Tanjur Viswanathan

Pallavi: South Indian Flute Music

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This album was part of the first waves of world music releases on the budget Nonesuch label, allowing many penny-pinching music explorers a chance to acquire a taste for a wide range of musical adventures. In this case, it is the tale of South Indian flute music and a pairing of three classical Indian music virtuosos. Many fans of violinist L. Shankar still find this early performance among his best, with the brothers T. Viswanathan on flute and T. Ranganathan on clay mrdangam drums giving him a chase that would leave the fast fingers of John McLaughlin in a knot. It is the blend of the flute and violin that makes this recording so all-enveloping, and it was a sound that was unfamiliar to western audiences upon the album's initial release. Back then, listeners expected all Indian music to be played on the buzzing sitar. What a delight to hear ragas played on the flute, with a sound and tone that threatens (and on occasion more than threatens) to take out economy budget tweeters like a professional sniper. One particularly nice feature for listeners who balk at the epic length of Indian pieces are the album's final two tracks, jam-packed little musical vignettes of great excitement, clocking at around four and five minutes apiece, respectively.

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