Music of the Himalayas

COMPOSERS: Rahul Sharma
LABELS: Real World
PERFORMER: Rahul Sharma (santoor), Shafat Ahmed Khan (tabla), Bhawani Shankar (percussion)


A batch of updated takes on Southern Asia, Music of the Himalayas, is led off by the relatively traditional Rahul Sharma. He is the son of the santoor pioneer Shivkumar Sharma, and he has emerged early from the great man’s shadow – unusual in Indian dynasties – with a musical personality of his own.

Although the Kashmiri theme of this album evokes the popular ‘Call of the Valley’ duets between his father and Hariprasad Chaurasia, the style is his own both conceptually (folk meets classical) and technically (simpler textures, often down-tempo, and more emphatic attack).


Generally his slow playing is more riveting than his fast, especially in the final, 36-minute item which has short elaborations, a number of time-filling episodes and a long acceleration that sounds imposed rather than driven by urgency of invention. Devotees of the hammered dulcimer-like santoor and its haunting tones will want the album, newcomers should start with the older generation.