Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Carry On Out East!
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dr Raza is a Hindustani musician as classical as they come - supposedly, from the only family still with a tradition of playing the vichitra veena. And you don't doubt it - the instrument is an aquired taste to be sure; even well-reknowned classical masters (no names, of course, can be given) have dismissed it as "the sound of two cats fighting". It makes an infernal sound, due to 1) the screeching of the slide against the rough metal strings, and 2) the chikari, the shrill, high-pitched "rhythm strings", which Dr Raza deploys more vigorously than perhaps any other musician. Both of these sounds completely drown out the melody, so that the alap is drowned out by the slide screeching and the jor, jhalla, and gats are drowned out by the chikari. The disc has one long 63-minute track, rag ahiri, a sunrise rag from Persia. The drumming takes third place to Dr Raza, who in turn takes second place to the infernal sound of the instrument itself. His playing is beautiful, the melodies absolutely gorgeous, but you have to like the vichitra veena, and in my experiments I have learned that who will and won't take this instrument to heart is a matter of extreme unpredictability. If you learn to like it, and I have, the goofy Dr Mustafa Raza from the cover will be transformed into a lovable musician, who always smiles and always looks straight ahead, like on the cover, and you will want to hug him and admire him for his good mood no matter what adversity and his determination to carry on playing an instrument that sounds so terrible that it can't even have been popular in medieval times. Three stars, at the very least!"