Padma Talwalkar

Ragas Bihag, Durga & Basant: Dadra

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Repetition can work wonders in music. Whether the artist is Ali Akbar Khan or James Brown, the key to effective repetition is finding the right grooves and staying on them. Padma Talwalkar uses repetition to her advantage on Ragas Bihag, Durga & Basant: Dadra, a recording of traditional Indian spiritual music (also known as "Indian classical music"). Talwalkar comes from the Hindustani school of Indian traditionalism, and her approach is entirely North Indian on four extended ragas: "Raga Bihag," "Raga Druga," "Raga Basant" and "Dadra." Joining Talwalkar are her husband Suresh Talwalkar (who plays Indian tabla drums), tamboura player Gauri Suresh Dahle and harmonium player Pramod Dhundiraj Marathe, all of whom hold the groove down while she sings passionately in various Indian languages. The ragas seem to groove endlessly, which is exactly the point -- you grab onto the groove and (much like James Brown in funk or early Donna Summer in disco) work both yourself and the listener into a blissful state by sticking to it. Repetition is also a key part of modern Indian pop, which incorporates American funk and dance music. But unlike Indian pop artists, Talwalkar isn't embracing something that started in the 20th century -- she's part of a tradition that goes back millenniums.

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