Snow Leopard Meadow (Ahir Bhairav)
Cover art is hand silkscreened paper from Japan
1. Snow Leopard Meadow (Ahir Bhairav) (1998) 60.33
meruvina: kemanche, tabla, two tanpuras, Near Eastern, South American, Japanese and Chinese percussion
All music composed and programmed by Michael Robinson for performance and recording in real time without any overdubbing or added parts.
Musicians are welcome to perform this composition with acoustic and/or electronic instruments.
listen to Snow Leopard Meadow on YouTube
Clouds was completed in October 1998, and Snow Leopard Meadow was completed
in December 1998. They are both being released in March 1999 for the simple
reason that the artwork for their covers arrived at that time.
obvious similarity between the two compositions is that they both represent
my personal interpretation of two Indian ragas. By doing so, beginning with
Hamoa in 1995, I now realize that I have gradually, and unknowingly claimed
my "birth right" because the rock and jazz I love is largely a derivative
of Indian classical music.
took private lessons with Harihar Rao, the senior disciple of Ravi Shankar,
Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy, the renowned expert on Indian music and culture, Kala
Ramnath, a leading disciple of Jasraj, and, equally important, intensive listening,
analysis, and reading, to develop the "seeds" that had been planted
earlier in my life.
writing the liner notes for these new releases, I realized that the two ragas
my compositions are based on have exactly the opposite swaras!
are some of my general views: Indian classical music offers a vision of immortality,
and union with the perfection of nature. The raga form has developed over thousands
of years, originating in Vedic chants for myriad deities and manifestations
of the five elements: water, fire, earth, air, and space. Indian classical music
echoes the organic laws that create interaction between these elements.
this profound musical form has embraced, and continues to welcome a variety
of musical instruments, and approaches. Indian classical music has been both
a model, and a central source of inspiration for my own music.
is gratifying for me to hear Harihar Rao, who is also the President and Artistic Director of the Music Circle state: You are
reaching into the core of the spirit of Indian classical music, which is a spiritual
the same time, CDeMUSIC, noted: Spirituality lies behind the sounds of
is it possible that music performed by a computer, software, and sound module
[meruvina] can do this? One
possible explanation may be found in the words of legendary jazz pianist, Bill
Evans, who did not believe in copying, or imitating the music that inspired
him. He "tried to absorb the essence of it and apply it to something else." Recognizing
that his inspiration frequently came from musicians who were not pianists, Evans
added: "Its more the mind that thinks jazz than the instrument that plays
jazz which interests me."
Leopard Meadow was formed out of my enthusiasm for a video-taped performance
of Ahir Bhairav by Pandit Jasraj. The master vocalist was accompanied by three
tanpuras, tabla, violin, harmonium, and his own playing of the swaramandala,
resulting in a transcendental labyrinth of musical detail from which his divine
shifting of two swaras - komal dha and shuddha ni to shuddha dha and komal
ni - transforms Bhairav into Ahir Bhairav, and we have entered a different world!
There are other important distinctions between these two majestic ragas, as
Snow Leopard Meadow (Ahir Bhairav), I selected the bowed timbre of the Near
Eastern kemanche, along with tabla, and South American, Near Eastern, Japanese and Chinese
percussion. There is also a prominent tanpura presence that I have used in recent
snow leopards of Central Asia exist at the top of the food chain, and they are
in great danger of extinction due to encroachment into their territory, and
murder for their fur. More
direct and immediate action needs to be taken to enable these stunningly beautiful,
and solitary animals - they are almost never seen by humans until they are caught
in a trap, and were mythical mysteries for centuries - to survive, and flourish
in their natural environment, known as "The roof of the world."
- Michael Robinson, March 1999, Los Angeles
© 1999 Michael Robinson All rights reserved