With all it's sensitivity and subtley, The Inner Voice is Alif Laila's 'music'. Through this medium she aspires to paint a picture of emotions and expressions that surpasses words and images. Alif weaves a delicate and melodious tapestry of Indian classical music with the intricate patterns and techniques of the art of sitar playing. All three ragas: Charukeshi, Piloo and Manj Khamaj, played in this album, have romantic, soothing moods. The fluidity of each one of them have been portrayed by Alif's playing sensitive style and compositions. The first track is Raga Charukeshi, originally a South Indian raga popularized in North Indain music by Ravi Shankar. Like most other traditional ragas of Indian classical music, it does not have a very fixed melodic structure. The artist has to sync with the mood of the raga to bring out the feeling from within. The depth of the raga is brought about with completely merging oneself to the energy of the raga itself, which can lead to many different facets of it. The first part of the composition is fixed to a seven beats rhythmic cycle named 'Rupak taal' followed by a sixteen beat rhythmic cycle named 'Teentaal' and ends with a very fast rendering in Indian classical string instruments called 'Jhala'. The second raga, Piloo is a very romantic and sensuous melody. It is considered as a 'light classical' raga. The expression of the true character of the raga is largely dependent on the masterful artistry of minute technical mastery. The 'meend' (lateral pulling), creating voice-like tones are used by Alif with the right balance and virtuosity. The result of which makes the melody most appealing. The third track is Raga Manj Khamaj, another very deep and romantic raga. Again, the 'meends' and delicate plucking tecniques that Alif used so masterfully enhanced the feeling of the melody and composition. About Alif: She is a creative sitar artist who is able to convey her innermost feelings spontaneously with the Indian classical music in sitar. Her intial training started in the 'Senia Maihar Gharana' (school of music), in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Ustad Mir Qasem Khan, nephwe of Ustad Allaudin Khan (founder of the school of music). She later took guidance from Krishna Bhatt, Partha Chatterjeeand at present, Kushal Das. Alif has performd and recorded all over the world with leading percussionists. She has also directed and producedclassical sitar muisc films, including 'Hrydayaragam' (featured in the Smithsonian Institution in 2007). and 'Strings of Resonance',nominated for best Classical Music Award in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2010. She has six Cds to her credit. Her latest CD 'I Am a River' (2011) is a fine collaboration with Jazz saxophne and tabla.
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