CD Review: Master Drummer of India
ARC Music Productions Int. Ltd.
Master Drummer of India unveils those masters of Indian classical music that have been responsible for influencing the musical work and journey of the sarangi maestro Ustad Sabri Khan’s son: Ustad Sarvar Sabri. For many years Sabri has collaborated with internationally-acclaimed composers and musicians, always seeking to push the parameters of his Indian classical training. And now, Sabri has reached a milestone in his career: the release of his solo debut album from the label ARC Music Productions Int. Ltd.
The four-track musical arrangement was primarily influenced by the work, subjects and musical techniques of the Indian classical instrumentalist Ustad Bundu Khan - a guru that had been trained in the Ajara gharana. The first track, which is named after this teacher, ‘Taal Bundu Khani’, is quite distinct and unusual in that it has been composed using an eight and a half beat cycle and played in a slow tempo. The remaining three creations have been influenced by the musical work and styles of gurus such as Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan (Delhi gharana) and Karaat Ullah Khan (Farukhabad gharana). Thus, it is the inspiration of these renowned musicians that can be observed in compositions such as ‘Taal Farodust’ (14-beat cycle), ‘Teentaal’ (16-beat cycle) and ‘Dadra’ (6-beat cycle).
Yet, the most interesting features of this CD album come to light through the high quality of the sound recording. It is as a result of this that one is able to hear the distinct movements and resonating sounds of Sabri’s fingers playing the tabla. Further, through the combination of Sabri’s vocalisations, his contrast in tempo, the use of the harmonium and tanpura as played by Pandit Vishwa Prakash, this musical composition demonstrates how Sabri’s classical training is able to break the boundaries of the ‘past’ in order to take his musical systems and techniques on a further voyage into the twenty-first century, without forgetting or even neglecting his influential gurus or breaking-away from his roots of tradition. And thus, Master Drummer of India reflects an excitement of Sabri’s experimentation with Indian classical music.