Akshara – In Time (Blue Skinned God Records, 2017)
In Time is the debut album by Akshara, a world fusion ensemble rooted in Carnatic music led by percussionist, vocalist and composer Bala Skandan.
Akshara is based in New York City and brings together musicians from various traditions, including Indian classical music, jazz and western classical.
Bala Skandan’s main instruments are the mridangam (South Indian barrel drum) and his voice used as a percussion instrument (konakkol). The ensemble includes two violinists, a cello player and hammered dulcimer performer, who deliver a fascinating mix of string sounds from diverse traditions.
Throughout In Time you’ll find a mix of highly complex rhythmic pieces featuring drums and vocal percussion, along with laid back moments focused on the strings and bansuri (Indian flute) melodies. These performances are new arrangements of classic ragas.
Personnel: Bala Skandan on mridangam and konnakkol; Arun Ramamurthy on violin; Trina Basu-Ramamurthy on violin; Nitin Mitta on tabla; Jay Gandhi on bansuri; Max ZT on hammered dulcimer; Dave Eggar on cello; Thejeswini Raj on konnakkol; Beenakumari Viju on konnakkol; Kabilan Jeganathan on kanjira; and Shrinath Viswanathan on konnakkol.
In Time features masterful genre-defying performances rooted in Carnatic music.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.