Synergy, a double CD by Shahid Parvez and Kumar Bose

UK – Sense World Music has released Synergy, a double CD by Shahid Parvez and Kumar Bose. In this performance Shahid Parvez has chosen to play the evening melody, Raga Jog, popular with musicians only in the last fifty years, relatively recent by Indian music standards. The first CD features the traditional introductory ‘alap’, a slow meditative elaboration of the main notes and phrases of the particular raga. Through the alap, the devotional mood of the raga is established, played in a free style without rhythmic accompaniment. Gradually, a pulse is introduced; between the short phrases you can hear the strumming of the drone (chikari) strings, which also serve to keep the soloist rooted to a tonal base note. At the conclusion of the alap, a composition is introduced. It is set to a rarely performed rhythmic cycle of eleven beats named Rudratal, which offers a musical challenge to both soloist and accompanist. Conceptually, the musicians may divide the cycle (e.g. 4.4.3); in this composition the leading melodic phrase (mukra) begins on the ninth beat. Throughout the recital the two players skillfully exchange musical ideas.

Raga Jog continues on CD 2 with three further compositions, two in the sixteen beats cycle of teental (tracks 1&3) and one in the twelve beats ektaal (track 2). The improvisations become faster and more intense, seemingly exploring every aspect of the melodic and rhythmic framework.

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Raga Pilu is regarded as a light classical music raga associated with the romantic song style of thumri. It uses all the twelve notes of the octave and offers its own challenges to the soloist. After concluding the alap (track 4), two compositions (5,6) are presented in a style that gives an opportunity to experience further glimpses of Shahid Parvez’s ability.