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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

Arati Ankalikar + Purbayan Chatterjee

By Robert Kaye
Published August 1, 2005

Arati Ankalikar
Anjali
Sense World Music

Purbayan Chatterjee
Nirman
Sense World Music

World Sense Music, a new U.K.-based label, has begun to make an impressive impact on the global music scene. Initially focusing on studio and in-concert recordings from extremely talented classical Indian artists, the label plans to present East/West fusion projects as well. Currently recognized as one of the principal female classical Indian vocalists today, Arati Ankalikar's performances are marked by her excellent command of rhythm and melody. On Anjali, recorded at the Saptak Festival 2003, she is accompanied by harmonium, sarangi and tabla. For those whose only exposure to Indian music is through Bollywood soundtracks or some of today's excellent fusion projects, Ankalikar's vocal style may require some serious acclimation, particularly by Westerners unaccustomed to hearing such pyrotechnics. For those likewise unfamiliar to concentrating on music's percussive elements, particularly the sophistication, form and techniques of tabla playing, "Gurukul" may be initially too esoteric. Notwithstanding, both father (guru) and son (disciple) both perform brilliantly throughout the concert. Particularly stirring is when the two employ cross rhythms (layakari) of seven and nine beats against four, further displaying Indian music's keen perception of rhythm. More accessible, perhaps because of its improvisatory and sonic nature, is Nirman. Throughout this studio recording, sitarist Purbayan Chatterjee and tabla player Satyajit Talwalkar astoundingly articulate command of their respective instruments. The two are masters at the sawal-jawab (question and answer), in which the musicians trade solos with gusto. All of the CD'J liner notes are informative and graphically attractive.