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World Instruments

Gandharva Loka opens in Vancouver!

We are very happy to announce that a brand new Gandharva Loka store has opened in Vancouver, Canada! Located in the heart of Vancouver on Granville Island, a bustling market place that is home to numerous artisans, performers and unique stores, Gandharva Loka Vancouver is the first Gandharva Loka store in North America and will offer a huge range of world music instruments. Store location and hours can be found here.

We wish our new sister enterprise well and we are sure that the Vancouver team look forward to serving their customers as the northern spring becomes summer on Granville Island…

Granville Island in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada
Bustling Granville Island in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada – home to
the latest addition to the Gandharva Loka family of world instrument stores.

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Spontaneous World Music

Sitar, balafon and caxixiSome friends of ours, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Europe, were gathered together for a weekend of meditation and joy a few years ago. Many of them are accomplished musicians and singers and during the weekend there were many performances of Sri Chinmoy‘s music as well as a number of spontaneous performances.

The piece of music below is a recording of one of those spontaneous moments and it features two musicians, Kanala Auer (an art teacher and sitarist from Austria) and Alap Jetzer (a very talented multi-instrumentalist and instrument maker from Switzerland). Both have been Sri Chinmoy’s meditation students for many years. Kanala is playing a sitar and Alap is playing a balafon with caxixi attached to the strikers. So the mix is an Austrian musician playing an Indian instrument and a Swiss musician playing African instruments – I think we can call that world music!

Please enjoy the spontaneity of our friends Kanala and Alap…


Guzheng Arrives at Gandharva Loka

Gandharva Loka today received delivery of a full size Guzheng – a Chinese stringed instrument that is synonymous with the traditional music of China.

The Guzheng is a traditional Chinese instrument – a plucked zither with movable bridges that typically has 21 strings. Guzheng are commonly about 1.6 metres in length. The guzheng is the modern westernised descendant of an ancient traditional Chinese musical instrument which was the ancestor of the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum, and the Vietnamese đàn tranh. The parent instrument of the guzheng was known as the se. Read more »

The 21 string Guhzeng that we now have at Gandharva Loka is very similar to the one featured below and comes with the 21 movable bridges (and a diagram showing where to position them), two stands, a set of finger picks, a tuning key and a carry bag.



New Instruments at Gandharva Loka, February 2011

Here we are in the middle of February already – wasn’t it just Christmas?!? 2011 is a stone that is gathering no moss! Neither is Gandharva Loka in Christchurch. Our little music store has been busy with world instruments coming and going via a steady stream of customers near and far. Gandharva Loka’s managers, Vajin and Prasasta, were away on a meditation retreat/trekking holiday/buying trip in Nepal for two weeks in January and have returned with lots of interesting instruments which we will tell you about in a moment. Yours truly has had a wonderful time looking after Gandharva Loka while Vajin and Prasasta travelled and, being something of a instrument green-horn, I have been learning on the job – learned much from the customers actually. Gandharva LokaTruth to tell, what I have really enjoyed most is meeting people and sharing the joy and enthusiasm that our visitors and customers exude when they are in the store! And the nicest thing about the job is that people come into the store and play music!

Our motto is that Gandharva Loka is not a museum, so we always encourage our visitors to try the instruments. People’s capacities do vary of course, but no matter who they are or what they do, it is all music and joy in one form or another. And then there are the people who just blow you away with their abilities! One particularly nice memory is of a gentleman who came into Gandharva Loka late one Saturday afternoon. Taking a seat near the front of the store, he picked up an esraj and laid it across his knees, proceeding to play it in a blues-Indian fusion style all his own – it was magic! People were coming and going and he just kept playing. After a while, one of our little Celtic lever harps caught his eye and he began plucking on that too. Next thing you know, he was playing the esraj with one hand and the harp with the other – the magic continued but now we were hearing a blues-Indian fusion with a liberal sprinkling of Celtic thrown into the mix. Frankly, it was very beautiful and quite mesmerising. Walking out the door, he looked at me and with a twinkle in his eye said, “I’ll be back…” I do hope so…
Anyway, I veer verbose – down to business…

