Monday, May 09, 2005


The details: Kushal Das on sitar accompanied by Abhijeet Banerjee on tabalaa; May 08, 2005; Emory White Hall.

The best ICMS venue hosted a wonderful improvement and a return to form (at least the form I cherished as a member) for the ICMS concerts (after what I -- as part of a minority of one, probably -- considered an unsatisfying opening this year). Abhijeet Banerjee is a familiar face now (and he continues, like all great tabalaa players, to make the most complicated improvisation look so effortless), but Kushal Das was a welcome surprise. With mii.nDs that would give blues guitarists nightmares he presented some wonderful vilambit explorations and offered some cherishable melodic fragments in the madhya and drut sections of his performance. And then there was the interplay between his offerings and Abhijeet Bannerjee's masterful fluent tabalaa improvisation.

The first half was comprised of a performance of raag maarawaa with the alaap followed by explorations in jhap taal and tiin taal. After the break ensued a lamentably short session beginning with a short alaap and a tiin taal (madhya lay) performance of raag baageshrii before the concluding dhuun in mishra pahaa.Dii (keharawaa taal). When it became evident that there was going to be no bhairavii (ASIDE: "Music from India" on WRFG 89.3 FM opened its classical section with a performance by Kushal Das of raag bhairavii, so I could take consolation in that!), I just hoped that the pahaa.Dii would make up for it. It almost did (Seriously, how can you make up for a bhairavii?) with some wonderful mixing in of other raags (too fleeting to make a guess -- unless you were a raag monster). All in all, a great antidote for that mainstream do last month. Next up is Padma Talwalkar who was responsible for the only morning concert I have attended in Atlanta (and that was in August 2003!). I could almost wager a fortune on a good time.

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