Kala Ramnath & Ganesh Iyer: Raga Ahir Bhairav / Charka Vaham
Raga Ahir Bhairav / Charka Vaham
Samaya (Sense World Music 102)
Recorded: Sanjaya, Gujarat, India, no date given (CD released in 2008)
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
This collaboration between two leading Indian violinists is itself a fusion of contrasting musical cultures. North Indian Kala Ramnath and her counterpart from the South, Ganesh Iyer, bring with them their respective Hindustani and Carnatic musical traditions, beautifully merged in this 40-minute performance. The opening section "Alap" is an improvisation in free tempo, starting in the lower register and gradually ascending in a dialogue that gains passion as it progresses, but never loses its centering focus. The following section falls into more structured time, and the pace accelerates in the concluding moments of this morning raga. Throughout, Ramnath and Iyer demonstrate their rich singing tones and distinctive phrasing, a sliding calculus of tone color which moves as smoothly as a skater on pristine ice. In a world of musical sound bites, this recording takes its time and rewards listeners willing to do the same.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia