piotr Naskrecki/Minden Pictures/Corbis

Grasshopper (Acrididae), Barbilla National Park, Costa Rica. Photo by Piotr Naskrecki/Minden Pictures/Corbis

Die, selfish gene, die >>
For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?

Perhaps better then to speak not of genes but the genome — all your genes together. And not the genome as a unitary actor, but the genome in conversation with itself, with other genomes, and with the outside environment. If grasshoppers becoming locusts, sweet bees becoming killers, and genetic assimilation are to be believed it’s those conversations that define the organism and drive the evolution of new traits and species. It’s not a selfish gene or a solitary genome. It’s a social genome.

Locust and Chameleon | Photo by Nik Taylor/Getty

Locust and Chameleon | Photo by Nik Taylor/Getty

Dead or Alive? >>
Is it time to kill off the idea of the ‘Selfish Gene’? We asked four experts to respond to our most controversial essay

I can vividly remember reading The Selfish Gene in my local library as a teenager: it was both a page-turner and something of a conversion experience. Richard Dawkins’s explanation of the unsparing reality of evolution blew like a cold, refreshing wind through everything I thought I knew about human nature, and is one of the great pieces of scientific writing from the last century. I was hardly surprised then, that David Dobbs’s essay ‘Die Selfish Gene’ provoked a fierce and prolonged debate when we published it in Aeon last December. But now it’s time to take stock: is the ‘selfish gene’ idea still a useful way to explain evolution? We invited four experts, and the writer himself, to respond to this question. And we invite you to join the conversation by taking our quick survey at the bottom of the page. What do you think: is it time to get rid of the ‘selfish gene’ or is it here to stay?

Brigid Hains, Editor

Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? >>

Link
Greco Roman Sculpture | metmuseum.org

Greco Roman Sculpture | metmuseum.org

You are not who you think you are >>

You are not who you think you are. Philosophers, from the Buddha to David Hume to Derek Parfit, have been telling us that for centuries. There is no essential you, there is no unchanging nucleus at the centre of your being, and there is no homunculus looking through your eyes and pulling the levers that steer your actions. Whatever you think the hard core of you is, it’s an illusion.

Eid Mubarak.