Bickram Ghosh – Maya, Bickram Ghosh’s Dedication to Ravi Shankar (East Meets West Music, 2016)
Part of the East Meets West Music label’s Utsav! series celebrating the life and music of sitar master Ravi Shankar through the works of students, collaborators and fellow musicians, composer and percussionist Bickram Ghosh conjures up a lush collection of tracks entitled Maya.
After having played with the revered master Mr. Shankar for more than ten years, appearing on the Grammy winning Full Circle, collaborating with Sonu Nigam on The Music Room, collaborating with Anoushka Shankar and Rahul Sharma on the Decade of Great Fusion 2000-2009 and releasing his own recordings Drum Invasion, Electro Classical, Beyond Rhythmscape and Gumshuda, Mr. Ghosh is ever the revering devotee and disciple of Mr. Shankar.
One needs to look no further than Mr. Ghosh’s own words on Maya’s cover, “I am constantly inspired by the evocativeness of Raviji’s compositions – the subtle rhythmic interplays, the presentation of both East and West, his mind-bending melodic inventions and improvisations. He is a true star of world music and his body of work is a never-ending gift.”
While imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, Maya is anything but imitation or mere flattery. Chocked full of sitar, cello, oboe, santoor, violin and keyboard programming, as well as Mr. Ghosh’s own mastery of the tabla, udu and cajón.
Maya is a sleek listen into a hypnotic blend where the music of the East rises up to embrace the music of the West. Threaded throughout with vocals and plummy rhythms, tracks like opening track “Maya Sutra” thrum with the goodness of an easy grace.
Equally rich are tracks like the cello laced “Devotee” with vocalist Uljaini Mukherjee, the percussively rich “Mohana,” the darkly lush “The Journey to the Light” and “We Were Children” replete with mandolin, oboe, English horn, keyboard programming and Mr. Ghosh on udu, kahon, kanjeera and tabla.
Closing track “Maya’s Allure” with saxophone, mridangam, flute, viola, electric violin, xylophone, udu, tabla, handsonic, shakers and cajon is just as delightful in this jazzy collaboration.
Mr. Ghosh has cast a delightful spell with Maya. Sophisticated and fresh, Maya conjures lush spell after lush spell and so is a wonderful tribute to the maestro and ultimate musical conjurer Ravi Shankar.