Baluji Shrivastav

Classical Indian Ragas

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Originally released in 1994, Classical Indian Ragas from blind sitar master Baluji Shrivastav provides much of the same sounds that are provided in his other albums for ARC. However, this time around he spices up the mix a bit with the inclusion of a pair of additional instruments. While Shrivastav has made plenty of sitar albums, and a couple of surbahar albums, here he plays sitar, surbahar, and dilruba -- at times dubbed over himself to form duets. The ragas chosen are generally gentler ones, from late morning and evening. "Raga Shahana" is the exception here, with an unusual midnight form and a flattened scale (and Shrivastav's inclusion of an alternate tala cycle). The addition of the dilruba in "Raga Jan Sammohini" is a nice surprise that breaks up the sound quite well after the particular length of "Shahana." The interplay between sitar and surbahar in the final song is perhaps the most interesting aspect. By going to a dhun rather than a proper raga, Shrivastav is able to break free of much of the rigor of a full alap, and he uses this to develop the two instruments as supports to one another. Purists may not care for the music here as much as many other albums (then again, true purists may not even care for the surbahar in the first place), but incoming aficionados of Indian classical music should find something to like within the variety presented.

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