Pramod Kumar

The Art of the Sitar

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Pramod Kumar was one of Ravi Shankar's best students (if not the best). Here, he displays such virtuosity that it becomes easy to tell why. The ragas he plays are made his own, with a sizable input of personal forms into the playing. Perhaps even more notable is his approach to the use of cikari (the high-pitched drone strings): He shies away from using them more than necessary, as their drone tends to mask the resonance of the other strings. Here, in recordings made before his untimely death, he performs four ragas and a dhun or two. The first up is "Jog-Kauns," a mixture of "Jog" and "Malkauns" (as the name might suggest), in which his playing is superb. He is aided on this track by Zamir Ahmed Khan on tabla, who provides an insane level of ability. Kumar then moves into a short composition in "Shudh Sarang," followed by an equally short one in a variant of "Raga Ranjani." These two are somewhat slower than the opening track, but still show a rhythmic virtuosity of their own. "Sindhi-Bhairavi" follows as the traditional concert closer, here with the use of the keharwa tala and a pensive approach. To finish the album, he takes part in a pair of dhuns (folk melody-based forms). Again, he displays great ability, with a deeper plucking sound to the sitar used to great effect. Overall, the album is sublime, with all of the marks of a sitar master, which of course Pramod Kumar was. Pick it up as a hardcore fan of Indian classical music or as a newcomer to the genre. This one should please everybody.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
20:53
2
5:19
3
5:17
4
11:49
5
5:29
6
6:12
blue highlight denotes track pick