The Hot List: June 14, 2004
Reviews by Matthew J. Forss
Sense World Music is a new label that
features a variety of Indian classical music. Here are some samplings:
The Gundecha Brothers
The Gundecha Brothers perform the oldest form of North Indian classical music. This form is called ‘dhrupad’. The purpose of dhrupad concerns a sense of spiritual awakening, by inducing feelings of peace and contemplation. The Gundecha Brothers on vocals, are joined by Akhilesh Gundecha on pakhawaj and Kalpesh Jani/Pravin Jani on tanpura. Darshan was recorded live at the 2003 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India).
The Gundecha Brothers
Tears On A Lotus
The Gundecha Brothers bring seven live tracks of traditional South Indian classical music. All tracks were recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival. A tabla-precursor, the pakhawaj, accompanies the Gundecha Brothers on vocals. Great for fans of dhrupad music!
In Union [2 CD]
India’s Ajoy Chakrabarty showcases his various talents of vocal commands of khayal, thumri, bhajan and Bengali light classical music genres. The 2-CD set was recorded live at Union Chapel in London, England on May 25th 2002. Ajoy Chakrabarty is accompanied by Shib Shankar Ray on tabla, Chiranjib Chakrabarty on harmonium and Ranjana and Chandra on tanpura. Pure and lively music for Indian music fans!
Jewels Of India
Jewels Of India contains the musical solitude of the bansuri flute. The three compositions are accompanied by tabla and tanpura. Ronu Majumdar continues the musical traditional of Indian bansuri flute playing. Excellent for bansuri fans and instrumental Indian folk music!
Shubhendra Rao & Partha Sarothy
The Ancient Weave
Shubhendra Rao (sitar), Partha Sarothy (sarod) and Akram Khan (tabla), pay homage to their guru by performing ‘Raga Charukauns’, which incorporates a blend of two other ragas. The ragas are characteristic of South Indian classical traditions. Vocals are absent. Overall, outstanding percussion and string skills shine on The Ancient Weave.
Purbayan Chatterjee & Satyajit Talwalkar
New Dawn Mind
New Dawn Mind is the result of tabla player Satyajit Talwalkar and sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee. New Dawn Mind is appropriately titled, because the two raga tracks, “Raga Bhairov’ and ‘Raga Jaunpuri’, are traditionally performed in the morning hours of the day. Excellent Indian classical raga music!
Voice Of India
North Indian classical vocalist, Rashid Khan, performs two distinctive vocal styles: khayal and tarona. Khayal is the most popular form of singing in Hindustani classical music, which tends to shed any form of vocal structure and enhances musical individuality. Tarona music encompasses fast singing of syllables in a rhythmic pattern. Rashid Khan displays classical vocals backed by Yogesh Samsi on the tabla and Mehmood Dhaulpuri on harmonium. The five tracks were recorded live in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) at the 2003 Saptak Music Festival. Great music for classical Indian fans!
Santoor player, Tarun Bhattacharya, is joined by tabla player, Ramkumar Misra. Tarun showcases his talents on santoor (hammered dulcimer). Slow and fast tempos of musical complexities are trademark signatures of Tarun’s professional talents. Tarun’s latest release will definitely ‘transcend’ time for generations to come. Indian instrumental music at it’s best!
Gypsies Of Rajasthan
Desert Charm features folk music of the Thar Desert region of Rajasthan. Specifically, the Langa and Manganiar people perform various Sufi vocal and instrumental songs. Several percussion instruments including drums, bells, tabla and flutes and strings add to the lively, musical energy. All songs were recorded live after the main performances of the 2002 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). An excellent album of fiery, folk music from Rajasthan!
Purbayan Chatterjee & Kala Ramnath
Samwad showcases the duet playing talent of Purbayan Chatterjee on sitar and Kala Ramnath on violin. Both musicians hold true to North Indian classical traditions. The mastery of duet playing is further evidenced by the addition of tabla accompaniment from one of the most popular tabla artists in India – Subhanker Banerjee. An expressive and mature album of musical complexity through simplicity!
