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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Allan Evans
Published February 17, 2006

Raga Malkauns
India Archive Music

Raga Ramkali
India Archive Music

India Archive Music has extended its coverage of ongoing traditions by probing into two bygone styles. Bose represents the rarely heard style represented by his teacher, the late Mushtaq Ali Khan, who died in 1989, the year of this recording. Khan played the sitar in a manner prevalent in the period before Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan arose. Khan left one LP (sometimes found on cassette) so there is very little of the playing from this earlier era to be heard. It is characterized by melodic fragments and a sparing use of the left-hand ornaments which Shankar's teacher and the dhrupad styles encouraged. To hear it in extended works is a unique and compelling experience, as Bose is a fine artist. Kalyani Roy is a pioneer, as the first prominent woman sitarist in a profession that shunned women practitioners. Her lineage goes back to the father of Vilayat Khan, which became transformed by the work of the brothers Vilayat and Imrat Khan. Roy's artistry, therefore, is a closer view of the earlier style that thrived until the 1930s. India Archive has provided elaborate and extensively researched texts that will reward those who seek further knowledge of the music and its interpretation.