Noisy Mama was indeed a meeting of continents as Carola Grey and her Indian band fused jazz and ragas to create an eclectic new sound, writes Sanjay Sree
As expected, Noisy Mama enthralled the audience with a stunning performance of classic Carnatic ragas augmented with jazz rock modes, perfectly blending the East and West. This meeting of the continents was rendered on the guitar, keyboard, bass and drums put together by the funky Carola Grey.
The stage was set ablaze with an array of intense instrumental fusion combinations. The evening started off with German drummer Carola creating an array of dynamics that set the mood for an evening of pulsating music. She followed it up with ‘Mad Razz’, a tight and precise combination of Carnatic ragas with modern jazz scales.
The next composition ‘Mad Chicks Fly’ had a point to make. “If you’ve been labelled mad, then you have nothing to lose. You can fly,” said Carola. This piece saw Palakkad Sreeram render a flute solo, Biju playing the sitar from his electronic keyboards and Naveen on bass.
When Carola travelled to Goa, she came up with ‘Road To Goa’, a composition that encompasses her musical travel experiences in India. Next up was ‘Sangeetham’, an original composition of late music director Raveendran that Biju first played to her. It lingered in her mind long enough for her to re-structure the tune by adding a few syllables of jazz and Carnatic accents. Sreeram then took over, with a konnakol and electronic hand drum solo.
When the drums spoke
For ‘Pot Talk’, John Anthony (of Karnatriix fame) came up with a guitar solo in the shadwidha marghini with the nasikabooshini scales. He was joined by Naveen on bass; this was followed by a drum solo by Carola who tamed the drumset, bringing out every minute sound possible by pounding it with her off-beats and cymbal accents.
Carola has spent some time in Chennai and is familiar with its energy, sound and peak-hour rush. ‘Chennai Moments’ was her tribute to the city. It started off with Biju’s soulful electronic sarangi solo intro on the keyboard. The concluding piece was the folksy ‘Ella Xorepsomai’. “A German drummer, playing with Indian musicians and performing a Greek folk song. Why not?” asked Carola, as she launched into the foot-tapping number.
The concert was supported by Goethe Zentrum.
(The writer is a freelance guitarist, musician and band player)
List of performers
Carola Grey: Drums, vocals, konnakol and compositions
John Anthony: Lead and rhythm guitars with vocals
Palakkad Sreeram: Vocals, flute, percussions and konnakol
Biju Paulose: Keyboards and percussions
Napier Peter Naveen Kumar: Bass and vocals