The second set of the historic, Ragas Live Festival 2016, live at Pioneer Works. Akshara (lit. imperishable, immutable, inalterable) is comprised of: Bala Skandan (mridangam), Arun Ramamurthy (violin), Trina Basu (violin), Jay Gandhi (bansuri), Kabilan Jeginathan (kanjira), Max ZT (dulcimer), Shivalik Ghoshal (tabla).
Akshara is an exciting dynamic percussion group rooted in Indian classical musical traditions. Comprised of virtuosic performers in Carnatic and Hindustani classical genres, Akshara performs an energetic blend of classical Indian melody and rhythm highlighted with solo and scale-based improvisations. The group performs original compositions by Bala Skandan, demonstrating the powerful and complex rhythmic structures inherent in South Indian classical music.
Debo band explores the rich and varied traditions of Ethiopian music with a dose of funk, punk and soul. With a large instrumental ensemble and a charismatic singer Bruck Tesfaye it all adds up to an undeniable party band. We got to hang with the leader of this amazing group, Danny Mekonnen and here excerpts of their upcoming album Ere Gobez (FPE Records; May 20, 2016). They’ll be playing in NYC with Antibalas May 18th at the Brooklyn Bowl.
As a lifelong fan of Shakti, hanging with V. Selvaganesh was a dream come true. Here the master percussionist V. Selvaganesh talks about his music and shares his experience with John McLaughlin’s Remember Shakti and other great collaborations. He breaks down the South Indian rhythmic system and we hear selections from his album Souhka. Our friend Arun Ramamuthy joins the discussion.
Born in Chennai to Grammy-winning musician Vikku Vinayakram, a former member of the original Shakti, he is the grandson of T. R. Harihara Sarma, who founded the Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya (Sri JGTV school) in Chenna
Selvaganesh first gained world fame through tours with John McLaughlin’s group,Remember Shakti. His debut international solo album, Soukha, was released in 2006 featuring all other regular members of Remember Shakti including John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, U. Srinivas and Shankar Mahadevan, as well as sitar player Niladri Kumar and Selvaganesh’s father T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram. He has also formed a new group called dr JSM, with the UK-based Goan songwriter/producer dr.Joel and the young Carnatic singer Mahesh.Their Indo-Celtic album entitled Turn on the dreams was released in the UK in 2005.
In 2012, Selvaganesh made his film directorial debut with Bodhai, a short film in Tamil. He also composed the soundtrack which was released in digital format by Saregama.
This was a meeting of musical royalty from Mauritania, vocalist Noura Mint Seymali, with her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly on fretless electric guitar collaborating for the first time with Brooklyn Raga Massive’s Jay Gandhi (bansuri flute) and Ehren Hanson (tabla).
It was a spontaneous and beautiful meeting of two musical worlds and very much inspired our whole Africa/India Series.
Orakel is an electro-acoustic project of Kora/oud player, Kane Mathis and tabla player, Roshni Samlal, who began their collaboration at the Brooklyn Raga Massive. Using electronic compositional elements of sound design, field recordings, and drones, they create a new context for traditional elements of Indian classical percussion and Kora repertoire.
In this very special podcast we speak with Banning Eyre and Thomas Mapfumo. Eyre’s critically acclaimed biography Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe has recently hit shelves and Banning takes us through the companion CD, providing a deep musical education of this towering figure. Later we’ll hear an interview I recorded with Thomas Mapfumo in Brooklyn in 2011.
This episode will broadacast on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY 11pm December 6, 2016 and stream at www.wkcr.org.
Thomas Mapfumo, the Lion of Zimbabwe, stands beside Fela Kuti, Youssou N’Dour and Franco as one of Africa’s greatest and most consequential composer/bandleaders. For over 40 years, he has merged ancient African traditions—especially that of the sacred, metal-pronged Shona mbira—into the currents of international music, from rock to reggae to rap. Mapfumo’s artfully barbed lyrics have targeted the racist regime of Ian Smith and the corrupt one of Robert Mugabe with equal resolve and courage. That’s the essence of chimurenga—the music of struggle: past, present and future.
To celebrate the upcoming release of her new album, From the Ground Up. musical polymath Hadar Noiberg brought her trio to Continental Records, to record a special live set just for us! This special podcast will also broadcast this week on the radio, WKCR 89.9 FM-NY and stream www.wkcr.org at 11pm EST on November 8.
It was really exciting to have her bring in an all star band:
With Phil Duke at the controls, we recorded 4 songs with Hadar Noiberg (flutes), Allison Miller (drums) and Haggai Cohen Milo, Double Bass. We also hung out with Hadar as she shares some gems from wide and varied musical journeys.