Dancing to the Flute - Music and Dance in Indian Art

  • Model: TN1492-59
  • Shipping Weight: 0.125kgs
  • 99 Units in Stock


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Dancing to the Flute - A passage to Indian music and dance with Celestial Harmonies
CD Review by Ian Dearden

Here is yet another CD from Celestial Harmonies, a record company based in Tucson, Arizona.
The catalogue of Celestial Harmonies is extraordinarily broad and eclectic – New Age, world music, jazz, classical and contemporary.
As part of that broad spread, Celestial Harmonies releases music that would struggle to find an outlet elsewhere because of the obsession among more mainstream record companies with high volume sales of a small roster of artists.
This album is best seen as a primer to Indian classical music – as brave and ambitious as such a project is, in a country as geographically, ethnically and musically diverse as India.
The tracks on the album were recorded in 1996 in India, specifically for the 1997 Art Gallery of NSW exhibition titled ‘Dancing to the Flute’ and the tracks (eight in total) were recorded on the basis that each would play simultaneously in separate galleries and that a listener/viewer might well hear more than one track as they transitioned from one gallery to another.
It was intended that the listener would be immersed in the music as well as the art and that tracks in adjacent galleries would blend without jarring.
The atmospheric sound of ‘Om’ commences the album, with tamburas, religious chant and ceremonial sounds sweeping the listener into the Indian musical experience.
From there, we are treated to a pakhavaj (drum) solo by Shri Kant Mishra, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ramashankar’s rendition of the ‘Raga Kausikdhwani’ on the bamboo flute, followed by Dr Sanyal’s solo vocal performance of ‘Raga Darbari Kanhda’ in dhrupad style, with accompanying tamburas.
The devotional section of the exhibition (and the CD) features religious songs from North India (‘Raga Bhairava’ performed by Dr Jyotishi) and South India (‘Raga Mayamalavagaula’ performed by K Shashikumar).
What follows is a folk medley of tunes (‘Pahadi, Kajri, Purvi, Chaiti’ and ‘Pahadi’) played by a Shehnai group (the shehnai is a double reed wind instrument with a brass bell) led by Ramashankar and the final piece on the album is the epic 14-minute rendition of the ‘Raga Mishra Khamaj’ featuring the sitar playing of Dr Chakravarty.
The CD liner notes are comprehensive and informative.
The tracks were all recorded digitally in India in technically difficult circumstances, but the result is a superbly recorded, broad and immersive introduction to the depth and breadth of the Indian classical music repertoire.
You will be well-rewarded by time spent with this CD, if you have the patience and curiosity to delve into music that may at first sound strange to those whose musical diet has been restricted to rock, pop, western classical or Anglo-Celtic folk music.

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 27 April, 2010.


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