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Music Review - Rydhun Gold

Meena Sundaram
11/15/2005

(This article is sponsored by Sounds Of India)

Music review of Rydhun Gold

Rydhun Gold is a musical odyssey presented by Taufiq Qureshi, one of the sons of Ustad Alla Rakha. It is a tribute and a celebration of rhythm and percussion, its invigorating relationship with nature and emphasizes the natural beat of everyday sounds and activities.

      At the helm are the percussionists from his family, including Ustad Zakir Hussain, Taufiq himself, another brother Faizal with a number of accomplished vocalists ranging from Shankar Mahadevan,Geetika Varde, Deepak Borkar, Rajat Dholakia , Keshav Badge and many more.

      The sound of the album is fresh and contemporary with a strong element of classical rhythm and music with innovative arrangements of the material and a big dollop of techno-pop and folk.

      The first piece ½ to 16 begins with a slow soulful intro by the inimitable L. Shankar that wraps around the vocals of Geetika Varde. The pace quickens and proceeds to wind its way through many musical interludes to its fast-paced finish. A number of musical drones and rhythms are heard in this number giving it a surreal feel. A very interesting piece!

      “Ear to there” emphasizes gongs, bells and drums performed by Taufiq. Rajat Dholakia renders what sounds like a Gujarati folk song in the background.

      Transporting me back to my childhood in Mumbai is the sound of the lejhim, which is a hand bell that is played by groups of dancers. I have seen lejhim competitions and men and women marching in parades dancing to the irresistible beat of this instrument. “Jiji Rhy” is a throwback to those memories. With the typical Marathi tune and sound of Keshav Badge and the Lejhim group, this song is a journey into he past and a reminder of the joys of rhythm.

      Geetika Varde takes it away in “ Nand” with her singularly beautiful voice accompanied by the tranquil music of Taufiq Qureshi. She traverses the raga with aplomb and the effect is like a soothing balm. A lovely number! 

      The title track “Rydhun” features Shankar Mahadevan and Taufiq Qureshi with some background vocals. A classical number , it is a lively number with great balance and harmony between the vocals and the rhythm. The beat is vocalized, with Mr. Mahadevan improvising along. The overall effect is of great control, musicianship and most of all, JOY!

      “ The other rhythm” uses “bols” used by the tabla player as the lyrics of the song and seamlessly shifts from one to the other. Shankar Mahadevan delivers though this number is not as outstanding as Rydhun.

      “ The Rhy in you” uses natural sounds both external and internal. Think heartbeat, respiration , clapping of hands, thunderstorms and the like. This is the most innovative and free spirited of all the tracks.

      The Late Ustad Alla Rakha’s voice is resurrected in “Tree of Rhythm” with his distinctive voice presenting the bols with percussion performed by his 3 sons. The piece is interesting, but should have been left unplugged with the harmonium and tabla without all the western overlay for maximum impact.

      Rydhun is an interesting experiment by the first family of percussion and is a welcome addition to the world of innovative music. It does not conform to any preconceived principles and patterns but celebrates the freedom of music and the creative impulses that propel it forward.



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