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Talking Tabla by Bikram Ghosh []



Talking Tabla is an exciting recording showing off the work of a masterful tabla player. The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument, and is ubiquitous in the classical music of Northern India. The tabla consists of two hand drums of contrasting designs: on the left is a kettle drum with a deep sound and variable pitch; on the right is smaller conical drum with a high, fixed pitch. The drums are struck with the fingers and palms of the hands to create the sounds known as bols, these are the syllables of North Indian drumming and can be spoken as well as played; well performed, they sound very much like language, hence the title of this album, Talking Tabla.

On Talking Tabla Bikram Ghosh plays a variety of compositions, fixed and improvised, in a variety of styles, including a piece in the less familiar Carnatic style of South India. Although Bikram Ghosh’s tabla is the focus of these recordings we are not deprived of melody—Ramesh Mishra does a beautiful job playing the sarangi (a kind of elaborate fiddle) on several tracks and on the third track Ghosh accompanies Tarun Bhattacharya’s santoor (hammered dulcimer). In addition, Ghosh’s beautiful baya (left hand drum) application creates a kind of melody of its own. (To fully appreciate this a pair of good speakers or headphones are recommended—don’t listen to this one through your laptop speakers!) Even those who are bored by the idea of an album devoted to the drums should consider listening to Talking Tabla.

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