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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


By Robert Kaye

Raga: Rasa
Traditional Crossroads

Following the revered footsteps of sitarist Ravi Shankar and sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan, who were virtual superstars along the time of India’s independence in 1947, here Kartik Seshadri, sitar, and Bikram Ghosh, tabla, continue the duet raga presentation known as jugalbandi. Seshadri is recognized as one of the foremost disciples of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Seshadri began performing full-length recitals at the age of six; a child prodigy, no doubt. Bikram Ghosh has been, for the past decade, the accompanist of Pandit Shankar, also a testament to his reputed talents. Recorded in concert at Oberlin College, together, Seshadri and Ghosh explore the ragas of Jog, Bahar and Mishra Piloo. Bilaskhani Todi was recorded in a small church the following morning. As is expected with musicians of such enormous talent of Seshadri/Ghosh, this double live album is an excellent exponent of Hindustani Indian classical music. The recording is crystalline throughout, capturing the nuances of the sitar’s “woody” sounds and the overtone rhythms of the tabla. Pedagogic liner notes by George E. Ruckert, along with comments by Seshadri, complement the album’s preeminence.