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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

Pandit Ronu Majumdar

By Nils Jacobson
Published October 5, 2007

Master Of The Indian Bansuri
ARC Music

A relative rarity in the North Indian music has penetrated Western markets, the bamboo flute emerged half a century ago in India as an important instrument on the concert stage. Since then, the bansuri has attracted its share of disciples, including Ronu Majumdar, a sometime fellow traveler with familiar names like Ravi Shankar, George Harrison and Ry Cooder and a most talented player in his own right. This four-track, hour-long recitation features the bansuri accompanied by pakhavaj (double-headed drum), tabla and an uncredited string drone instrument, and travels at an unhurried pace, allowing Ronu’s feathery notes to rise and fall with the wind. Without a doubt, this is pure meditation all the way. But Ronu makes the experience particularly rich because he enlivens his sweet, patient melodies with subtle, unexpected timbral and microtonal variation. It’s recommended that listeners take plenty of time with this one to absorb it properly.