Palace Music of Rajasthan
Saraswati Devi Dhandhada
This could be a good introduction to a whole world of pleasure for people
who have been intrigued by the sounds of Indian music but are still a little
nervous to embark upon purchasing Indian Classical CDs. It consists of
traditional songs, collected by an avid enthusiast determined to preserve
the Rajasthan Court heritage. Devi Saraswati learned her craft by overhearing
her mother and aunt, who were employed as singers in the Royal Palace of
Kishgangarh, but had discouraged Devi from following the family tradition
into an already fading profession.
She possesses a beautiful voice, produced freely with a smooth, mellifluous
tone which presents no obstacles for Western listeners. The programme is
of folk songs and dances, some with vigorous foot-tapping rhythm, others
more meditative. The meaning of the texts is described for each, with the
words of some translated. The supporting accompaniments provide good
opportunities to become familiar with many of the main Indian instruments,
flute, sarangi, violin, shahanai, harmonium, and a generous range of percussion,
all clearly recorded and well balanced.
The notes are personal in style and, together with illustrative miniature
paintings from the area, give a good background to a worth-while rescue project.
Very pleasing, good to hear and relax with late evening, or early Sunday
morning in bed, perhaps?
Peter Grahame Woolf