Renowned Indian violinist, Kala Ramnath, showcases her talents on violin from the Hindustani style of ‘khayal’. Each composition includes violin and tabla. All tracks were recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). Another quality recording celebrating Kala’s music!
Violinist Kala Ramnath and tabla maestro Subhankar Banerjee bring us five unique raga compositions. Kala’s violin playing exhibits a wide range of tempos and cadences. A great album for fans of Indian violin music! A stellar effort!
North Indian khayal vocalist, Arati Ankalikar, performs energetic and devotional pieces backed by harmonium, tabla, sitar and sarangi. Other vocal tones include somber and reflective moments. A superb album of North Indian khayal singing! Anjali was recorded live at the 2003 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India).
Rajan & Sajan Mishra
Voices From The Heart
The duet instrumental and vocal tradition is rarely heard or performed. However, Voices From The Heart, captures the magnificent tradition. Rajan & Sajan perform two, long raga pieces with surmandal (zither) and sitar. Enchanting vocals emanate from both performers on both ragas. Recorded as a live session before the evening performances at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India).
Shiv Kumar Sharma & Shafaat Ahmed Khan
The Inner Path
Raga Kirvani is thoroughly explored by santoor player, Shiv Kumar Sharma, on five, long tracks. Additionally, Shafaat Ahmed Khan accompanies Shiv Kumar on tabla. A plethora of melodies and tones resonate from the string hammers of Shiv Kumar Sharma. Great North Indian instrumental music! Another fine recording from Shiv Kumar Sharma!
Shiv Kumar Sharma & Kishan Maharaj
Pandit (a title bestowed to someone who is accomplished in a certain art) Shiv Kumar Sharma is a renowned santoor performer. The santoor is a South Asian form of the Western hammered dulcimer. Swirling melodies and experimental, yet precise notation, beautifully accent the accompanied tabla beats, performed by Pandit Kishan Maharaj. Recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). A stunning album!
N. Rajam & Akram Khan
The essence of the violin is appropriately displayed by N. Rajam. N Rajam is a brilliant violinist that performs with tabla drummer, Akram Khan. The musical ‘radience’ of Radiant should certainly satisfy the tastes of Indian classical music. Recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India).
Voice Of India
North Indian classical vocalist, Rashid Khan, performs two distinctive vocal styles – khayal and tarana. Khayal is the most popular form of singing in Hindustani classical music, which sheds any form of vocal structure for greater individuality. Tarana music encompasses fast singing of syllables in a rhythmic pattern. Rashid displays classical vocals backed by Yogesh Samsi on tabla and Mehmood Dhoulpuri on harmonium. The five tracks were recorded live in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) at the 2003 Saptak Music Festival. Great music for classical Indian fans!
Shubhendra Rao & Partha Sarothy
The Ancient Weave
Shubhendra Rao (sitar), Partha Sarothy (sarod) and Akram Khan (tabla) pay homage to their guru by performing Raga Charukauns, which incorporates the blend of two other ragas. The ragas are characteristic of South Indian classical traditions. Vocals are absent. Overall, outstanding percussion and string skills shine on The Ancient Weave.
Purbayan Chatterjee & Satyajit Talwalkar
New Dawn Mind
New Dawn Mind is the result of tabla drummer Satyajit Talwalkar and sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee. Excellent Indian classical raga music! New Dawn Mind is appropriately titled because the two raga tracks, Raga Bhairov and Raga Jaunpuri, are traditionally performed in the morning hours of the day.
Shahid Parvez & Kumar Bose
Raga Bageshri is explored in five parts by sitar maestro Shahid Parvez and tabla drummer Kumar Bose. A perfect album for the classical Indian music purist! Recorded live at the 2003 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India).
