Healing Ragas Presented by Navaraj Gurung

Music Issue 58 Jul, 2010

As the title suggests, “ Healing Ragas”is all soothing music that’s good for
your mind, body and soul. A sitar accompanied by a tanpura introduces the first track and the music in fact, brings peace. A little later, Navaraj Gurung  joins in on the tabla. “Thankan” is a pahadi raga played in the ‘magic-mood’ and this raga brings deep relaxation; very enjoyable. It is an evening raga played in the Keharuwa Taal. The album has Uma Thapa on sitar, Umesh Pandit on bamboo flute, Mohan Sundar Shrestha on sarod, Norbu Sherpa on violin and Navaraj Gurung on tabla. Super flute playing by Pandit takes the music to another dimension, the resonating sound of his flute comparable to the flapping of a swan’s wings. This evening raga is the Hanswa (hanswa means swan) Dhwani played in the Teen Taal. The notes seem to glide through the scales effortlessly as he displays great technique in this beautiful raga.

The unique sound of the sarod, with practically no sustain, makes it an ideal classical instrument. It’s melancholy notes build up a special atmosphere that no other instrument can duplicate. Mohan Sundar Shrestha plays “Blue Dream”, a lighter form of Khamaj on his sarod. This is the Maaj Khamaj in the Aada Taal. “Deep Journey” on the other hand, is an excellent piece on violin. Norbu Sherpa makes the violin talk through its melancholy tones and the music takes one through joys and pains. This is an early morning raga played in the Keharuwa taal. The tone changes are remarkable.

The slide guitar found a place in Indian Classical music long ago and here Ishor Joshi's  technique in playing a raga dedicated to Shiva in “Shivaranjani” is laudable. His instrument sounds barely like a guitar as his fingers deftly swoop strained notes out of the strings. This is a late night raga played in the Dadra taal. Umesh Pandit then breathes life into his flute, playing a light evening raga, “Rebirth”. Played in the Dipchandi taal, the notes flow smoothly, thick and fast sometimes, and then long sustained notes follow. The rich tone of the flute evokes strong emotions.

The album ends with a light universal Dhun. Sunil Bardewa’s fast paced guitar solo brings us out of the melancholy mood set by the flute, sarod and violin. This is all joy and the music speaks of a new beginning, “New Breath”. The album takes us to the depths of our emotions and leaves us where we started. An excellent album for your collection.

Courtesy: Muzik Lounge, Thamel, Ph No: 4266080