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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Robert Kaye
Published January 24, 2006

Raag Malkauns, Bombay 1968
Country & Eastern

In conversation between the rudra veena and voice, Zia Mohuiddin Dagar and vocalist Fariduddin Dagar, respectively, explore here a late night raga, raag malkauns. The two brothers were brought up in the same tradition and trained under the same guru, Ustad Ziaddin Daggar, which accounts for their near sympathetic musical abilities. Z.M. often states a phrase on the veena, while his brother, singing at times in a low bass register, emulates it with his voice, sounding similar to some of the Tuvan throat singing popular today, sans the overtones. Like other releases on Country & Eastern, this sounds very much like an ethnomusicological field recording; no effort was made to “clean up” the tracks or minimize any extramusical sounds, adding to its sense of authenticity. Z.M.’s veena is highly expressive; despite the age of the recording, it was captured well here. Its frequent pondering ruminations sound similar to a fretless bass, evincing the weight of the raag. Listeners, including those not well acquainted with Indian classical music, will readily sense why raag malkauns is reserved for the late night hours.