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Amjad Ali Khan's album is breezy, racy and breaks away from the classical mould

Moksha by Amjad Ali KhanEMI, CD, Rs. 350If you picked up Moksha, sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan's latest album, hoping to sink into intense moments, it's not going to happen. This album is different; it moves away from the classical canon and is a collection of eight compositions, all ragas composed by the maestro himself. The pieces are in the semi-classical mode, exuding a lot of energy. They are racy, with a breezy alaap. So breezy that it's over even before you savour it. "Sandhya", in raga Shyama Gauri, begins with the characteristic meends, long and full of nuances. And just when you say "wah!" over a poignant phrase, the main piece takes off rather loudly, only to completely offset the prayerful, opening notes. The heartening thing is that they move on to a more soulful cluster of notes, as in the well thought out gamaks and meends. The piece in Charukeshi captures attention because it is the most elaborate piece in the album. It remains the most stirring one. The taans are truly beguiling. Ganesh Kalyan, Maa Durga sound more or less like the flogged Yaman Kalyan and Durga, respectively. And so, unlike Shyam Gauri, they don't prepare you for something grand and disappoint. Bhatyali (Amaan Ali Bangash) has a typical Bangla folk feel. "Moksha", the composition based on raga Bahar, has a good sound to it. For one, it mixes sarod with the human voice. The tarana recited by Amjad Ali Khan (one assumes) has a raw, untamed texture to it. It is clear that the maestro made this album for the Western audience, but it works as a good entry point even for beginners back home. DEEPA GANESH

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