Classical Indian vocalist, Jasraj, joins others on tabla, harmonium and pakhawaj. The intensity of a live audience at the 2003 Saptak Music Festival in Ahemdabad, Gujarat (India). Great for classical Indian vocal fans!
The Golden Bow
The Golden Bow features the timeless presence of the violin. The violin is a rather rare musical instrument in Indian classical music. However, one can expect to find that any violinist performing Indian classical music certainly succeeds to a very high degree. Santosh is joined by Shabbir Hussain on tabla. All six tracks were recorded in 2003 at the Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). An exciting album of budding, violin talent!
Power & Grace I
Award-winning Bansuri flutist, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, is accompanied by tabla and pakhawaj. Raga Durga and Raga Malkauns are performed with utter ‘power’ and ‘grace’, before a live audience at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). Hariprasad’s high level of mastery is definitely evident on both tracks. A thoroughly pleasant album of intricate Bansuri stylings and percussion backing!
Power & Grace II
Bansuri flutist, Hariprasad Chaurasia, perform two remarkable compositions – Dhun and Bhajan. The tabla and pakhawaj back the Bansuri master. Another brilliant album of musical virtuosity on the infamous Bansuri bamboo flute. Also, Power & Grace II was recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). A must-have for fans of Bansuri flute or woodwinds!
Purbayan Chatterjee & Kumar Bose
Sitar master, Purbayan Chatterjee and tabla master, Kumar Bose, bring us six expressive ragas. Both are also joined by Sangeeth Bhattacharjee on tanpura. All three musicians possess complete mastery of their respective instrument. Invaluable for sitar fans!
Sitar master, Purbayan Chatterjee and Satyajit Talwalkar on tabla, create invigorating and joyful musical pieces. A complex, yet exciting album of duet virtuosity, certainly highlights the musical direction of Purbayan and Satyajit.
A performer of North Indian classical vocal music, Prabhakar quickly found himself growing in popularity throughout India. Prabhakar’s khayal singing is emotional and sincere. Prabhakar is joined by tabla, harmonium and tanpura on three long tracks. Perfect for Indian vocal fans!
Dynamic [2 CD]
The tabla is the main instrument of Kumar Bose’s musical repertoire. The 2 CD set contains magnificent interplay of harmonium, sarangi and tabla, that creates a sense of ‘dynamic’ musicianship. Both CDs are fine examples of how tabla drumming should be! Moreover, the performance was recorded in 2001 at the Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India).
A Light From The East
The Indian string instrument, the sarod, is delicately played by one of the most respected musicians in India today. Contemplative, yet energetic moments, highlight the amazing interplay between Tejendra’s sarod and Yogesh Samsi’s tabla drumming.
Pandit Sharda Sahai & Vishnu Sahai
Gurukul (‘home of the guru’) is a rare, live recording of the father and son tabla duo, Sharda and Vishnu Sahai. North Indian tabla playing consists of six styles, known as gharanas. Some of the gharanas are performed on tabla before a live audience at the 2004 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). Ramesh Mishra joins the Sahai’s on sarangi. A percussionist’s dream come true!
Devotion comprises two long raags for alap and jhaptaal (different time signatures). Devjyoti Bose is a skillful and creative sarod player from the North Indian classical tradition. Devjyoti is accompanied by tabla. Recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). A great album of musical virtuosity!
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Salil Bhatt & Sandeep Das
Mohan’s Veena [2 CD]
Father and son, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Salil Bhatt perform the classical Indian tradition of ‘jugalbandi’ (duet-playing). Both play a transformed or modified version of the Hawaiian slide guitar. The modified veena consists of three melodic strings, five drone strings and twelve sympathetic strings that mimic the ancient veena, sitar and sarod. A monumental 2 CD set from an influential and Grammy-award winner, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. Sandeep Das lends his tabla techniques on a few tracks.
