Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Pop
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Unique recording from a virtuoso
Ragamala | UK | 01/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ram Narayan is acknowledged as the greatest exponent of the sarangi. He is a formidable virtuoso of this notoriously difficult instrument, and his technique is spectacular and unmatched.This performance dates from 1987, but is still, to my knowledge, unique in presenting a recording of sarangi at the length of over 73 minutes, ie approaching concert length for a single raga. More remarkably, although this is a studio recording, the sleeve notes tell us this was played without edits or retakes, and this adds a special dimension to the atmosphere of the performance.The uninterrupted format gives the opportunity to hear a leisurely and detailed exposition of the raga, and this is the best insight you will get outside of the concert hall into Ram Narayan's musical and technical virtuosity. The raga - Lalit - is itself a difficult raga to perform and communicate. It has an unusual tone material or scale, and although it does not convey all its beauty at first meeting it has considerable serenity and charm.In this performance a lengthy alap leads down and up the sarangi's registers until it almost imperceptably converts to a jor. The pulse of the jor is often hidden by the dramatic sweep of the tans which are Ram Narayan's trademark. After almost 45 minutes we have the tabla entry, and the performance continues in a slow beautiful teental bandish. Ram Narayan constructs variations of ever increasing complexity, with increasing length and speed of improvisation. His control and accuracy are staggering as he brings the recording to a close. Suresh Tawalkar on tabla provides a sensitive accompaniment and when invited contributes some fine solo work. A pity only that the length of a cd doesn't permit a further medium or fast gat!This is maybe not the best introduction to sarangi for those unfamilar with the instrument. Ram Narayan's style is always superbly controlled, never flamboyant and audience-wooing like that of some lesser players. This can make his playing sometimes seem austere at first hearing. But this disc will repay repeated listening, and at each listening admiration for his playing will grow.A minor criticism is that this is not one of Nimbus Record's best CDs soundwise, the studio ambience dulling the sparkle of the sarangi and the crispness of the tabla, but this is a small price to pay for the unique nature of the recording."