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Voices from the Heart

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Album Review

The debut offering from the Sense World Music label is by jugalbandi masters and brothers Rajan & Sajan Misra. The jugalbandi is a classical Hindustan vocal duet form; it is notable because it concentrates on the more abstract values in a song rather than on its literal text. There are two raags (ragas) here, recorded live at an afternoon session of the Saptak Festival. The first piece, over 45-minutes long, is a devotional piece to the Hindu goddess of music and learning, Sarawswati. As is usual, the two singers begin traditionally in the ektaal rhythm of 12 beats, slowly building and winding their voices and instrumental accompaniment — sarangi, sarod, and tablas — and creating a tenser dynamic that explodes from the tradition in the emerging tintaal (16 beats) rhythm. Here is where they begin to stretch both sung phrases and linguistic utterances, and the instrumental accompaniment becomes ever more forceful before winding down once more at the conclusion. It's just stunning. The second raag is another devotional piece in bhajan. "Raag Shrivranjani" is constructed in Rupak taal, a rhythmic architecture cycle of seven beats with a more languid and lilting tempo. Here is where the silences become an interwoven part of the composition, and gently float and hover for nearly half-an-hour. As beautiful and moving as the performance is, there is something to be said for sound quality, as well: it is warm and full, and captures the subtle dynamic shifts in the music without dropping the live ambience. The package, despite a rather new age-looking cover, has expert notes on the process of the music being performed and educates well. What an auspicious beginning.

Voices from the Heart, Rajan & Sajan Mishra
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Asia
  • Released: 2002

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