Soul of the Esraj
by Benjy Wertheimer
Ancient-Future.Com 3000. Wolf Club Music. CD- $16.98:
Featured Sound File
Soul of the Esraj, by original Ancient Future member Benjy Wertheimer, is a musical canvas for the practices of healing arts, hatha yoga and meditation. While the album has its roots in the classical music of North India, elements of New Age and contemporary ambient musical styles have been included to build a multifaceted soundscape for each listener's spiritual journey.
The pieces on the CD feature the esraj (an instrument from North India that resembles a small sitar but is played with a bow) accompanied by instruments from around the world, including bass flute, Celtic harp, viola da gamba, voice, and guitar. Indian classical ragas (ancient melodic forms) are associated with a particular time of day, and the selections on Soul of the Esraj flow through a sequence based on the ragas from which they are derived.
In releasing Soul of the Esraj, Benjy would like to thank his beloved musical gurus Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussain for the precious gift of their teaching and their immeasurable and enduring contributions to students of Indian classical music around the world.
- Dawning. (12:47) David Michael accompanies the esraj on Celtic Harp in this celebration of awakenings, new beginnings, and the coming of the morning light.
- Zenith. (11:27) In concert with Randy Mead bass flute and the vocals of Heather Wertheimer, Zenith is an intimate exploration of the quiet mystery, heat, and power of midday. .
- Come The Darkness. (11:58) With its roots in the raga Darbari Kanra (an evening raga with a mood of romance, pathos, and joy), this selection explores the power and beauty that comes of embracing our pain and our shadow.
- Threshold Between Worlds. (13:07) With a heavy Persian influence, this piece reflects a return of light from the darkness, a rejuvenating second wind accompanied by the special sounds of David Michael on Celtic harp and Matthew Montfort on scalloped fretboard guitar (a steel string guitar modified to allow Indian-style musical ornaments).
- Meditation of the Night. (10:25) With a deep feeling of peace, the ethereal tones of the esraj and Tim Ellis on e-bow guitar draw the musical journey to a close.