FRIDAY REVIEW

Music in harmony

ALBA ABCD 164 - Compact disc - Fusion - Twins - Eero Hameenniemi and Karaikudi R. Mani - Price not mentioned.

KARAIKKUDI R. MANI, one of the contemporary custodians of classical laya values and also a vidwan with a keen, innovative mind has brought out a CD that is the fusion between Carnatic music and the Western system. His counterpart, Eero Hameenniemi, is a prolific composer and popular teacher in Helsinki, Finland.

The two stalwarts got together in the premiere of Karaikkudi Mani's Layapriya programme in a Helsinki Philharmonic concert in 1997 and started working together. This compact disc includes excerpts of Mani's Srutilaya ensemble and Hameenniemi's ``Nada'' team at a public performance in Chennai in January 2001. The compositions of Hameenniemi titled, ``Music for Mani'' I to IV, in which the Indian scales blend perfectly with the Western harmony are absolutely delightful, even to ears that have a limited understanding of the western discipline.

But the piece de resistance is Mani's composition "Spicy Joy'' based on the popular seven-beat Misra Chapu Tala with elaborate rhythmic variations interspersed in the fabric. The drummers have effectively displayed their skills. The charming raga Behag is used to compose the piece. B. V. Balasai on the flute and Allam Durgaprasad on the gottuvadhyam have performed to perfection. V. S. Narasimhan, a well-respected music director is responsible for the music. Heikki Nikula, a bass clarionetist, Sampo a bass player, and Markus Ketola, bandleader and drummer, are the other artistes in the Finnish group. T. V. Vasan, one of our top ghatam vidwans and D. A. Srinivasan, a mridangist form part of the Indian combine. This disc is available at ``Layapriya," New no. 6, I Main Road, Jeth Nagar, Chennai-600028. — S. P.

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