Vishwa Mohan Bhatt


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V.M. Bhatt is the younger brother of sitar virtuoso Shashi Mohan Bhatt, who was one of Ravi Shankar's first pupils, and he, his sister, and cousin all went on to study with legendary master. But despite a lifetime steeped in Indian classical music traditions, Bhatt is best known for his fusionary pan-cultural collaborations with Western artists like Taj Mahal, Béla Fleck, and Ry Cooder, with whom he recorded A Meeting By the River, which won the 1993 Grammy for Best World Music Album. Even his instrument of choice is unconventional: Bhatt invented the mohan vina, a guitar modified with the addition of several drone strings and eight sympathetic strings, playing it like a Hawaiian slide guitar to get the sustained, sliding notes common to the vocal style of Indian classical music. Saradanabu is actually one of Bhatt's more traditional outings, with straightforward production capturing the impressive interplay between the string virtuoso and tabla player Sukhvinder Namdari. These North Indian folk and classical selections don't reinvent the genre in the way some of Bhatt's more experimental efforts have, but it is an incredible performance from one of Indian music's most distinctive innovators.

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