Anyone who visits Indian communities in the United States is more likely to hear modern electric Indian pop than India's traditional spiritual music. Nonetheless, the latter is alive and well (both in India and the West), and lot of Indian traditionalists continue to be recorded with enriching results. One of them is North Indian tabla player Bikram Ghosh, a very much in demand player who was trained on the instrument under his well-respected father, Pandit Shankar Ghosh. In contrast to Indian pop's use of synthesizers and electronic instruments, Ghosh embraces an entirely acoustic setting on Talking Tabla. Haunting instrumentals like "Morning Contemplations," "Vilambit Teentala" and "Carnatic Tabla in Adi Tala" are as rhythmically exciting as they are tranquil. Ghosh clearly enjoys a strong rapport with his accompaniment, which includes tamboura player Debashish Manna (the tamboura is known for its drone sound) and Ramesh Mishra (who's heard on the sarangi, a fretless bowed instrument). For those interested in Northern Indian-oriented traditionalism, this CD would be a wise investment.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson