Monday, September 17, 2012

Rash Behari Datta, Master of the Indian Sitar

Rash Behari Datta, as regular readers might recall, gave us a rather remarkable CD of ragas arranged for 20 sitars. He returns in a more conventional guise as the single soloist on Master of the Indian Sitar (ARC Music 2401).

For this date Datta has chosen a lengthy exposition on Raga Bilaskhani Todi, and a somewhat shorter one for Raga Mishra-Bhairavi. He is nicely seconded on tabla by Sanju Sahai.

This is not a disk of pyrotechical brilliance a la Banerjee or Shankar. It is a good exposition of the alap (out-of-tempo prelude) for each raga, followed by some elaborate GATs (compositional motifs) around which Datta improvises. The disk conveys a very strong mood and as such is a delight. Datta however does not establish himself here (and probably does not wish to do so) as a world-class virtuoso so much as a subtle exponent of the tradition.

The sound is very good too.

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