Sawani

COMPOSERS: Veena Sahasrabuddhe
LABELS: Navras
PERFORMER: Veena Sahasrabuddhe (voice)
CATALOGUE NO: NRCD 0167

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Veena Sahasrabuddhe’s supple, inventive singing has a big following in India. Her latest release, Sawani, begins majestically, plunging into a resonant lower register that she uses rarely, and then setting a half-hour raga elaboration on its way with sustained notes and brisk flourishes. As she continues, the music becomes light and fanciful, with vivid display passages.

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The disc’s rarity is a ragamala, or ‘garland of ragas’ – an intricate composition woven together from some 13 different but compatible ragas. Over its 15 minutes, the scale shifts subtly all the time, creating a constant sense of surprise. Helpfully, the sung text features the ragas’ names, so you can follow how it works.