Legendary sitar-player Ravi Shankar is undoubtedly the subcontinent’s most famous musician. On the raga‘Megh’ (‘cloud’), he summons rainclouds on the sitar’s bass-voiced cousin, the surbahar, before switching to sitar to produce the sound of rainfall. Over the course of her career Asha Bhosle has recorded an astonishing tally of some 13,000 songs and sung playback for generations of leading actresses. Written by the celebrated R.D. Burman and the lyricist Gulzar, ‘Katra Katra’ is from the film Ijaazat (1987), and showcases Asha’s exceptional vocal artistry and features her harmonizing with herself. The older sister of Asha and one of India’s greatest vocalists in her own right, Lata Mangeshkar is one of the most popular playback singers of our age. ‘Man Dole Mera Tan Dole’ was a major song in her early career and is taken from the box-office hit film Nagin(1954).
Shivkumar Sharma and Zakir Hussain are two of India’s finest, most intuitive and most innovative musicians. ‘Tilang’ is a sublime spontaneous composition and a night-to-early-hours raga and features Zakir on the tabla(a double hand drum) and Shivkumar on a modified Kashmiri folk zither called the santoor.
Seeta Doraiswamy is the jalatharangam’s (a half-ring of tuned, water-filled porcelain bowls, struck by bamboo sticks to sound the notes) foremost female virtuoso and ‘Vatapi Ganapatim’ is a song of praise to Lord Ganesh. On ‘Helo Mharo Suno’, one of Rajasthan’s most illustrious musical sons Vishwa Mohan Bhatt plays a modified acoustic guitar in a bhajan-like mélange of devotional, folk and Hindustani classical-inflected elements.
The Rough Guide To The Music Of India serves up a dozen dishes from the country’s greatest traditional andexperimental kitchen in the hope that, once tasted and relished, such flavours linger on the palate and cannever be untasted. The music of Grammy nominated artist Debashish Bhattacharya can also be explored on the bonus disc.
Bonus Artist Album by Debashish Bhattacharya
After receiving a Grammy nomination and BBC World Music Award, Indian slide-guitarist Pandit (master) Debashish Bhattacharya delivers a remarkable selection of sublime tracks, recorded live at an all-night concert in Calcutta. Previously unreleased, the pieces in this mesmerizing performance are played on unique slide-guitars that are designed and developed by Debashish himself.