Karakoram Highway (2011)
Malaysian band AkashA is quickly becoming one of the most interesting bands in the world fusion category. The multiethnic band has matured musically in these last two years and the new pieces are much tighter and engaging.
AkashA’s new album Karakoram Highway incorporates some of the various musical traditions of Malaysia: Malay rhythms and melodies; Indian sitar, tabla and konakol; and Chinese melodies. On top of that, AkashA adds Latin beats, flamenco rumba, Indian blues and jazz elements.
The line-up also reflects Malaysia’s diversity. Band members come from various ethnic groups and also include Australian expatriates. The current band includes Jamie Wilson on guitar; Kumar Karthigesu on sitar; Eric Li on piano and Keyboards; Greg Henderson on bass; Sivabalan S. Shanmuga Sundram on percussion and mridangam; Vick Ramakrishnan on percussion and tabla; and Mohd Shah Nizam Bin Azis on percussion.
Guest musicians on the album include Wang Lee Hom on violin; Mei Han on zheng; and Sonia Croucher on flute.
Karakoram Highway is an extraordinary album by one the rising stars of Southeast Asian world fusion.