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Palace Music of Rajasthan
Saraswati Devi Dhandhada with musicians.
Navras NRCD 3011 [57.24]

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


Peter Grahame Woolf

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