Saath Saath, a progressive approach to Indian classical music

Purbayan and Rakesh will perform as a duo on August 14 at New York’s Carnegie Hall, accompanied by Ojas Adhiya on tabla and Taufiq Qureshi on percussion, and as a trio on August 20 in Jaipur…reports Asian Lite News

After releasing a stellar album ‘Unbounded — Abaad’ that featured legendary musicians like Bela Fleck and Ustad Zakir Hussain, Indian sitar player and composer Purbayan Chatterjee is set to release a new album ‘Saath Saath’ with flautist and lifelong friend, Rakesh Chaurasia.

On Wednesday, a new track ‘Yaman Drut’ — the second single from the seven-track album — was made available on streaming platforms.

‘Saath Saath’, which was recorded earlier this year in Mumbai, features seven ragas for morning and night and is set to be released on September 9. The record, co-written with flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, nephew of legendary flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, draws inspiration from the original spirit of the raga tradition and provides a beautiful aural experience.

Purbayan and Rakesh will perform as a duo on August 14 at New York’s Carnegie Hall, accompanied by Ojas Adhiya on tabla and Taufiq Qureshi on percussion, and as a trio on August 20 in Jaipur.

Purbayan’s music consistently strives to bridge cultures as he seeks out new voices and interprets the classical approach in novel and innovative ways. While ‘Saath Saath’ adheres most closely to the spirit and traditions of the ragas in style and sound, it is also an evolution from Purbayan’s progressive approach to Indian classical music, which began in earnest after a moment of epiphany during one of his many trips to California during the 1990s, when he’d make musical pilgrimage and immerse himself at the Ali Akbar College of Music, founded by the great sarod master, Ustad Ali Akbar.

Purbayan’s previous recording ‘Unbounded — Abaad’ from 2021 was a collaboration with banjo player Bela Fleck and the eminent Ustad Zakir Hussein, among many others, on a progressive jazz-rock opus.

‘Saath Saath’ was recorded in one or two takes, and the progression of the album follows the passage of day and night, with the first half of the album dedicated to the more soothing morning ragas and the latter night ragas, building to a crescendo like in ‘Yaman Drut’.

Purbayan and Rakesh have been friends for over two decades, and have steered a similar musical path, experimenting outside of the classical tradition. ‘Saath Saath’, which literally means ‘doing something together’, brings Purbayan and Rakesh’s chemistry and friendship to the forefront, and shows the intimate dynamism between the pair, two uniting souls, through their instruments, the sitar and the flute.

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