Ashwin Batish - Sitar Power II

by Lahri Bond

The Frank Zappa of the sitar has finally released his second volume of Sitar Power. It's been nine years and he has gotten even more experimental. From the dance floor friendly "Sitar Mania" to the Duane Eddy inspired "Surfing with the Sitarman," Batish twists and blasts open the conception of the East Indian traditional instrument.

Witness his treatment of the ragas; "Bilaval" and "Bhairavi" (arranged under the title "Misty"), as he slows them way down, thus highlighting their beautiful melodies. In fact, all the album titles are based on actual ragas, even some of the more far flung and ironic titles like "Cowboys and Indians," which is a nearly bluegrass treatment of the raga "Pahadi."

One of the albums most wonderful and more traditional sounding pieces is "Cerebral" where the younger Batish is joined by his father, grand master vocalist Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish for a nine minute opus of improv trading licks.

The albums closer shows Batish's mastery at the tabla drums as he and his father go for a no holds barred work out.

This article appeared in the Dirty Linnen Issue #58 (June/July '95). It is reprinted here with their permission. Special thanks to Paul Hartman and Cliff Furnald. Check out Dirty Linnen's Web site at

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