Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Review--Bina & Pranav Mehta



Bina and Pranav Mehta

Cosmic Dawn (Bhajans of India)

Canyon Records


Bina and Pranav Mehta

Moonlit Taj (Ghazals of India)

Canyon Records


The folks at Canyon Records have started a new venture-The Canyon Explorer Series. This series, I am told, includes world music as well as, classical music performed by Native American musicians. My ears welcome both projects.

The recordings, Moonlit Taj and Cosmic Dawn by Indian classical vocalists, Bina & Pranav Mehta launch this new series. Moonlit Taj features one of my favorite Indian classical genres, Ghazals. For those folks who cannot get enough of Canadian Ghazal singer Kiran Ahluwalia, would also enjoy listening to Pranav and Bina's interpretation of this musical art form.

Backed by classical Indian instruments such as the bansuri flute, sitar, santoor, tabla, dholak and western instruments such as the vibraphone, keyboards, guitar..., the vocalists sing over lush instrumentation. Their vocals, another instrument, contributes heartfelt tenderness and clear tones. Bina and Pranav take turns handling lead vocals and so you can an equal fill of female and male Indian classical vocals. You also get an earful of some of India's hottest musicians such as Pandit Ronu Majumdar (flute). And arranger and conductor Ashit Desai offers a deft hand in the production.

Cosmic Dawn offers us devotional songs called Bhajans. These are musical offerings to a deity or deities. Similar instrumentation appears on this CD and it too is arranged and conducted by Ashit Desai (a mentor or Pranav). Again the vocals are superb and might just take listeners to new heights.

Canyon Records is off to a good start with this series. It will be interesting to hear what comes down the pike next.

Canyon Records