Drums of the North

GaPa - Imaginaria
GaPa – Imaginaria

Imaginaria (independent release, 2004)

The Canadian duo GaPa, Patrick Graham and Ganesh Anandan have been exploring various percussion techniques, specializing in improvisation and finger drumming since 1998. They have explored beats and rhythms from Central Asia, Japan, Ireland, and the Mediterranean region and have been heavily influenced by the Carnatic tradition of south India. GaPa has collaborated with numerous musicians, ranging from choreographers to alternative-electronica projects.

Ganesh who was born in Bangalore city, south India who studied with teachers in India and Canada has worked with numerous artists including filmmaker Robert Lepage, guitarist Bob Brozman, T.N. Shashikumar and others. Canadian born Patrick also studied with several teachers, several disciplines and at several locations. He has performed, toured and recorded with an array of international artists, while garnering impressive credentials along the way.GaPa’s Imaginaria is ppropriately titled since the tracks on this recording take an imaginative excursion into a realm of exotic and domestic (home-made) percussion.

The two percussionists recall children that have been set loose in a candy store as they improvise on their instruments thus creating enticing poly rhythms. They request that listeners turn up the volume, quickening pulses and holding bodies hostage. The percussion that is featured here includes, cow bells, cymbals, floor toms, Javanese gongs, Chinese gongs, flower pots, porcelain bowls, Chinese temple blocks, bodhran, a shruti metallophone and other rhythmic toys.

The duo along with guests musicians vocalist/Japanese hand drummer Takinojo Mochizuki, Japanese flautist Kohei Nishikawa (Five Sounds), Toronto-based violinist Oliver Schroer (Alap & Yellow Mala) and guitarist Rainer Wiens (Underwater) explore at times, unworldly sounds and rhythmic textures.Funky M creates grooves sans electronic drums and could be called vocal less hip hop that gives, fingers, palms and arms an intense workout. Five Sounds conjures up images of taking a walk through a
Japanese garden during a raging storm or scenes from Akira Kurosawa’s Rashonon, black & white, slightly grainy portraying various themes. Marionette features Ganesh playing a set of tuned Javanese gongs and Patrick delivering beats on a multi-percussion set containing shimejishi, daiko, Chinese blocks, a floor tom, Chinese cymbal and bamboo wind chimes. I am told this piece was improvised and recorded in one take. On an another imaginative piece, Enfance, Ganesh plays a set of tuned earth ware flower pots and Patrick plays a set of Chinese porcelain bowls tuned with water. He uses the same bowls tuned differently on the dissonant, Underwater which also features co-composer Rainer
on “prepared guitar” (he placed pieces of wood and metal on the strings of his electric guitar), recalling the work of the experimental American composer John Cage.The tuning used on Enfance and Underwater is based on Ganesh’s research on the south Indian shruti system. In regard to the song Enfance, Patrick confessed “it took much effort to get the 2 sets of instruments in tune with one another. Actually the ‘out-of-tune’ character of the home-made instruments is what makes them so
appealing.” Percussionists, dancers as well as, experimental/improvisational musicians will also find
Imaginaria appealing.