On January 31, 1968, Indian traditionalist Zia Mohiuddin Dagar recorded two takes of an extended 45-minute raga titled "Raga Gangeyabushan." One take was released on LP in the late '60s, but in 2001, Sweden's Amigo label devoted this CD to the other one. Originally, the piece was released as "Raga Mangeyabushan," but Amigo has since learned that the correct title is "Raga Gangeyabushan." Whatever the title, this is a very soulful and haunting raga. Forming a duo with tamboura player K. Sridhar, Dagar sticks to the instrument that he is best known for: the vina (which is sometimes spelled veena). The vina is the top string instrument in South India's Carnatic school of traditional Indian music (as opposed to North India's Hindustani school), and Dagar is quite expressive on it. Although Dagar is equally proficient on the sitar, he has played the vina on most of his recordings. Some people might be surprised to learn that "Raga Gangeyabushan" was produced by three Swedes: Johan Månsson, Göran Petersson, and jazz drummer Bengt Berger (who is also the engineer), but one doesn't have to be from India to seriously appreciate the country's rich culture. When the other take of this two-part raga was released on LP in the late '60s, the two parts were heard on different sides of the record. But on compact disc, "Raga Gangeyabushan" is heard as an uninterrupted 45-minute performance -- no one will have to get up and flip the record after the first part. This CD is easily recommended to lovers of traditional vina playing.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson