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CD Review: MAHIMA
Mahima - Debashish Bhattacharya and Bob Brozman
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SONGLINES
July/August 2003

Debashish Bhattacharya and Bob Brozman: MAHIMA

A hugely enjoyable and energetic meeting of slide-guitar greats from East and West


By MATT SWAINE



Slide guitar was born in Hawaii but has found its way into many styles and regions, including India, where Debashish Bhattacharya has achieved new heights of technical mastery on the instrument Because it's not restricted by frets, slide guitar can produce the micro-tones required for traditional Eastern music. And by adding a further 18 strings, Debashish has created a unique guitar that can match the drones and intricate expressions of more established Indian instruments such as sarod and sitar. On this album he showcases his playing alongside Hawaiian guitar ace - and veteran world music researcher, recordist, and fusioneer - Bob Brozman.

Half the fun is trying to work out who is playing what. While Bhattacharya's guitar style comes to the fore, there are unmistakably bluesy touches that are pure Brozman. They meet somewhere mid-Pacific with a furious flurry of guitar lines that blur the boundaries between East and West. Bhattacharya is also a ferociously talented vocalist and on 'Tagore Street Blues' he matches his own intricate playing note for note - a kind of one-man dueling banjos and a breathtaking musical high-wire act. But then musicality obviously runs in the family: the immensely playful 'Digi Digi Dom Dom' features the exquisite singing of his sister Sutapa while their brother Subhashis spreads his tabla mastery right across the album.

As with anything that Brozman touches, MAHIMA is bubbling over with the sheer joy of music-making - a highlight of the year so far.

Bob Brozman - King of the National Guitar


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