Goin back to Kashi
Savitris Tarana Featuring Bageshree Vaze
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Toronto-based tabla virtuoso Vineet Vyas’ musical path encompasses both the Canadian East Coast and one of the preeminent music traditions of India. Born into a family of Hindustani classical musicians in Nova Scotia, he began lessons on the tabla early.
Already showing promise, in 1987 his studies modulated to the next level. That year he began instruction in the traditional guru-shishya parampara manner with tabla master Pandit Kishan Maharaj in Varanasi, India. Vyas credits that intense training and sadhana (dedication) to his guru for enabling him to establish himself as a tabla musician on the international stage.
Vyas’ seven-track album Satyam, his third solo outing, was nominated for Global Recording of the Year at the 2023 (Canadian) East Coast Music Awards. Satyam – a Sanskrit concept referring to examining the truth – musically evokes the Hindu myth of princess Savitri, her husband prince Satyavan and their struggle with Yama, the goddess of death. Spoiler alert: after extensive musical conflict, the last track resolves in a peaceful coda.
While the record features Vyas’ tabla mastery throughout, Satyam also leans heavily on seven skilled musicians who provide melodies based on Hindustani ragas. They contextualize, support and sometimes also defy the often sonically dense and mathematically intense drumming. In addition to the gripping Savitri narrative, Ajay Prasanna (bansuri), Rajib Karmakar (sitar), Pankaj Mishra (sarangi), Justin Gray (electric bass) and Bageshree Vaze (vocals) make substantial contributions to Satyam’s success as a listen-through album.