I got this with a handful of other Indian albums at the melting pot of used records that is Sugar Land Half Price Books. I think the title, plus the artists’ stable of musicians on the back drew me to this purchase. It was $4.00.
Chitti Babu. It is a fun name to say. I think I will do it again Chitti Babu. Anyway, Chitti Babu was born in 1936 in Kakinada in the Indian State of Andnra Pradesh. Born to musicial (or at least supporting of music) parents, he studied the classical Southern Indian style of Carnatic music. In order to support himself, Chitti Babu worked in film as an artist/ composer/ and musical director. However, it is his classical playing for which is most reknown, winning various awards and touring the world. According to Wikipedia, Chitti Babu, in the world of Carnatic music, became a legend in his own time. Pretty heavy statement. With that being said, Chitti Babu died of massive cardiac arrest in 1996 at age 59. Also, he is no relation to the comedian Chitti Babu, who is also dead.
If you think the instrument on the cover is a sitar, then you are quite ignorant my friend. It is a Veena. The Northern Indian Veena, which plays like a stick zither, is used in Hindustani music and for the most part , has largely been replaced by the sitar. In Southern India, however, the Veena functions more like a lute and is still popular in Carnatic music circles. Also according to Wikipedia, the Veena has become synonymous with the artist on this record so when you say Veena, you are talking Chitti Babu.
The webpage below is an excellent source of information on Chitti Babu and greatly expounds on the information above. I suggest checking it out. One takeaaway I got was a quote from Chitti Babu himself, ” Music starts with M and in my opinion the M is for melody. If You remove that M out of music, it makes USIC (you sick)”. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Link to webpage on Chitti Babu
Anyway, here is this effort from 1972, as the title would suggest, accompanied by his disciples (a very lofty way of saying students), Shelia Pathy, Shanti, Kala, Hema, and Lakshmi. It should be noted that Chitti Babu had many disciples over his life and many of them became important Veena musicians in their own right. Not sure why they are all female on this record, but then I again, I am quite sure why. But back to this album, side one features five classical raga movements in a traditional Indian form. Side two on the other hand, features six songs that are more western in nature. Truth be told, I really liked side 2 and picked around 4 of the 6 for possible samples.
In that vein, I decided to use “Fifth Movement: Raga: Sankarabharanam” from side 1 (or at least what I think is the fifth movement). From side 2, I went with “Rhythms Indiana” and “Of The Rocks” which I believe is my favorite.
Great little album from Chitti Babu. had to say it one more time. Satisfactory.