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Music of Southern India

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Album Review

A fair album of Carnatic music, spanning the realm of song and dance forms well for a single disc. The focus in Music of Southern India is clearly on breadth, covering different forms and styles one after another. The Rang Puhar Carnatic Group is based around the able violin of Srinath Iyer and the mridangam playing of K.N. Venkiteswaran, along with vocals provided by Vrunda Shukla from time to time. The instrumentation is relatively standard for Carnatic music, though a bit sparse in feel at times. Rather oddly, the album begins with a traditional closing song in "Tillana [Raga Aarabhi]," before moving into a series of prayers and varnam compositions. As the album progresses, the energy rises bit by bit, culminating in an extended and outstanding workout on the mridangam by Venkiteswaran with some ten minutes of improvisation. The performance quality bounces up and down a bit throughout the album's course, but realistically Carnatic music is somewhat underrepresented in the Indian music realm (perhaps due to the extreme popularity of Hindustani figures like Ravi Shankar in the past) and the album makes a nice addition to the collection of a curious listener as a result.

Music of Southern India, Rang Puhar Carnatic Group
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