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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Jill Ettinger
Published November 21, 2005

Dunya 8058

It’s entirely possible that the most beautiful pieces of music on Earth are Indian ragas. The word “raga” comes from the Sanskrit word “ranj” meaning “to color,” which is precisely what this non-linear music does. The complex arrangements may seem comparable to Western music-organization methods like melody and scale, but they aren’t really. Raga is one of those human phenomena that simply are. Things naturally develop over time and as it happens, tradition imparts discipline, which propels forms like raga into an unrivaled craft of accuracy and intimacy. Understanding the tradition and delving into it with obvious intensity, sitarist Subroto Roy Chowdhury dives deep into the meaning of this music with help from violinist Madhuri Chattopadhyay and tabla player(Indian clay hand drums) Sankha Chatterjee. One must listen to ragas not with intellect but with emotion, for they are translations of something beyond the realm of ordinary thought. It is, as Chowdhury appropriately titles this record Sanjog, a fusion of worlds, meeting here in the human form but melting into the universe. Sanjog is an exceptional addition to the history of human expression.