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Gopal Shankar Misra
Out of Stillness
RealWorld (

CD cover With a range of five octaves, fretless board, four main and five secondary (drone) strings overlying thirteen sympathetic strings, the vichitra veena is a complex and flexible instrument. Set horizontally atop two resonant gourds, its timbre is reminiscent of the better known sitar. The veena family of chordophones is said to predate the sitar in Indian musical history. Following in his father, Lalmani Misra's, footsteps, Gopar Shankar took the vichitra veena out of its northern Indian classical music confines to a wider audience. On this recording, however, he goes back to its roots and plays accompanied only by a tanpura and tabla.

Impeccably recorded at RealWorld Studios right after a WOMAD appearance, this CD, sadly, is his final recording. Shortly after it was made, Dr. Gopal Shankar Misra died at a concert dedicated to his father. This album is a fine showcase for Misra's virtuosity and sensitivity as an ensemble player and leader. The raga are played with a tasteful mix of deliberation and spontaneity, with a satisfying emotional arc that characterize top-rank Indian classical performances. The sound quality and balance are excellent throughout. - John Cho

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