Deepa H Ramakrishnan
If after a concert or a movie, you return home with music on your lips, in your mind and heart, it means it has touched your soul. And the music did touch the soul. It was an evening of fusion — of Hindustani and Carnatic music by guitarist Nadaka and the Basavaraj Brothers who treated the audience with a scintillating performance.
THE INDIAN EXPRESS
- Sumithra Thangavelu
At quiet corner in dusty Auroville lies Nadaka's house, sunny, quaint and unassuming. Past the huge banyan tree shading the courtyard, baby turtles in a pond, flowers floating prettily in a bowl near the entrance, and a black cat that lazily rubs itself against our feet, a friend and I enter his tiny recording room built in red tiles and wood. The atmosphere here is pretty much like the musician himself traditional, but Not quite. Modern? Not really.
Nadaka, born in Quebec, Canada, and living in Auroville, Pondicherry, for the last thirty years, is known for his brand of music- a mix of Hindustani, carnatic, Jazz and
Meditative strands. And his guitar- which he designed and made himself, with a scalloped neck and mobile frets to adapt to the tones of Indian music.
- Allen Herbert
D.H.Lawrence once described the way a novel works as the process by which "the reader's sympathy flows and recoils". The basic building blocks of music may be equally simple, and yet what enormous variations in rhythm, texture, melody can be generated by gifted musicians.
Nadaka's music is impossible to classify. While a short caption on the back of the Living Colours describes this album as "an acoustic fusion of Indian classical with a contemporary feel" it is so much more than a fusion which suggests absorption; Here we find different traditions; Hindustani, Carnatic, Jazz--meshing seamlessly without losing their distinctness. We're in a unique zone where a traditional sitar introduction leads into Western-style guitar rhythms, where the flute can be quick-flight Carnatic one moment, smoky jazz the next; where the violin and the guitar can be percussive or achingly fragile, the tabla or Mridangam an almost solid wall of sound or a solitary questing voice. The different musical textures play off one another, interweave, the musical traditions cross-pollinate, as the music builds, holds climatically, before the violin, flute or guitar once again flies free like the soul refusing imprisonment in form.
Album reviewed by Alan Fark
Nadaka's plucky and youthful expatriation from Canada to India as a teen in order to immerse himself in the culture seems to have metaphorically foretold his subsequent musical explorations. He has delved not only into Indian musicology, but has also tinkered some technical innovations with the western guitar in order to adapt the instrument to accommodate microtonal scales of a hybridized musical style between Western and Indian traditions. As John McLaughlin had also found with his groundbreaking acoustic fusion group Shakti, the challenge of such hybridization is twofold. One is to expand the range of the guitar from 12 fixed Western semitones to an Indianized scale of 22 intervals within the octave, intervals intimately accessible to each other via the slurs and trills that define classical Indian music.
Nadaka - adding the right mix
Nadaka, after having enthralled lovers of Indian classical music by working alongside many renowned Indian musicians like A R Rahman, Vikku Vinayakram, Ganesh and Kumaresh, has yet again come out with three albums, 'The Lotus Trilogy' a three set of meditation music.
Nadaka, who was in Chennai last week for the preparation of the launch of his new album unwounded the successful musical pilgrimage he head undertaken. For him, The Lotus Trilogy is an 'interpretation of Indian music which has neither too much Carnatic nor Hindustani influences'.
The new album is based on acoustics and should be listened to in 'a silent and peaceful atmosphere without any disturbance as it contains a lot of subtleties' and Nadaka hopes that it will be a relief to people who suffer from the fast - paced life of today.
Happily, in the rousing world of East-West "fusion," there continues to be pioneering artists who experiment and successfully concoct their own worldly amalgams. The Beatles, Shakti/Remember Shakti, L. Shankar (& Gingger), L. Subramaniam, Ravi Shankars ground-breaking works, Curandero, Trilok Gurtu, Jonas Hellborg/Shawn Lane/Vinayakram Brothers, and Prasanna are among the top echelon of these fusionistic forerunners.
To that esteemed roster one may rightfully add the Quebec-born guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, Nadaka. Since moving to India three decades ago, he has immersed himself in both Indias music and philosophy. Which, given the depth of both disciplines, is saying much. Dedicated to the ideals of Indias revolutionary yogi, Sri Aurobindo, as a resident of the international settlement of Auroville in south India, Nadaka has been privileged to study with some Indias master musicians, including percussionists Vikku Vinayakram and Shivamani. In other words, Nadakas understanding of ragas and talas is an integral part of his being, not just a passing musical novelty.