Rain of ragas

November 03, 2007 12:00 am | Updated July 19, 2011 03:44 pm IST

The duo promises to create a contemporary sound while retaining a classical frame

Colour of Rain

Sikkil Gurucharan and

Anil Srinivasan

November 11, 7.15 p.m., The Music Academy

Accomplished western classical pianist Anil Srinivasan met rising Carnatic star Gurucharan from the acclaimed Sikkil family of flautists, when asked by their old school to come up with a children’s project. They tried raga Nasikabhushani together, on voice and strings. The result gripped them both so much that they decided to experiment more. The album Madirakshi was the first step.

Working to create contemporary sound in the classicist frame, as at Columbia University’s music department or the Juilliard School of Music, New York, Srinivasan was trying to push boundaries as far as he dared. He found that this exercise was happiest at home, with a Carnatic singer. Using the classical piano simultaneously as percussion and harmonic support, he brought out certain flavours in the raga-rooted essays of Gurucharan, without disrupting the basic principles of melody and harmony. No wonder jazz legend John McLaughlin declared that Madirakshi was “Devastatingly beautiful. This is not just an album or experiment, but a maturing of sound. These are new musicians, this is the new music. They have started creating a new genre, serious, substantive.”

Srinivasan and Gurucharan do not claim that they are creating a new genre. They continue to sing and play their own music from the east and the west. They also tremendously enjoy extending their skills together in aesthetically pleasing directions. A striking feature is the centre staging of the lyric, and allowing its emotional import to guide the search for sound. This November Fest concert is a premiere; much of the music will find its way into their next album. The two are joined by the violin (Mysore V. Srikanth), sarangi (Murad Ali Khan) and Spanish guitar (Vedanth Bharadwaj).

That amazing percussionist B. S. Purushotthaman supports them on the kanjira. Together the group paints the iridescent Colour of Rain.

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