Personnel: Ali Akbar Khan (sarod); Jai Uttal (guitar); Swapan Chaudhuri (tabla); Alam Khan, James Pomerantz (tanpura).
Recorded at Studio D, Sausalito, California on March 22, 1998.
SWARA SAMRAT is a unique album of new recordings from the master of Hindustani music. Performing on the sarod, a lute-like instrument from Northern India, the 76-year-old Ali Akbar Khan continues to deliver expressive, ingeniously complex music. The first track on the recording is "Narayani Gauri: Alap," an evening raga that combines two traditional ragas, "Narayani" and "Gauri," to create a new composition that deepens with every hearing. Evening ragas are a time of quiet and solitude, usually performed at evening prayer. They help focus the day's energy toward devotion and detachment. On this new recording, Khan and his group, which includes tabla master Swapan Chaudhuri, find fresh inspiration in two ancient melodies and add a new jewel to the repertoire of essential Indian classical music. "Chandra Dhani: Alap" was composed by Khan in 1997 and seeks the musical balance between peace and joy. With world music star Jai Uttal on guitar, "Chandra Dhani: Gat" is an intense, exploratory piece of music that is perfect for meditation and personal reflection. SWARA SAMRAT is a worthy addition to Khan's enormous and influential body of work. The lavish liner notes include Khan's thoughts on the tracks and his reminiscences as a living legend of classical Indian music.