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Bikram Ghosh: Talking Tabla

Melodic gleam and rhythmic sophistication meet, with a unique intensity, in the music of the North Indian tabla. But there is also a sublime vocal quality to the instrument, a kind of parallel to gymnastic poetry-reading, which makes Talking Tabla (Music of the World 143; 52:21) a title with an apt double meaning. The tabla player is none other than Bikram Ghosh, a revered player who has accompanied Ravi Shankar for many years. On this album, Ghosh, backed by spare of sarangi (a violin-like instrument), santur (a hammered dulcimer) and droning tamboura, surveys a variety of talas (rhythms), including a piece on the slightly different Carnatic (South Indian) tabla. On “Drut Teentala,” Ghosh answers his own phrases in the language of konnakol. The album is a fascinating expression of this venerable instrument by a living master, and one that could change one’s view of what a drum album is, and can be.

Originally Published