"Rasarang," North Indian Classical Music Performed By Rajeev Taranath

Golden Horn Records released Rasarang, an album of
North Indian classical music performed by sarod master
Accompanying master Taranath are Abhiman Kaushal on tabla and Chad Hamill on
tanpura. About the album,
Taranath said, “I will just close my eyes, listen to the mood and absorb what is
going on around me and the music will come
.” Rasarang demonstrates how his
inspiration for Raga, “the main building block of any concert of Indian
classical music…(and) that which gives color
,” weaves technicality with a fire
of emotion connecting player to audience. A Raga is not just a scale or melodic
mode, but a complex system of exploring melody, following certain rules of
ornamentation and intonation, and expressing a unique emotional color. “Playing
a raga, to a musician, then means being aware of …(the) rules and making music
while playing the notes to open up different vistas, some already traversed,
some not yet, all the time abiding strictly to given rules. The musician is not
unlike a mathematician who sets up problems with different levels of difficulty
and sets about solving them with precision and clarity
.” Taranath’s description
of musician as mathematician betrays the depth of emotion revealed through his
sarod. Taranath best describes his musicianship by quoting T.S.
Eliot, “You are the music while it lasts.”Rasarang presents four Ragas: Vachaspati, Desh, Jogia Kalingra, and Piloo. For
listeners new to Indian music, Rasarang’s liner notes include an interview with
Taranath on Raga and bansuri player Deepak Ram’s eloquent description of the
Ragas played by master Taranath. Raga Vachaspati is a challenging raga, which
originates in the South Indian musical tradition but is performed here in the
North Indian style. It is one scale among those known as ‘melas.’ On this CD,
Taranath plays only the first part of a North Indian performance, known as Alap.

The second Raga, Desh, is “derived from folk music” and “evokes romantic and
nostalgic feelings
.” Taranath performs Desh starting with a slow teental (a
sixteen-beat rhythmic cycle) and moving to a “second faster composition also in
teental…gradually increasing in tempo, ending with an exciting Jhala.” Raga
Jogia Kalingra is the combination of two morning Ragas (Jogia and Kalingra).
Taranath plays an Aachor (“an abridged form of Alap”), followed by a slow
composition in rupak (a seven-beat rhythmic cycle) and concluding with a second
faster composition in teental. Raga Piloo is a popular Raga that bends the rules
for the sake of aesthetics.” However, as Ram states, “It takes a tremendous
amount of experience and knowledge of a raga before one can find ‘loopholes’ in
the laws governing the particular Raga, whilst still maintaining its ‘aura

Buy Rasarang.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.