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Divinity At Dawn

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Customer Reviews

Very meditative

This album is the recording of a live concert in London where the maestro plays an early morning raga "Bairagi" [also called "Bairagi Bhairav"]. This raga is very devotional and meditative in its quality, with a tinge of ascetic spirit [Bairagi = "Ascetic" in Hindi]. Great recording. Recommended for morning listening sessions.

Original inlay notes

Live at the I.C.A, London; 18th July 1993 Tabla: Anindo Chatterjee PANDIT SHIVKUMAR SHARMA AND THE SANTOOR The santoor is a type of dulcimer or box zither, shaped as a trapezium, whose strings are hammered with a pair of curved wooden sticks. It belongs to a large group of instruments which are found in many parts of Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China, although it was until recently little known in India. The Indian santoor is closely related to the Persian instrument of the same name. It was adopted into Indian classical music via Kashmir, where it is the leading instrument of the Sufiana Kalam ensemble: the agent of this adoption wass of course none other than Pandit Shivkumar Sharma himself. Born in Jammu on January 13th, 1938, Shivkumar Sharma began his training in vocal music and tabla from an early age. He was trained by his father Pandit Umadutt Sharma, a Kashmiri disciple of Pandit ABDe Ramdasji of Benaras. Having been persuaded to take up the santoor, which was not used in Indian classical at that time, Shivkumar Sharma set out to build a career as a concert soloist. After making his first public performance in Bombay in 1955, he continued to make changes to the layout and tuning of the instrument, creating new playing techniques and incorporating much of the rhythmic mastery he had learned as a tabla player into his santoor playing. So successful was this process been that he is now one of India's most popular classical musicians, and his work has been acknowledged with the receipt of the Sangeet Natak Academy Award. His strengths, in addition to his sheer virtuosity, are undoubtedly a highly developed aesthetic sense and a command of rhythm which few musicians could even hope to equal. These strengths are illustrated in the present recording which was recorded live at the I.C.A in London in Jul 1993. His technique is faultless, his rendition of Raga Bairagi evokes the meditative mood of which he speaks in his introduction (Track 1), but the highlight of the performance is a series of complex rhythmic variations in an already difficult taal. In this he is aided by the marvellous tabla accompaniment of Pandi Anindo Chatterjee. Anindo a disciple of the renowned tabla master Jnan Prakash Ghosh, is now one of India's best known and most popular tabla accompanists, a position which the clarity and precision of his playing well mertis. THE MUSIC Raga Bairagi (or Bairagi Bhairav) is a recent creation combining elements of Bhairav and Sarang. Like both its parent ragas, Bairagi is performed in the morning. It uses an unusual five-note scale, with Re and Ni komal (2 & 7 flat) and Ga and Dha (3 & 6) are omitted. (Sa in this recording is approximately D). Shivkumar Sharma begins the recital with a suitably peaceful and meditative alap (track 2), moving on to the more rhythmic jor and jhala (tracks 3 & 4). The first composition, marked by the introduction of Anindo's tabla, is the nine-beat rhythmic cycle matta taal, a rare rhythmic cycle in which both of these musicians excel (track 5). The core of the composition is a simple four note ascending phase, Pa Ni Sa Re, the last of the four landing on sam. As one would expect, this presentation included some delightful examples of Shivkumar Sharma's gift for laykari. In one instance (from about 4' on track 5), he sets up a pattern comprising groups of 5 strokes - difficult enough to keep track of in a 9-beat meter - and then proceeds to repeat the pattern increasing the speed to 3 strokes per beat (derhgun). A few minutes later he somehow manages to fit a seven-stroke pattern into the 9 beat cycle four times (you do the maths: it shouldn't really work, but it does!). This provides great inspiration for tabla improvization, and Anindo doesn't disappoint us with his solo breaks. The matta taal gat is just the first of three, as the soloist moves on to medium fast teen taal (16 beats, the cycle around 5 seconds in duration), and from there to a fast ek taal (12 beats, about half the duration per cycle), tracks 6 and 7 respectively. (c) Martin Clayton


at 1st i tossed music like this out the window, but then i actually listened to it and this artist is very good. it sets the mood for the day whether u have school, work , or a day of sitting around the house listening to indian music like this. buy it u will not b disappointed!


Born: January, 1938 in Jammu, Kashmir

Genre: World

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

Shivkumar Sharma is one of the truly great visionaries in the Hindustani classical music firmament. His popularity has created a knotty problem for his admirers. Popularity has led to a demand for recordings by him, to a degree that having a Shivkumar Sharma album acts like a kind of validation for a label. Consequently the market is flooded with his recordings. His playing is consummate,...
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Divinity At Dawn, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Asia
  • Released: Jan 24, 2006

Customer Ratings