New Instruments:


Rhani Krija Percussion Clinic at CPIT Jazz School

Rhani KrijaJust wanted to let people know that there is a very special percussion event happening in Christchurch tomorrow night. The Christchurch Polytechnic’s Jazz School is hosting a percussion workshop with the Moroccan born percussionist Rhani Krija. Rhani is currently touring with Sting‘s Symphonicity concert series that will offer concerts in Christchurch and Napier with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. This from the CHART website:

Moroccan born percussionist, Rhani Krija is currently touring New Zealand with Sting’s Symphonicity tour and performing a clinic in Christchurch on Wednesday 9th February, 7:30pm at the CPIT Jazz School.

As a teenager, he began to work professionally as a percussionist with some of the most respected musicians of the traditional Moroccan music scene, and he soon established himself as a sought-after musician, well known for his authentic grasp of Arabic, Andalusian, African and Latin American music styles. Mastering a large variety of percussion instruments such as the Darbouka, Riqq, frame drums, congas, bongos, Djembe, Caribbean timbales and many others, his musical influences today are derived from a combination of traditional Arabic and North African rhythms, Latin American styles, Blues, Reggae and Pop.

Admission will only set you back $5.00 and this promises to be a great opportunity to meet and hear a renowned international percussionist in person…! Here’s a taste of Rhani Krija doing what he loves to do:

New Instruments at Gandharva Loka – December 2010

Looking for interesting and stimulating gifts for Christmas?
Gandharva Loka Christchurch is very happy to announce that we have just received several shipments of new instruments and are expecting more within the next few days from India and Europe. We will post an update when they arrive but in the meantime, here is a list of some of our newly arrived world instruments. (You can click on the instrument icons to see a larger version of each instrument.)

Bagpipe Practice Chanter

Bagpipe Practice ChanterThe bagpipe practice chanter is a double reed woodwind instrument that is similar in appearance to a recorder. It can be considered an instrument in its own right but its main function is as a practice instrument for the Scottish bagpipes. Gandharva Loka now has in stock some beautifully finished practice chanters.


BalalaikaThe balalaika is a Russian fretted stringed instrument with a triangular body and three strings (one steel and two nylon) that are typically tuned to E, E and A. The balalaika Gandharva Loka has just received is the most common size, the prima balalaika, which is the smallest of the balalaika family. Comes with a hard case.

Celtic Lever Harps

Celtic Lever HarpsGandharva Loka now has a range of Celtic lever harps. The small and medium harps are lap harps and the larger size is free standing. They are all lever harps with nylon strings.

  • Small – 19 string lap harp.
  • Medium – 22 string lap harp.
  • Large – 22 string free standing harp


Native American Flutes at Gandharva Loka

Southern Cross FlutesGandharva Loka in Christchurch is very proud to offer a new range of exquisite Native American flutes from local flute maker Todd Chaplin of Southern Cross Flutes. Todd’s flutes are crafted from a variety of imported and New Zealand timberss. They are beautifully finished and often feature decorative inlays such as wood, semi-precious stones and paua shell.

Todd makes single and double Native American style flutes in a variety of sizes that offer a wide range of sounds. His flutes have lovely clear tone and, as is typical of this kind of flute, they are very easy to play. They also come with a comprehensive instruction manual and a flute bag. There are some lovely samples of Native American flute music on the homepage of Todd’s website – they are very expressive, soul stirring wind instruments.

About Todd Chaplin

Todd ChaplinTodd was first exposed to Native American flute music while living in Korea. In 2006 he bought his first Native American flute and has been an ardent player ever since. When the opportunity of an apprenticeship in flute making came his way with Matt Shooting Star of Spiritsong Flutes in Australia, Todd jumped at the chance.

After finishing his time with Matt, and at Matt’s recommendation, Todd decided to visit the master flute maker Guillermo Martinez in Southern California where he spent five months studying and making Native American flutes. He has now returned to Christchurch to set up a workshop and continue his journey. Read more »

About Native American Flutes