Sitar master Purbayan Chatterjee teams up flute genius and composer Rakesh Chaurasia on their dazzling new album Saath Saath, a collection of seven ragas for morning and night. Along with releasing the album, the two artists are touring the U.S.
Talking about the concerts, Purbayan says, “We have designed the recording like a performance of our music. The record-like performance starts with a spiritual and Ad-Lib Alap & Jod followed by ragas matched with the time of day (per our tradition) and as the pieces of the recorded increment the performance rises to a crescendo with a relatively quieter end with raga Bhairavi.”
Even though the album is based on the Indian classical tradition, while he spent time in the U.S., Purbayan came under the sway of other musical genres, including jazz. Evidence of these influences is integrated into the album.
Recorded and filmed at “THE AUDIO GUYS” studios in Bombay on March 2022, Purbayan, who is fascinated by gear, explains, “I am a very dedicated user of my Buddha Systems microphone which was specially handcrafted by my friend Ashok in Germany. Apart from that Jai Krishnan and Aditya Srinivasan, the engineers have used some high-end ribbon microphones and I dare not give away their secrets!”
Appearing on the album with Purbayan and Rakesh are guest musicians Ojas Adhiva (table), and Taufiq Qureshi (percussion).
Highlights on Saath Saath include “Yaman Madhya Laya,” opening on a soft shimmering sitar, almost immediately followed by a warbling flute. As the sitar takes on brilliance and resonance, the flute adds antiphonal accents. When the syncopated percussion emerges, the rhythm takes on rounded tones.
“Yaman Drut” teems with potent beats and buoyant energy. Rakesh’s flute delivers optimistic colors, surging with bright energy as the sitar gleams, sending out delicious beams of rapid-fire tones.
“Madhuvanti” features a gorgeously dark flute, gliding gently as if entering the shadows of night, while the barely discernible buzzing of the sitar forms the backdrop. A personal favorite, “Shuddh Sarang” displays the luscious glittering twang of Purbayan’s sitar atop a percolating rhythmic pulse that adds residual motion.
Wonderfully wrought, brimming with luscious layers of intertwining flute and sitar leitmotifs, Saath Saath delivers exotic, mystical savors.
14th August New York, Carnegie Hall
15th – 16th Sept Charlotte, North Carolina, (only Purbayan Chatterjee)
17th Sept Charlotte, North Carolina, (Purbayan Chatterjee and Ojas Adhiya)
17th Sept Irvine, CA, Barclay Theater (only Rakesh Chaurasia)
18th Sept Atlanta, GA
23rd Sept Earlham College, Indiana
24th Sept Austin, TX, Bates Recital Hall
25th Sept Boston, MA Lexington Historical Society
30th Sept Chicago, IL, World Music Festival
1st Oct Scranton, PA, The theatre (only Purbayan Chatterjee and Ojas Adhiya)
2nd Oct Sunnyvale, CA
7th Oct Houston, TX, Matchbox4
8th Oct Los Angeles, CA, Herrick Memorial Chapel
9th Oct Minneapolis, MN, Recital Hall of St. Catherine University, Minnesota
16th Oct London, UK, Barbican Hall Darbar Festival
21st Oct Seattle, WA, Eastside Baha’i Center
22nd Oct Boulder, Colorado, The Dairy Center
23rd Oct New York, NY, Merkin Concert Hall