Monday, September 19, 2011

Music for the Morning: Shivkumar Sharma

It was a glorious morning, sunny and bright, today.  The summer has come suddenly to Australia. While that might portend terrible things in the months to come for this driest of continents, for now the warm breeze blowing through the apartment is wonderfully welcome.

And so to mark the change of seasons let’s celebrate with an aptly named album by Shivkumar Sharma, The Glory of Dawn.  Foremost, and indeed, probably the only popularly renown santoor player, Shivkumar Sharma is in fine form on this 1985 release. Ably, nay, mesmeringly, accompanied by the great tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.
Zakir Hussain and Shivkumar Sharma
The santoor is an ancient Babylonian stringed musical instrument. It is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer often made of walnut, with seventy strings. The special-shaped mallets (mezrab) are lightweight and are held between the index and middle fingers. A typical santoor has two sets of bridges, providing a range of three octaves.
The Kashmiri santoor is more rectangular and can have more strings than the Persian counterpart, which generally has 72 strings. The santoor as used in Kashmiri classical music is played with a pair of curved mallets made of walnut wood and the resultant melodies are similar to the music of the harp, harpsichord, or piano. The sound chamber is also made of walnut wood and the bridges are made of local wood and painted dark like ebony. The strings are made of steel. It is especially popular in the folk music tradition of Kashmir. (Wikipedia)

Indeed a glorious way to welcome the dawn (or anytime of day for that matter).

            Track Listing:
            01 Raga Ahir Bhairav (Alap)
            02 Raga Ahir Bhairav (Gat)

Listen here.

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