Saturday, January 12, 2013

A New Year, A New Raga: Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt and Salil Bhatt

Father (Vishwamohan) and Son (Salil)

I’ve posted recordings by these gentlemen before.  Indeed, they have been key collaborators on two of my favourite ‘east meets west’ type records.  Vishwamohan Bhatt with Ry Cooder on 1993’s Meeting by the River and  Salil Bhatt with Canadian guitarist Doug Cox on Slide to Freedom.

Father (Vishwamohan) and son (Salil) are among India’s foremost guitarists working under the wide stylistic umbrella called classical.

Both men have reconfigured the western guitar to suit their own musical visions to such a degree that their inventions are regarded as completely new instruments. 

Vishwamohan has created the mohan veena and Salil the satvik veena.  Both men have done as much any of their predecessors to move the guitar into the accepted mainstream of the Hindustani orchestra but it is not often that they have  recorded together.  Tonight’s selection from the Washerman’s Dog is their latest recorded (2012) jugalbandi.

Innovation and exploration go hand in hand. Strings of Freedom is born of this creative innovation in music by Salil Bhatt with his father Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt. It is historic as it brings the world of music a new raga, Vishwa Kauns. Discovered by Salil Bhatt and offered as a tribute to mark 50 years of Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt’s musical journey, Raga Vishwa Kauns is about an exquisite synthesis of ragas jog, raga jog Kauns with swar risabh through a unique technique which enhances the beauty of the raga.  It envelops the sentiments of romance and celebration, ideally to be listened at night. Besides this entrancing new raga, Raga Ahir Bhairav has given the album a perfect opening as it is ideal for morning.  It uses komal rishabh and komal nishad, to create a very soothing mileu for the listener to be infused with dynamism. It’s spell-binding. It’s soul-stirring. It’s for you to experience…  (liner notes)

Not only did Salil sahib compose this new raga but he is also responsible for bringing the tabliya Prithivaj Mishra to the attention of the music world. He accompanies the father-son duo on both selections of this fantastic, if romantically-titled, album.

            Track Listing:
01. Raga Ahir Bhairav
02. Raga Vishwa Kauns

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