Rahul Sakyaputra

Live Concerts in Los Angeles, Vol. 2

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The second of three volumes of concerts recorded in unknown locations during the early '90s, this CD is also the best. The performance by Rahul Sakyaputra (sitar) and Ron Wagner (tabla) is spirited, uplifting, classical in its approach but vibrant with life and relevance. Most of the disc is devoted to "Raag Charukeshi." After a dreamy sitar introduction (the "alaap") that delicately sets the mood of the piece, the musicians begin to develop the melodic and rhythmic material, slowly building variations of increasing density and speed (although the tempo itself doesn't change). This second movement ("Vilambit Tin Taal"), 20 minutes long, induces a state of trance in the listener. The buildup bursts into a frenzy in the last movement ("Drut Tin Taal & Jhala"), Sakyaputra and Wagner exchanging pattern variations over the canvas of the traditional composition. You can feel the sweat in their palms as the piece comes to an end. To round up the set, they perform a movement from "Raag Bhairavi," more laid-back and contemplative, a perfect way to calm down spirits fired up by what came before. The good sound quality makes this CD a prime example of Sakyaputra's classical music playing.

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