Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Gopal Shankar Misra: Out of Stillness

One of the most fascinating Hindustani albums released internationally this past year also comes with a poignant story attached. Dr. Gopal Shankar Misra’s Out of Stillness is a beautifully wrought recording, and a last dance for the musician, who died a month after the recording session in London. Ironically, he died at a 1999 concert in Bhopal dedicated to his father, Dr. Lalmani Misra, a musician who had passed the torch to his son. Misra, born in 1957, was an acknowledged master of sitar and the rarely heard vichitra-vina. The instrument sits horizontally atop large resonating spheres, with four main strings, five secondary strings, which are strummed with the pinky, and 13 more sympathetic strings for droning effects. What Misra achieves on this album’s five tracks, subtly abetted by tabla player Ramkumar Mishra, is entrancing and exotic to ears accustomed to hearing sitar and sarod. The inflections and sonorities are different here, not to mention the radiant fine points of Misra’s musicality.

Originally Published