Hindustani Classical Vocal Collection

In India, the voice has been considered the major instrument since time immemorial, and virtually all music genres have originated in the realm of vocal music. This collection presents three renowned Indian vocalists: Sulochana Brahaspati; Girija Devi, and Shruti Sadolikar. All three female artists had a thorough training in traditional vocal music which required immense dedication and sacrifice. They developed careers which took them to the zenith of their art. Today, they are admired and loved by a wide audience, both internationally as well as in their home country.


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This is a very pleasing compilation of recordings from the early '90s. Sulochana Brahaspati represents the Rampur style and is accompanied by the great Sultan Klan on sarangi (bowed lute) with Anindo Chatterjee (tabla), who also supports Shruti Sadolikar, noted in previous reviews for her own solo CD and for her key role in Nimbus's The Raga Guide.

Sulochana Brahaspati sings the Raga Bilaskhani Todi (khyal) and a Punjabi tappa, which requires and receives a tremendous sense of rhythm and technique. Girija Devi sings songs from Varanasi, and is supported by sarangi and tabla players from the same area. After a khyal raga Maru Bihag she performs a thumri and finally a light classical dadra song.

Shruti Sadolikar is especially sweet-toned and her singing has an air of sincerity which is particularly winning. She sings three ragas, finishing with a thumri in raga Bhairavi, currently the most popular of all.

This is music to be heard, not dryly explained on the printed page. The notes deal mostly with the careers and genealogy of the performers, but all the ragas are described, with music examples to hear and rehear, in The Raga Guide, which has properly been described as a godsend and a quick, easy and reliable guide to this complicated and still (for Westerners) esoteric music. At a bargain price, it is excellent value and will give several hours of pleasure.


Peter Grahame Woolf, musicweb-international.com

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