New Reviews: July 26, 2004

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss

Talvin Singh & Rakesh Chaurasia
Sona Rupa

The classical music of North India meets modern sound technology on Vira (Brotherhood). Tabla maestro, Talvin Singh, offers his drumming techniques and electronic know-how to create an atmospheric, yet energetic album of contemporary Indian music. Rakesh Chaurasia, a renowned Bansuri flute player from India, adds contemplative flute stylings that ultimately draw in the listener. Overall, five long classical raags (defined melodic structures) from North and South India are performed in a contemporary setting. A "Best Pick" album for fans of contemporary, instrumental Indian music!

Various Artists
Sacred Mantras Of India
Sona Rupa

The ancient practice of sacred chanting is one of the world’s oldest vocal tradition. Sacred Mantras Of India continues in that tradition. Rakesh Chaurasia (flute), Sunil Das (sitar) and Bhavani Shankar (pakhawaj) are responsible for the instrumentation for the mantras (verses). Other instruments include guitar, tanpura and keyboards. Also, meditative vocals are present on most of the tracks. Love, life and peace are all general connotations moralized by the sung mantras. Five raags (Bhatiyar), (Parmeshwari), (Bilawal), (Gorakh Kalyan) and (Bhairavi) are all explored on Sacred Mantras Of India. Another high quality recording from Sona Rupa. A welcome addition to any mantra fan or contemporary Indian music aficionado!

Various Artists
Eternity: The Soul Of India
Sona Rupa

The music of North India is showcased in the Mind/Body/Soul collection from Sona Rupa on Eternity: The Soul Of India. Various musicians including Rakesh Chaurasia, Rupak Kullkarni, Sunil Das, Ustad Liyakat Ali, Bhavani Shankar, Jayantilal Gosher, Ulhas Bapat and others, brings us music from Punjab, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Many popular folk instruments in the repertoire are the shehnai, tabla, sarangi, sitar, guitar, santoor, flute, bass, dholak, and also the keyboard and vibraphone. All of the tracks are fairly buoyant, yet very meditative and instrumental. A truly wonderful album that energizes the mind, body and soul!

Daniel Thonon
Master Of The Diatonic Accordion
Arc Music

A native of Belgium and world traveler, Daniel Thonon, plays the diatonic accordion. Daniel performs traditional tunes, waltzes, marches, reels and medieval or early music renderings - all on accordion. However, other musicians accompany Daniel on drums, keyboards, harpsichord, Irish flute, guitar, double bass, bagpipes, recorder and piano. All tunes are composed and performed as folk music, with beautiful, flowing melodies. Each track is instrumental, but Daniel lends his vocals on the final track. Overall, Daniel Thonon is truly a ‘master of the diatonic accordion.’ A must-have for accordion fans everywhere! An informative booklet in English, French, Spanish and German translations is included.

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.