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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion


By Allison Davis
Published September 23, 2005

Urban Turban

Certain ragas are said to have magical powers, especially when performed flawlessly.  If this is true, then the Toronto-based, multi-culturally comprised group Tasa certainly evokes the spirits on their third release, Urban Turban. The disc features a collection of vocal and instrumental special guests, including Dhurba Ghosh, son of Nikhil Ghosh, the tabla master and Tasa composer Ravi Naimpally’s guru. The younger Ghosh guests on Sarangi, a rare fiddle from North India; its degree of difficulty is only matched by its luminous sound. Tasa embarks in a new direction from other albums, engaging many diverse styles and influences in a rousing discussion spanning 11 songs, including Bollywood, traditional North Indian, dub and American folk. The result is an amalgam of traditional melodies which sets the stage for improvisational music making at its best. “Vishwakarma” coquettishly seduces its listener, while “Tani” simultaneously flirts with urban funk and a far eastern bebop. Despite, or perhaps because of this medley, all songs seamlessly blend to form a sound that remains solid straight through the record.