MP3 Barun Kumar Pal with Ray Spiegel - Ragas on Slide Guitar
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4 MP3 Songs
WORLD: Asian, WORLD: World Traditions
P.O. Box 1229 * Woodstock, NY 12498 * Phone/Fax: (845) 679-4490
new Simla House CD release, October 2003
Ragas on Slide Guitar [Simla House 006] 2003
Barun Kumar Pal-Slide Guitar Ray Spiegel-Tabla, percussion
Barun Kumar Pal is one of India's great musicians. He has played the slide guitar since childhood and was a child prodigy on the instrument, performing in concerts and radio broadcasts since the age of 7. Barun comes from an enlightened musical family from Eastern India in what is now Dhaka, Bangladesh. Over many years Barun has made numerous innovative changes to the instrument he started playing as a child, adding strings and changing the shape of guitar until it now resembles an Indian musical instrument more than the "Hawaiian style" guitar from which it evolved. In addition to his amazing technical prowess on this instrument, derived from countless hours of practice, Barun Pal, a disciple of the maestro Ravi Shankar, possesses a treasure-trove of knowledge of the Indian Raga system of music, and a highly developed approach to rhythm. He is also a gentle, kindhearted, intelligent and spiritually gifted person with a modest, pleasant, and peaceful nature.
Barunji has chosen Raga Malkauns for this recording. It is a serious and deep raga that is difficult to play. The mood of Raga Malkauns is calm and grave and evokes the feelings of devotion, sadness, and heroism. The traditional time for this raga is mid-night.
The recording begins with track 1, "Alap", the traditional opening movement in which the artist slowly reveals the raga note by note accompanied only by the droning of the tanpura. The tempo gradually increases to a fast pace and concludes. The next piece is the "Madhya Gat in Teen Tal" (track 2) where the tabla joins the slide guitar in a rare vocal composition adapted perfectly by Barunji to his instrument. Ray Spiegel recorded the original tabla on a low pitched tabla which you hear in the left channel, and later another tabla track on a high pitched tabla in the right channel matched exactly to the low pitched tabla. The effect is that of a duet, or "jugalbandi" made famous by the illustrious father and son masters of tabla, Ustad Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain. The final portion of Raga Malkauns is track 3, "Drut Gat" in Teen Tal. Drut means fast (gat means composition), and this track features a composition and improvisation in a fast and accelerating tempo, culminating in a rapid final composition at an extremely fast tempo. The last track is "Raga Piloo" a beautiful and sweet raga that expresses the emotions of love, joy, and romance. After a short alap the drums enter. The rhythm is "Sitarkhani tal", a cycle of sixteen beats with a syncopated lilt. Ray plays the tabla set in the right channel and a nakara drum in the left.
Ray Spiegel has played tabla for over three decades, having spent many years under the tutelage of Ustad Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, and B.S. Ramanna. Born in New York of Japanese-American ancestry, Ray has performed with many of India's greatest musicians, and is known for his sensitive and exciting accompaniment of instrumental as well as vocal music and tabla solos steeped in the Punjab Gharana (style) of tabla. Ray has recorded over thirty LPs and CDs with Indian and western music, and works in soundtrack recordings for film and television.
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