prayer In Bhairavi By Asha Bhosle, Swapan Chaudhuri & Ali Akbar Khan On Apple Music
This 1996 album pairs two great Indian musicians with distinct musical backgrounds. The late sarod player Ali Akbar Khan was a master of Hindustani classical music, while the vocalist Asha Bhosle has sung songs from a variety of traditions in her lengthy career. (She’s best known as a Bollywood playback singer, a vocalist who records tracks for film actors to lip-sync to.) Performing material from the 16th to 18th century, the featured artists are accompanied by sarangi, sitar, cello, harmonium, and by Swapan Chaudhuri on tabla and pakawaj. The spotlight is primarily on Bhosle, with Khan providing introductions and accompaniment for her lovely voice rather than spinning out the lengthy improvisations he’s known for. “Guru Bandana In Desh Malhar” features a delicate instrumental opening that nicely sets the stage for Bhosle, whose tones bend and move in ways that organically grow out of Khan’s melodic statement. “Tarana In Adana,” the album’s shortest track, delights with its rippling percussion and vocal interplay, while “Prayer In Bhairavi” brings the album to a stately close.