I’m cheating this week; I confess. I’ve run out of sitar music and haven’t got round to purchasing any more yet. “Shame!” “Charlatan!” and more cries beginning with the phoneme sh..!
To fill the sitar shaped hole I’m posting Ganges Delta Blues by Ry Cooder and VM Bhatt from the album A Meeting by the River. This album was a collaboration between Cooder (no introduction necessary) and Hindustani classical musician VM Bhatt. It won the Grammy for Best World Music Album in 1993.
Bhatt plays the mohan vina, a modified 20-string archtop guitar of his own invention. It has twelve sympathetic strings, three melody strings and five drone strings and is played with a slide. Ry Cooder plays bottleneck guitar and percussion on the album is provided by Cooder’s son Joachim on dumbek and Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari on tabla.
The album was recorded live with no overdubs at Christ The King Chapel, St Anthony’s Seminary, Santa Barbara, California, in September 1992. The sound is gorgeous and the music miraculous; more so because the musicians had never met before the recording.