MAHIMA: Indian Hindustani Slide Guitarist Review - THE WIRE
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CD Review: MAHIMA
Mahima - Debashish Bhattacharya and Bob Brozman
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THE WIRE
1 June 2003

Debashish Bhattacharya and Bob Brozman: Mahima



Bob Brozman possesses the best passport that any peripatetic scholar of global music could hope to own in the lightning heft hand that animates his National steel guitar. Previous collaborations have taken him to Okinawa and La Réunion; Mahima finds him duetting with Indian innovator Debashish Bhattacharya, student of Brij Bhushan Kabra, who brought slide guitar into the Hindustani classical canon. The plectrum pairing ostensibly recalls Ry Cooder and VM Bhatt's A MEETING BY THE RIVER, a fine improvisation that sounds sorely in need of coffee when played next to MAHIMA. Though Indian ragas define the compositional template here, the improvisation intrinsic to that form very nearly disappears throughout these 11 tracks, so effortless is the dialogue between Bhattacharya and Brozman. The former's family is much in evidence, too, with brother Subhashis on tablas and sister Sutapa's vocals taking wing above the string interplay, a more celestial take on Indian film vocals. Bhattacharya has repurposed the slide guitar for raga performance, bringing the total number of strings to two dozen; and engineer Daniel Thomas's sparkling studio sound gives voice to each new string. Though the wit one associates with Brozman's picking (of his duets with Ledward Kapa'ana and René Lacaille) is slightly muted in the Subcontinental context, his energy and invention are undiminished. Two masters of the bent note, happy as a box of birds.

Bob Brozman - King of the National Guitar


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