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Ragas Marwa & Bhairavi - Live at the Kufa Gallery, London

Ustad Rais Khan

Tambura Player
Uma Mehta
Tabla Player
Anindo Chatterjee (Pandit)
Rudra Veena

About this album

Ustad Rais Khan was born in Indore in 1940, the son of the sitarist and bin (rudra vina) player Ustad mohammad Khan. His family includes many illustrious musicians, both instrumentalists and vocalists, on both maternal and paternal sides. Rais Khan himself built up a substantial reputation as a sitarist while still a young man, and recent performances demonstrate that his talent not been diminished.

The sitar style of Rais Khan is distinctive for its delicacy and his fine control, as well as for the tremendous speed of his tans. He relies on inspiration more than organization; this can make his performances unpredictable, but at their best truly outstanding. This CD was recorded live at the intimate Kufa Gallery, and it's clear from the music that Rais had many inspired moments.

The leading tabla player Anindo Chatterjee accompanies Rais Khan here. Anindo was born in Calcutta in 1954, and became a disciple of the widely respected musician and teacher Jnan Prakash Ghosh at a very young age. He is now one of the most popular tabla accompanists in the world, performing concerts and recording with most of the leading soloists of North Indian music. Even listeners who have become accustomed to the high technical standards of modern tabla playing will be impressed by some of Anindo's solos on this recording.

Raga Marwa
The main item in this recording is a performance of Rag Marwa. Marwa is an evening rag, whose contemplative, even dreamlike quality is often assisted both by the choice of very slow tempi and by concentration on the lower octave (mandra saptak). Marwa omits the fifth note Pa: the second, Re, is flat, and the fourth, Ma, sharp.
Sa Re Ga Ma Dha Ni (1 2 3 4 6 7)
The tonic or base note, Sa, is extremely weak, and this fact together with the omission of Pa means that a lot of emphasis is placed on note with a dissonant relationship to the drone. Re and Dha are particularly strong; this is the biggest difference between marwa and Rag Puriya, which shares the same scale but emphasizes Ga and Ni.

Rais Khan's performance of Rag Marwa, although it employs the instrumental 'masitkhani gat' pattern as a refrain, is based largely on the vocal khayal idiom. He begins with the briefest of introductions before beginning the slow teental composition with Anindo Chatterjee's accompaniment. The tempo chosen is unusually slow for an instrumental gat; it begins at around 25 beats per minute, which is more typical of a Bara khyal. In the early stages most of the music played by Rais Khan is khyal style vistar, rhythmically fluid with an appropriate emphasis on meldic development and expression. Although a masitkhani gat (a composition which begins from the 12th of teental's 16 beats) is heard briefly, this has little influence on the performance as a whole at this stage.


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