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World Music CD Reviews South Asia


Published June 5, 2006

Morning Mantra

Recorded in concert at Sunny Towers, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Morning Mantra features the uncommon vocal talents of Ustad Rashid Khan, accompanied by Pandit Ramesh Mishra, sarangi; Yogesh Samsi, tabla; and Jyoti Goho, harmonium.  There are only three tracks, the musicians patiently expostulating the raga within its melodic parameters and rhythmic cycles. The first track, “Raga Bhatiyar in Marwa Raga,” alternating between both pentatonic and heptatonic scales, clocks in at just over 30 minutes. Khan is a master vocalist of exceptional talent; of that there’s no doubt. Yet, for those unfamiliar with traditional Indian vocal music, this album may be a bit of stretch. Despite its compelling artistry, most likely this album will be better appreciated by those already familiar with traditional Hindustani music.