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India's Master Musicians

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Album Review

A release from Ravi Shankar's personal label, this album is part of a small series of recordings of the true masters of Indian classical music. (Other artists on the label include Shankar himself and Hariprasad Chaurasia.) Here, the acknowledged master of the carnatic violin tradition is presented in tandem with the master of the tabla. Together, they perform a grandiose version of "Raga Dharmavati." In a slight twist of the usual, the recording was actually made in a church in California. The acoustics are perfect nonetheless, with the tones of the violin fading away, true to the ways in which Subramaniam is attempting. The rhythmic accompaniment by Alla Rakha is also superb. There are a million albums of Indian classical music out there that are worth hearing, and this is another one sitting toward the top of the heap. Pick it up as a fan of the genre or of either of the players. For a newcomer to the genre, something slightly less imposing might be a better way to start (such as the Raga Guide), but this still isn't an album to be missed by Indian classical fans in any way.

Biography

Born: 23 July 1947 in Madras, India

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A gifted South Indian counterpart of Jean-Luc Ponty on the electric violin, and endlessly curious about all kinds of music, Subramaniam has been a pioneer in exploring intelligent fusions between European classical music, American jazz, rock, and South Indian music. His father, a master Indian violinist, and mother, who played the Indian vina, were his first musical influences, and after abandoning a career in medicine, he formed a violin trio with his two brothers while still in India. He toured...
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India's Master Musicians, L. Subramaniam
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