Devjyoti Bose is the younger brother of the great tabla master Kumar Bose. He has established himself as one of the finest of the younger generation of sarod players. Recorded live at 2001's Saptak Festival, Devotion is made up of two takes on the traditional, with "Raag Malkauns," one of the six primary ragas in the Indian classical repertoire. There are just five notes that make up this raga; its skeletal frame is ideal for late nights and evokes meditative emotional responses. As in all raga playing, this melodic series is created and recreated in ascending and descending order, first in the alap section where a pulse is set by tablas played by Sandeep Das, then by the drone strings of the sarod itself. As the section progresses, themes and variations are left to drift, improvisation takes over, and tempos change wildly. On the second section, their two instruments are locked harmonically and rhythmically, each mimicking the other's lyrical ideas, and the pace is much more leisurely but also devastatingly intricate and purposeful. Devotion is a solid date, one that offers listeners a rare chance to hear the process between the two instrumentalists develop according to improvisational and tonal logic as much as spiritual passion.
by Thom Jurek