Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Orpheus | on the road | 11/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just have to admit it... I love every recording of N. Rajam I have ever heard. It all began on a languid sunscorched day in Udaypur, some years ago. I was exploring the city to find a much coveted tape of Zakir Hussain performing with his father Ustad Alla Rakha (Maestro's Choice-the extremely difficult to obtain, yet legendary series of Music Today).
As I walked into a bustling music dealer I saw on top of the display a Maestro's choice tape of N. Rajam. As I knew little else of Indian violin than L. Shankar's great recordings for ECM I was eager to try something more 'traditional'. Well... to make a long story somewhat shorter. I ended up spending most of the next few weeks completely immersed in N. Rajam's musical realm...
This is a live recording made at the Saptak Musical festival in Ahmedabad 2001. It mainly features the profound and mystical night Rag Malkauns and some shorter renditions of Rag Khamaj, a very epic Nilambari and finally Rag Bhairvai.
There is something about Indian Nights, impossible to describe, perhaps best left to the strings and bow of N. Rajam. One of the most obvious qualities of her sound is the fact that it has a mystical, yet at the same time very visceral, sensuous quality. It has the power to manifest an incredible array of textures: very profound and ageless in the low registers, velvety sweet ambrosial in the high registers - allways lyrical, allways dancing...
It makes me forget about my immediate surroundings...literally - inducing a state of wakeful dreaming within seconds as I start to listen, every muscle of my body relaxes... after a while it almost feels like floating... some people have made the observation that her equisite use of glissandi sounds like whales communicating underwater... One could argue this is not music in a conventional sense, rather a submerging into the deeper layers of Original Sound, slowly weaving them into a Music, Celestial.
Apart from her complete mastery of the technical aspects of violin playing, she is India's great pioneer and torch-bearer of Gayaki Ang (singing style) on her instrument. Her mellifluous tone, elegant phrasing and uncanny imagination make one of the most emotive and mysterious versions of Malkauns I have ever heard.
Around twenty minutes into the performance she ventures into some of the most soulful and 'funky' playing in Classical Indian Music...
As the pace picks up in the teental, the music starts to gain momentum and unveils the epic dimensions immanent in Malkauns. Towards the end of the performance N. Rajam's phrasing evokes such brilliance and lustre to the story of Malkauns, such lyrical pleading, the stars themselves seem to start dancing to her irresistable candence.
Saying that N. Rajam is one of the foremost musicians of our century is an understatement, she is a visionary and her musical language is the same as that of Bach, Coltrane and Ali Akbar Khan.
If you want to see N. Rajam playing - to get an idea what I am talking about, there is a scintillating performance of Miyan ki Todi by N. Rajam on Youtube."