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Superb double album

The Sufi mystic Rumi is said to have played the flute to create ecstatic states, whirling to join heaven and earth in love. The Hindu god Krishna, both great god of the universe and shepherd boy attracted his followers through blissful melodies played on his bansuri (bamboo flute). Also known as 'venu', the Indian flute is depicted in the Buddhist art of more than 2,000 years ago, and is mentioned in the ancient Vedic texts. According to one Sanskrit verse the bansuri is the source of swarajnana - the knowledge of music. For hundreds of years this simple bamboo instrument has been an important feature in Indian folk culture, but its introduction into Indian Classical Music was mostly due to the endeavours of Pannalal Ghosh as recent as the mid part of the twentieth century. He was responsible for adapting khayal, the North Indian vocal style, into flute playing as well as introducing technical amendments to make the instrument more suitable for classical music. However, it is Hariprasad Chaurasia who has played the leading role in transforming the bansuri into a worldwide phenomenon. As well as introducing innovative fingering and blowing techniques, he has increased the repertoire of the flute recital by the introduction of jor and jhalla adopted from the ancient vocal tradition of dhrupad. Hariprasad Chaurasia was born into a family of wrestlers in Allahabad, India. Young HariPrasad began training as a wrestler until one day he innocently picked up the bansuri, a single event that changed the entire course of his life as well as the history of music. He then blossomed under the tutelage of maestros like Raja Ramji, Pandit Bholanath and finally Guru Annapoorna Devi, the daughter of the famous Ustad Allauddin Khan and the sister of Ali Akbar Khan. Over the course of his career he has dedicated much of his time to the furtherance of Indian classical music worldwide creating schools of music based on traditional forms of teaching, in India, USA and Holland. In 2000, his services to Indian culture was recognised when the President of India bestowed upon him the title of Padma Vibhushan, one of the highest civilian honours that can be awarded to an Indian national. This concert performance was recorded on January 2003, at the Saptak Festival in Gujarat, India, where HariPrasad Chaurasia has been a regular performer since this annual musical celebration began some twenty five years ago. He begins his recital with Raga Jaijavanti, an evening melody which has been a great favourite of many vocal masters of the past including Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. For Indian classical music instrumentalists, vocal music is an important reference point; the phrases played are articulated as if sung. The mood of the raga is melancholic and romantic, its complex structure placing great technical demands on the performer, making it a raga that can be approached by only the more seasoned Indian musicians. The performance begins with the traditional alap, a slow, meditative elaboration of the main phrases of the raga played in a free improvised style. In instrumental music and dhrupad, the alap is followed by jor and jhalla, with the introduction of a gentle tempo. For this part of the performance HariPrasad Chaurasia is accompanied by Bhavani Shankar on the pakhawaj, an ancient, majestic sounding barrel shaped drum. Bhavani Shankar is the most prominent pakhawaj player in India today, and has been successful in exposing the instrument to a wider audience through his collaborations with artists like Zakir Hussain. Throughout the jor and jhalla he playfully follows the rhythmic phrasing of the flute with expert precision. The second half of the recital begins with the popular Raga Jog, an evening raga which has emerged as a favourite with both artists and listeners over the last fifty years. Hariprasad begins with a short alap, before playing a composition set to a nine beat rhythmic cycle (Matta taal) played by Vijay Ghate on the tabla. Vijay Ghate is considered by vocalists, instrumentalists and classical dancers as one of the best of the younger generation tabla players of India. A disciple of Suresh Talwalkar, Vijay is known for clarity, accuracy, and purity in his rendering of various complicated tabla compositions. Throughout the recital Hariprasad alternates the main line of the melody with a great variety of improvised phrases many of which are playfully imitated by the tabla player. The recital finishes with a light classical dhun played in the charming Raga Pahadi, a melody associated with the beauty of the valleys and mountains in Punjab. Accompanied by both tabla and pakhawaj, Hariprasad switches to a shorter flute for the concluding section, allowing him to play with ease in the upper octave. John Ball

Biography

Born: July 1, 1938 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India

Genre: World

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

With his virtuousic blowing technique, Hariprasad Chaurasia has turned the Bansuri (bamboo) flute into an instrument of beauty. Blending the musical traditions of India with imagination and innovation, Chaurasia has reached beyond classical music to create a sound of his own. Presented with the national award of the Sangeet Natak Academy in 1984, Chaurasia received the Gaurav Puraskar from the state government of Maharashtra, India in 1990, the Padma Bhushan and the Konarak Samman in 1992 and the...
Full Bio
Shikhar, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
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  • $19.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Asia
  • Released: 2004

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