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The ‘Fluid Piano’ is a creation of the British inventor Geoffrey Smith. Although it can be played in standard Western tuning, the performer has many options to bend notes and to play in individual (‘bespoke’) tunings, making it ideal for Indian music. The tone of each note can also be altered thanks to the instrument’s lower string tension. There’s even a Fluid Harp within the piano, which features a separate set of strings. Ustav Lal works within the North Indian Hindustani classical tradition. He opens with a morning raga, Raga Todi, its haunting aura created by a scale with three flattened notes. The famous ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’, one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite devotional songs, is played at a slower tempo than usual, and holds hints of Western Romanticism. The extended late-night Raga Bageshri slowly uncoils before the brief ‘Panihari’, based on a Rajasthani folk melody, explores delicious xylophone-like sounds.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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