Rahul Sakyaputra


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This album of Indian ragas (California-style) was recorded in 1990, sunk with the record label Thor shortly after, and was reissued by Zemira days before Rahul Sakyaputra's fatal heart attack on November 17, 2002. Of all the archive tapes and odd material about the sitar player Zemira has unearthed in the course of the previous two years, Nirvana is the jewel of the crown. An excellent-sounding studio production, it pairs Sakyaputra with Sheri Luttrell on tambura and Pranesh Khan on tabla. Sakyaputra is not a flashy musician; his music breathes, which makes it speak better. "Raga Mishra Gara" is a morning piece in eight beats and a half. The soloist strays far from the fundamental drone in some places, but the piece always retains its sense of serenity. In "Raga Bhairwi," an evening raga in 13 beats, Sakyaputra keeps things more conventional, throwing in some very inspired lines. This time it is Khan who steals the spotlight, his creative variations on the rhythmic pattern keeping the piece in a constant state of flux. Each piece is presented in two parts of 14 or 15 minutes. Why? Were the fade-outs and fade-ins necessary? They are reasonably tasteful, but the purpose they serve escapes this reviewer.

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