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Mythologie, Spiritualität und Musik sind in der indischen Kultur eine Einheit. In den ältesten Schriften, den Veden, gilt der heilige Klang OM als Symbol für Brahman, für das Allumfassende. Die Rishis (Seher) singen OM, spüren die Essenz im Inneren und verbinden sich so mit dem Höchsten. Geht man heute durch eine Strasse in Bombay oder Varanasi, kann man aus einem Hindutempel die dreitönigen, rhythmisch skandierten vedischen Gesänge, aus dem Plattenladen einen Raga von Ravi Shankar, aus einem vorbeifahrenden Auto Bollywood-Sentimentals und auf dem Fußgängerweg neben einer Abfall fressenden Kuh den Bettler auf der einsaitigen Veena hören. Für die meisten Inder ist das alles immer noch heilig - Gott singt. Zugleich ist kaum eine Musikerausbildung strenger als die zum Ragavirtuosen. Wer öffentlich einen Raga aufführt, kommt in der Regel aus einer alten Musikerfamilie, ist wenigstens vom 6. Lebensjahr an bei einem Guru (oft dem eigenen Vater oder Großvater) in die Lehre gegangen und hat 10 - 20 Jahre acht Stunden täglich geübt, auch geistig und spirituell. Wer indische Musiker live erlebt hat, wird sich vielleicht gewundert haben, wie entspannt und lustig die dabei sind.

Die indische Sitar-Professorin, Schülerin von Ravi Shankar und Lehrerin von Produzent David Parsons, spielt die Ragas Hemant und Lalit sowie Bhairavi Dhun. Ragas haben in der Regel die vier Teile: Alap (improvisatorische Einstimmung auf die Haupttöne), Jod (weitere Ausführung des Alap mit freien rhythmischen Elementen), Jhalla (Steigerung bis zu einem Höhepunkt), Gat (das Rhythmusinstrument, meist Tabla, im Wechsel mit dem Melodieinstrument. Steigerung bis zum Schluss).

the project

Circular Dance, produced by New Zealander David Parsons, is the long awaited follow up to Krishna Chakravarty's debut Ananda (17046). It is an exquisite sound document of traditional Indian classical music, and combined with the accompanied annotation, offers a layman's introduction to the Indian notation system.

When speaking of Indian music, one automatically corresponds it with the raga and the most widely known sitar string instrument. But do we really, as a music loving listening audience, understand or even comprehend what a raga is, or how complex the seemingly simple Indian music system is?

The raga, for instance, is essentially a scale with a fixed ascending and descending order of notes. Within this framework are contained specific approaches to certain notes and musical expressions or phrases that differentiate one raga from another. It may seem like free form music, but it is not. It is subject to very strict disciplines which should not be deviated from. And most impressive about this ancient music form is a raga is not something that is composed, but rather something that is discovered.

Did you know that Indian classical music is never written down? It isn't, and therefore can never be played from a musical score. In fact, there has never been any notation system developed that could record all of the subtle nuances which characterize this system of music. Today, as in centuries long past, the music is taught orally, and preferably one–to–one. There is, however, the need to at least write something down in order to remember various musical exercises and for those interested in music theory. From this we learn the fundamental note is always called Sa. There is no standard pitch reference in the Indian system so Sa can be any note. In other words, it is simply the musician's individual fundamental pitch that he or she will always use.

Dr. Chakravarty features three different ragas covering a whole range of rhythms and tempos which correspond to the easily understood annotation, which, seems as if it was written to the inquisitive heart of all music lovers.

the artists

Dr. Krishna Chakravarty is a rarity among musicians in India. She is one of the few female sitar players who have received recognition as masters of their art. Dr. Chakravarty began studying the sitar at an early age under Prof. Ram Chakravarty and later under Pt. Ravi Shankar. Today she is considered one of the best sitarists in all of India.

The sitar, a long–necked lute developed under medieval Muslim influence, is the best–known Indian string instrument. It is traditionally accompanied by the table, a two–drum set capable of very subtle changes in sound, and often times the tambura, a four–stringed lute. Vinod Gangadhar Lele provides the tabla accompaniment in this recording. An acclaimed tabla master in India, Lele's style of playing is characterized by liveliness, excellent control over laya (rhythm and tempo) and impressive dexterity.

biography

discography

tracklist

1 Raga Hemant 26'38"
2 Raga Lalit 25'52"
3 Bhairavi Dhun 26'38"
  Total Time: 68'29"