Rahul Sakyaputra

Live Concerts in Los Angeles, Vol. 1

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This is the first volume in a series of three discs documenting duo concerts performed sometime in the early '90s by Indian sitar master Rahul Sakyaputra and world music percussionist Ron Wagner (here on tabla). Sadly, details as to the date and location of this recording (and the other two) are not disclosed. Sakyaputra begins with a ten-minute solo, a slow meditation on the "alaap" of the "Raag Hemant." The main part of this raga, "Vilambit Tin Taal," is given a powerful treatment, Wagner springing into action, displaying a forceful hand slap uncommon to this meditative music. After 22 minutes, the pair segues straight into "Raag Mishra Khamaj," a fast-paced, condensed raga that continues building to a frenzy until the short catharsis at its very end. Sakyaputra's soloing dexterity gets a brilliant showcase. This CD ends with Wagner performing a 27-beat "Nakshatra Taal" accompanied by prerecorded flute melody and keyboard. This intrusion of technology in an otherwise very traditional concert makes for an awkward conclusion. If not for that, Live Concerts in Los Angeles, Vol. 1 would have been the best concert in the series. It remains one of the more satisfying examples of Sakyaputra's playing, especially for the period following his beautiful 1990 release, Nirvana.

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