Raga Darbari Kanada
Be Centered Now
The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said, "What comes from the heart goes to the heart." Music is an illustration of that circuit in action. Sounds travel fast between hearts; when a musician like the flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia sends out the animated whispers that begin the hour-long Raga Darbari Kanada, it is difficult to remain unaffected. His woody breathy tone is a direct transmission from tranquility central. He makes no demands, does not expect you to instantly become "centered." Yet he vibrates on a frequency that puts contentment right in front of you, and shows that it is attainable.
Chaurasia's mastery of the bansuri bamboo flute is one lure of this spacious and wonderfully warm recording--which begins as a nocturnal meditation, and gradually builds intensity as the melodic arcs grow longer and more involved. A raga is not a fixed score; it's more like a seed, a set of notes and instructions about how they should be ordered, and it's often intended to dwell in a particular mood or time of day. (This one is intended for performance just before midnight.) Recognizing that any dissonance mucks up the transmission of heart energy, Chaurasia shapes each phrase with slight yet deliberate strokes.
Chaurasia is considered among the greatest Indian flutists, and here, he alternates between astounding flights and long sustained tones. Often he'll recede into the background to bring the crisp percussive work of tabla player Fazal Qureshi to the forefront. That happens memorably on the final section of the raga, entitled "Medium Tempo Gat in Ektal," when Chaurasia's flitting caprices are underpinned by a recurring drone plucked on the sitarlike tampura. The movement lasts nearly seven minutes, and from its very first taps, the significant challenges of raga form take a back seat to the conversation, a communication between hearts.
Genre: World, India
Released: 1993, Nimbus
Key Tracks: "Medium Tempo Gat in Ektal," "Dhun in Maga Mishra Pilu," "Alap and Jar"
Catalog Choice: Flying Beyond: Improvisations on Bamboo Flute; Remember Shakti
Next Stop: Ram Narayan: The Master
Book Page: 159
#1 from Mahesh, India - 10/10/2008 11:14
The CD displayed is wrong (Bimal Mulherjee). . . . [link removed; now correct in entry]
(Editor’s Note: Thank you! We’ve fixed this.)