The sarod is less known outside of India than its cousin the sitar, but that's only a matter of fashion and chance exposure. A form of lute, it has 25 strings, six of which are played with a plectrum. If one makes abstraction of the extra sympathetic strings, the sarod sounds like a slightly more powerful version of the acoustic guitar -- the kind of guitars used in dance bands in the 1930s that had a loud, round sound. Montrealer Aditya Verma performs two 30-minute ragas on this CD, accompanied by Vineet Vyas on tabla and an uncredited tanpura player. "Raga Jhinjhoti" is a night raga. Lively and elevated, it calls for a certain amount of virtuosity both from the sarod and the tabla and at times displays a certain joyful exuberance. "Raga Puriya Dhanashri," a sunset raga, provides the perfect complement. Much more introspective, it evokes yearning and spiritual trance. In its first half, Verma plays without percussion, bending the strings and reaching for microtonal effects on the fretless board to create wide, expressive "twangs." The tabla join in for the second half, which quickly picks up in momentum to enter a hypnotic state where Verma develops the melodic material through an endless series of variations. Both pieces are beautifully performed and recorded, making this CD an excellent choice for lovers of classical Indian music.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture