Kalyani Roy

Raga Ramkali

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Kalyani Roy, b. 1931, was the first woman in India from a genteel background to pursue a career in music. Like Ravi Shankar Ms. Roy has her artistic roots in the Bengali region of India, and one can hear the Persian influence on her music. At the same time there are some Western-sounding themes on this disc. For example, the alap starts off sounding like the beginning of "I Just Called to Say I Love You," and the jod (medium-paced section with a two-step rhythm and no percussion) sounds like an Indian version of "Dueling Banjos"! It's great fun. Unfortunately the middle section, vilambit gat in tintal, lacks the forward motion I hoped for. The final section, drut gat in tintal, almost makes up for it with impressively fast sitar picking and a recurrence of the "Dueling Banjos" motif. Samir Chatterjee's tabla on the movement are especially punchy.

Although it's not listed on the cover, there is a second raag on the disc, Raga Jogiya. This is a short raag (less than eight minutes, compared to the Raga Ramkali, which is over an hour) and features tabla throughout. It is a slow and romantic piece. This is a good disc overall, but the first track is some of the best work I have ever heard for the sitar without the tabla.

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