Toronto-based tabla player Vineet Vyas has an impressive pedigree, studying with Kishan Maharaj and playing with, among others, Amjad Ali Khan, Shahid Parvez and Purbayan Chatterjee. This is more than evident from the playing on display here, at times very much to the fore and elsewhere more subtle, but always beautifully embedded within the music. The album is based around the story of the goddess Savitri from the Mahabharata and her efforts to prevent the death of her husband Satyavan by the god Yama.
To help tell this, there is a wonderful set of supporting musicians, Ajay Prasanna and Rajib Karmakar on bansuri and sitar stand out, weaving sinuous lines around the tabla on ‘Savitri in the Forest’, but also listen for the sarangi player Pankaj Mishra (for example on ‘Goin Back to Kashi’ and ‘Displaced’). The album deviates from the more traditional opening tracks with the more ambient – and effective – ‘At Peace’, before resuming with a sparkling ten-beat piece with Kathak dance syllables voiced by Bageshree Vaze, who also returns for the tarana on track six. The album ends, appropriately, with ‘Battle With Yama’ where the tabla, sitar and bansuri take each other on with increasing virtuosity before the resolution and calmer coda.