T.V. Gopalakrishan

Eastern Beats

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A pair of tracks from T.V. Gopalakrishnan, a master of the mridangam, a two-sided hand drum used primarily in Carnatic (South Indian) classical music. Here, Gopalakrishnan performs a solo in Adi Tala with a couple of variations here and there, as well as a duet with someone on the ghatam (a water pot-drum). The speed and articulation that he uses are both stunning in their own rights. What would make this a slightly more enjoyable album is the inclusion of a primary melodic instrument (yes, the mridangam does provide for melody through different strokes, but Indian string and wind instruments can still surpass it by far with the addition of glissando). For fans of Indian percussion, this would be a worthy addition to mridangam collections, as the tabla is generally the representative of the arts at this point. Other than that, one might do better to find a vocal album that utilizes a master mridangam player as an accompanist instead.