Various Artists

Anthology of World Music: North Indian Classical Music

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The box set Anthology of World Music: North Indian Classical Music consists of all four volumes in the North Indian Classical Music series on Rounder (originally on Barenreiter Musicaphon), previously issued as separate discs. Included is an extensive and informative booklet of the combined original liner notes, which overviews the different instruments and performers, brief individual track descriptions, and more, resulting in a box set that is not only an interesting and varied listen, but also very educational, making it a great place to start for listeners interested in checking out North Indian classical music. Despite the daunting task of representing this musical tradition in a mere four discs, the collection does a good job with the space that it has. Disc one focuses on vocal music and contains sections of the Raga Ahir Bhairava, the Raga Sujani Malhar, and Raga Bhairavi, with featured singers: brothers Zahiruddin and Faiyazuddin Dagar (on two tracks), Yunus Hussain Khan, and Dipali Nag. The vocal music theme continues into the first two ragas of the second disc, with singers Lakshmi Shankar and Siddheshwari Devi, followed by two selections featuring vina (once dubbed the "stick zither") and sarangi (India's main bowed string instrument) musicians Sabri Khan and Asad Ali Khan, respectively. The string instruments are not solo, however, but accompanied by tabla and pakhavaj. There is a short pakhavaj solo piece, followed by two tabla solos that close the second volume of North Indian Classical Music. Part three focuses on string instruments and features Arvind Parikh on sitar during Raga Marva, followed by surashringar (an eight-string, picked instrument) player Sulalit Sinha and surbahar (large sitar) player Manfred Junius showcased during Raga Miyanki Malhar. The closing piece on this volume features Gopal Krishna on the vichitra vina (a fretless vina). The final disc is split between string and wind instruments, with featured musicians Ashok Roy on sarod, Om Prakash Sharma on dilruba (a more modern bowed instrument), flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia, and shahnai (Indian oboe) players Kali Charan and Hiralal.

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