SADHANA A Sadhana is a ritual prayer that can be in the form of chanted meditation .The purpose being to help to pacify the mind and remove internal and external obstacles. While this performance is not a sadhana in the exact sense, brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra are renowned for their ability to create heavenly music that soothes the mind, body and soul. These wonderful singers hail from the artistic quarter known as Kabir Chaura in the ancient city of Benares, and represent the tradition of Gharana named after the city. The lineage of Indian Classical Music germinated and evolved around various places of patronage and places of religious importance. Maintaining the finer nuances of the tradition, the term Gharana is basically the practice of carrying forward the rich cultural legacy of art from one family to another, which over the period of time has evolved into a system. The music tradition of Banares has been threaded together over centuries and generations by the sacred bond of 'Guru-Shishya' parampara whereby, the Guru (teacher) passes on his skill base to the Shishya (student). Devout Hindus consider Benares to be a city of enlightenment, where 'Lord Shiva' is said to have made his permanent abode since the dawn of creation. It's vibrant musical life has given birth to generations of brilliant kathak dancers, tabla, shehnai and sarangi players as well as many fine vocalists. Both Rajan and Sajan grew up in an atmosphere of intense musical learning, at first taking instruction from both their father, the late Hanuman Prasad and their uncle, Gopal Mishra. Blessed with melodious voices Rajan and Sajan made remarkable progress in their lessons, and were able to assimilate the essence of the age old Banares Gharana with consummate ease. Apart from learning the magnificent compositions which have been handed down through generations, an integral part of their training has been the analysis and appreciation of the music of great masters of the time, irrespective of distinctions such as gharana. The brothers were confident singers, and soon developed a beautiful understanding between them when they sang together. Finally, it was their natural musical talent that enabled their father to take the crucial decision to groom them as full-fledged vocalists. The hallmark of their style is the superb intonation, beautiful imagination and yet traditional approach to the music, in which they include old compositions as well as their own original music, using amazing vocal range and technique. They have been showered with numerous awards in India and are recognised all over the world for their artistry. The Mishra brothers define their music as an act of devotion and gratitude towards Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of Music and Learning. The richness and depth of their combined voices creates a sublime tonal texture. In their development of the raga in jugalbandi, or duet performance, they are able to mould and transform the mood of the listener. This double CD combines both live and studio performances, giving us an insight into the range of compositions which make up their vast repertoire, including some lesser heard but nonetheless authentic traditional ragas. The live performance was given on 1st January 2004, the opening night the 25th Saptak Festival, held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The recital begins with the popular Raga Hansadhwani, a South Indian raga that has been successfully absorbed into the North Indian music system over the last one hundred years. The composition is set to a slow rhythmic cycle of sixteen beats. It is followed by four faster compositions in the same raga concluding with a Tarana, 'dim dim tanana dere na' (track 5), a popular rhythmic compositional form which uses the syllables of tabla to make up it's verses. At times it is as if the two brothers are vying with each other in virtuosic melodic runs and flourishes. Disc 2 begins with compositions in ragas from the Kanada family, in response to a request from the audience. Originally a South Indian raga, centuries old Kanada has inspired many other ragas which have developed their own distinct characters, while using characteristic melodic phrases of the original. Some of them achieve this through the combination of two separate ragas, as with Shahana Kanada (CD 2; track 1) which demonstrates elements of both Shahana and Darbari Kanada. Both Suha and Sughrai are two separate daytime ragas which have been successfully joined to make an evening raga. North Indian Classical Music seeks to establish a close correlation with natural cycles and so evoking the emotions associated with them. Ragas are classified and performed not only to the times of the day, but also the seasons of the year, and are rendered according to the moods that are considered aesthetically compatible to them. 'Tu Hai Mohammad Shah' (track 5) is a composition attributed to Sadarang, a pioneer of the khayal form born in the seventeenth century. The studio session recorded in 2000 at the Virtual Studios (the Sense recording facility in Gujarat), features the soothing tones of Raga Jhinjhoti, and a composition set in a slow tempo jhaptaal, a ten beat rhythmic cycle. The session is concluded with a charming composition in Charukeshi, another popular raga borrowed from the repertoire of South India.