• Ashwini Bhide

In the opening minute of her 2006 album Sandhya (Sense World Music) Indian classical singer Ashwini Bhide hits a series of notes in a stream of wordless singing that harmonize so eerily with her own tampura drone that I got chills for a few seconds. Now, such precision and artistry are commonplace in a discipline as rigorous as Indian classical music, but most performances usually take a while to strike such a chord. It could just be that I was playing the album loud or I that was in exactly the right mood, but it doesn’t seem fair to remove Bhide from the equation—she’s got a three-octave range and ridiculous technique that she controls with restraint and dignity.