Diva [2 CD]
Girija Devi performs the thumri style of vocal singing. Girija is highly acclaimed as a contributor to the preservation of classical and religious singing. Girija is accompanied by tabla and sarangi on some tracks. Girija’s mastery of the vocal techniques is clearly evident on both CD’s. Recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). Fans of semi-classical Indian vocal music will relish Diva.
A very accomplished performer, Bhavani Shankar plays the pakhawaj (two-sided drum). Two long compositions feature introductory syllabic vocals from Bhavani and harmonium and sarangi accompaniment. Recorded live at the Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) in 2002. Great percussion music!
The legendary vocals of Jasraj are showcased on Soul Food. Jasraj sings two different ragas and one in three different segments. Jasraj is joined by Kala Ramnath on violin, Hemant Bhatt on pakhawaj, S. Bhatt on harmonium, S. N. Mehta on tabla and assorted backing vocals. Soul Food displays Jasraj’s full range of vocal intensities and colors. Recorded live at the Saptak Music Festival in 2002 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). Soul Food is delightfully appetizing for the Indian music connoisseur.
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt & Sandeep Das
Grammy-award winner, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and tabla maestro, Sandeep Das, present three ragas. Vishwa plays a modified slide guitar tuned for each raga. The slide guitar is reminiscent of the sitar and sarod. A great combination of veena and tabla! Recorded live at the 2001 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). Highly recommended for the adventurous listener!
Sense World Music Vol. 1
The music of the Sense World Music label is fairly specialized and high in quality and value. Sense World Music brings us the best in Indian classical music. Vol. 1 contains a wide variety of musicians and instruments from India. Both vocal and instrumental tracks are included. A good place to start for the person new to Indian classical music!
Sense World Music Vol. 2
The follow-up to Vol. 1, Vol. 2 continues to showcase various musicians, instruments and musical styles from India’s classical music scene. Another great album that illustrates the musical diversity of Indian classical music. Also, check out Vol. 1 for more artist samples. Both volumes are great gifts for Indian music lover!
Hariprasad Chaurasia & Kumar Bose
Flute Deity [2 CD]
The highly renowned Bansuri flutist, Hariprasad Chaurasia, performs a couple of long ragas on the 2 CD’s. Hariprasad is joined by Kumar Bose on tabla. On Flute Deity, Hariprasad & Kumar live up to their renowned titles, which will only increase their musical accessibility and musicianship among people everywhere. A highly recommended CD set of good Bansuri flute music!
Shahid Parvez & Kumar Bose
Synergy [2 CD]
Sitarist Shahid Parvez and tabla drummer Kumar Bose perform nine long tracks on 2 CD’s. The methodical interplay between the tabla and sitar create a sense of musical magic for the listener. An amazing and unforgettable masterpiece of raga music!
Rahul Sharma, Bhavani Shankar & Shafaat Ahmed Khan
The son of santoor virtuoso, Shiv Kumar Shumar, Rahul Sharma, displays impressive mastery of the santoor on seven long tracks. All tracks relate to various time signatures in Raga Kalavati. Rahul is joined with pakhawaj and tabla. Moreover, Native Signs was recorded at the 2003 Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). Another great album for santoor and dulcimer fans everywhere!
Matthew J. Forss is currently a full-time student at
Lakeland College-Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He is majoring
in Biology and German Language/Culture. Since 1998, he
has collected numerous musical instruments and CDs from
around the world. Also in 1998, he wrote a paper on
Mongolian Ethnomusicology, entitled: How Does Music
Play An Important Role In The Life And Culture Of
Mongolia? Currently, he has collected over 100 CDs that
represent dozens of different countries. His general
interests include ethnomusicology journalism and
researching the traditional/contemporary ethnic music
of various cultures from around the world. His specific,
geographic areas of study include the traditional and
popular music from Central Eurasia (especially Mongolia,
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.) In November of
2000, he accepted the position of writing world music CD
reviews for this site.