Nordic-Punjabi: Harpreet Bansal and The Bansal Band

Pre-pandemic I posted an album by the Norwegian Indian violinst and her trio of Nordic jazz players.

Here is another volume of her imaginative work this time with The Bansal Band. On this recording the music is less overtly ‘jazz’ and more ‘fusion’ but on the very positive side of that controversial genre. Instead of a Hammond B3, Bansal includes the humble but glorious harmonium into the mix. Tabla keeps time but double bass and piano balance and bring into relief the fluid, morphing violin of Ms. Bansal, the star.

HB

Three Princes: Hidayat Hussain Khan, Indradeep Ghosh & Enayat Hossain

You don’t get much more blue blood in Indian classical music than this trio. Hidayat Hussain Khan is the youngest son of the man many hold up as the greatest sitar player India has ever produced, Ustad Vilayat Khan. He is also the brother of Shujaat Hussain Khan who is a frequent star of Harmonium.

Indradeep Ghosh is a new generation classical violinist who like Hidayat Hussain Khan, travel the world extensively (Houston Texas has even declared an Indradeep Ghosh Day–October 15, 2017) and often collaborates with non-Indian artists.

Enayat Hossain is a Bangladeshi-American tabla master.

All three princes’ family roots are in Bengal and they are imbued with the incredibly rich culture of that eastern part of the subcontinent.

Please read the bios. They have impressive CVs, all three.

01, Raga Jhinjhoti [Alaap]

02 Raga Jhinjhoti [Gat in Vilambit Teental]

03 Raga Jhinjhoti [Gat in Drut Teental]

04 Dhun [Folk Melody]

HKIGEH

India North and South Meets Africa West: Shujaat Hussain Khan, Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Mamadou Diabaté

Good day to everyone.

Here is a gorgeous album which brings together some of India’s best contemporary musicians with an icon of the West African jeli/griot tradition. I know some people may not care for it, but I love Shujaatji’s mumbling way of singing where only a couple of words per line are decipherable. He is not conveying the song’s essence through the lyrics but through feel and the way he sort of emotes rather than annunciates is one of the great aspects of his singing style.

Joining Shujaat is son of another icon–Lalgudi Jayaraman. G.J.R Krishan‘s playing here as part of a trio is beautiful. His tone and ability to accompany as well as lead and playfully interact with the others is a good reason to listen curiously to this.

Finally, Mamadou Diabate the accomplished and respected kora player from Mali, was born into the West African griot tradition.

What should you expect with this album? How about beauty? Hope that does it for you.

Strings

Sitar and Flute: Himangshu Biswas and Jaya Bose

I’m really into Himangshu Biswas at the moment. And his collaborative spirit. Here is a late 60s album with him and Jaya Bose (sitar). I’m not the greatest fan of sitar and flute together; two beautiful instruments who love centerstage seem a bit uncomfortable together. But having said that, this is a worth a listen for sure.

It appears Ms Bose aka Jaya (or Joya) Biswas is not, as I assumed, the wife of Himangshu but rather the wife of a prominent Indian nuclear scientist.

HBJB

Together: Bismillah Khan & Dr. N. Rajam

A ‘meeting’ of two great artists. From North India and the big ancient city of Varanasi (Benares), Ustad Bismillah Khan, one of the mightiest figures of Hindustani classical of the 20th century.

Shehnai Maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan performs in New Delhi, India,. (Photo by: Pankaj Nangia/IndiaPictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Also, from Varanasi (via Chennai) is the acclaimed violinist Dr. N. Rajam. The violin is 9 times out of 10 associated with Carnatic (southern Indian classical) music where it has/had a host of fabulous proponents. And while Srimati Rajam began her studies in the southern tradition she has been a pioneer in introducing her instrument into Hindustani classical. I tell you, listen carefully and openly to the second track on this the third volume of their Guldasta Series, to see if you think she has succeeded or not! Stunning.

This is NOT a jugalbandi. Rather it is a record company’s marketing department putting two great artists together to see a few extra discs. With the senior artist (Khansahib) hopefully attracting people like me. But don’t let that distract you or upset you. The music is phenomenal.

Track Listing:

01. Raga Nand – Kedar

02. Raga Miyan Malhar

03. Tarana

BKNRajam