The title of Golden Horn’s newest release translates as “Blessing,” and the sensual reverence of this North Indian classical recording truly feels a blessing to world music listeners.
From the first haunting and evocative notes that blow like a rich eastern wind in from the ears to the soul, the listener knows that they are in the presence of a spirited and masterful young musician.
But make no mistake, unlike the wild of the wind, the rich depth and vibrantly varied rhythm of this traditional North Indian recording is carefully built upon a subtle but highly important form, a set of rules which the musician must first learn by heart before he can move with winged fingers into the dramatic realm of improvisation.
Indian classical music is based on the exploration and improvisation of its two musical entities--Raga, or melodic form, and Tala, or rhythmic cycle--within a strict set of guidelines. It takes years of work to master the art of moving with and ultimately beyond these rules to channel one’s individual creativity into the intricate beauty of a recording such as Prasad.
Deepak Ram is a highly gifted musician with a firm foundation in the traditions of North Indian classical music, as well as an inspired
versatility--straddling and ultimately doing away with the boundary that once divided East from West--that makes each of his projects uniquely his own.
Though quite young, Deepak Ram’s reputation already shines with the luster of a large and admiring audience. Among his many laurels are the award for Best Instrumental Album, South African Music Awards 2000. Ram has collaborated with renowned musicians in a variety of genres, from
jazz pianist Darius Brubeck to Tunisian ud player Dhafer Yousseff. He has performed throughout the world, including South Africa’s Millennium Concert on Robben Island before such illustrious audience members as presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. In addition to masterful
composition, arranging, and performance, Ram is also an accomplished teacher, most recently holding a post with the University of California,
Ram plays the bansuri, a bamboo flute whose origins date several thousand years back into India’s rich past, being the chosen instrument of Lord Krishna, its sweet, melancholy, yet joyful sound a manifestation of the divine.
Ram is accompanied on this recording by Swapan Chaudhuri on the tabla. Chaudhuri has shone in performances throughout the world, from San Francisco to Kuala Lumpur, both as accompanist as well as solo artist. Chaudhuri shares Ram’s rich classical background as well as his poetic grace and inspired elegance.
Prasad was recorded on October 11, 2001 in San Rafael, California.