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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

Sanjay Mishra

By Robert Kaye
Published October 5, 2007

Chateau Benares
AKAR Music

Guitarist/composer Sanjay Mishra’s double training in classical Indian and Western music traditions serves him well. On Chateau Benares, Mishra begins the album as he might a classical Indian concert, with a rubato solo improvisation, only played on electric guitar. In Mishra’s deft hands, it sounds like an ancient Indian instrument. The following cut, “Raindrum,” adds more rhythmic structure with the gentle undulations of a subtle non-cheesy electronic drum track. After this introductory diptych, “The Gateless Gate” gently jostles the listener out of any pleasant reverie that may have resulted with its quick guitar ostinato in 7/4, and the addition of a tabla player. The song undergoes a complete shift in feel, almost assuming the feel of a swinging jazz ballad, accented the lovely sounds of the bansuri (bamboo flute). Mishra is undoubtedly a talented guitarist and song craftsman, a name to watch, and listen to, for many years to come.