With this release, U.K.-born guitarist Chinmaya Dunster teams up with two virtuoso Indian classical musicians for a live performance of two morning ragas. The performances by Bikram Singh on the bamboo flute, Amano Manish on the slide guitar and Karunesh playing the claypot, are gentle and sweet. The recordings are quiet and Dunster parlays a highly respectable rendering of the ragas.
In all four of the tracks here, which amount to a solid hour of excellent meditation and relaxing music, the instruments are acoustic and very organic. The music was recorded live in India at dawn on a full moon morning. This is the time at which, according to tradition, Buddha reached enlightenment. It is also said to be the time at which he was both conceived and when he left his body.
The album is very consistent and has a lot of shakti flowing in the vibrations of each improvised note. The music is fairly simple and straight-forward in theory, but it is delivered with enough heart such that it just doesn’t matter. It succeeds in sustaining a quiet tranquil tone and allows the meditative process to unfold effortlessly. Personally, I felt a lot more of a Hindu-Yogic influence in the performance of the ragas, but the artwork suggests a Buddhist connection. Either way, there is plenty of bliss imbibed here. I enjoyed this CD; check it out.
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed a CD by Deuter, which I said “felt” Japanese due to the style and the instruments he used. This one is similar in many respects, but uses Indian instruments played by classical Indian musicians to give a very strong Indian feeling to the music.
From the cover: “Fusion maestro Chinmaya Dunster teams up with two virtuoso Indian classical musicians for a live performance of two morning ragas. The whole CD remains stately and tranquil, rooted in the meditative atmosphere surrounding dawn on a full moon night. This is hypnotic music to unwind to, to use as a background for a massage, and careful listening reveals a trance-like depth. Timeless.
There are only four tracks on this CD, all of which are between 13 and 16 minutes long. They are all “Moon themed,” with tracks called “New Moon”, “Waxing Moon”, “Full Moon”, and “Waning Moon.” To be honest, they all sound very much alike, and as the cover quote above states, it is very trance-inducing. This would be another excellent addition to a “meditation music” library. There is plenty of pleasing, relaxing background sound without a distracting tune, which is perfect for covering up outside noises while trying to meditate quietly.
I know some people call Indian music “whangy-twangy” due to the unique stringed instruments, and there is a lot of that here. If you are “anti-twang,” then you might want to skip this one. If, on the other hand, you are looking for authentic-sounding Indian music to make your meditations more “Eastern,” then give this one a try. It’s very soothing in my opinion, but it’s not going to put you to sleep. – Daily Buddhism (March 2008)