Two excellent audio compact discs, which showcase the individual talents of Sarod artist Ustad Bahadur Khan and sitar artist Nikhil Banerjee, have been brought out by Virgin Records (India) P Ltd. Both the instrumentalists have essayed two ragas each in their respective discs.
Bahadur Khan chooses to render Raag Nat Bhilawal first. This melody is portrayed on a wide canvas and the distinct hues of the raga come out with clarity. The taan like phrases interspersed with the slower ones reveal a good grip over the swara sthanas and are truly engaging. This is followed by an exposition of raag Rageshree which is handled in detail. The bowing is weighty and the clarity of the pure notes adds extra charm to the raga vinyasa.
Nikhil Banerjee's sitar covers ragas Ahir Bhairav and Chandrakauns. Both these raags are quite popular in the Carnatic music arena as well. Many of the lighter pieces which feature in Carnatic concerts have been tuned to these ragas.
Ahir Bhairav, which can be termed as the Hindustani counterpart of the Carnatic Chakravaham, is a leisurely offering by the sitar player. The sympathetic strings which are tuned to match the notes of the raga, add to the listening pleasure when struck during the course of the lengthy alaap. The control over the frets is remarkable.
The sitar disc comes to a close with Raag Chandrakauns which sports the kakali nishada, whereas Raag Malkauns sports the kaisiki nishada. The maestro is in his element in this alaap and takes a few liberties, which fall well on the ears. These discs offer vintage classical Hindustani music.