Michael Robinson

Gamanapriya

Cover art is hand silkscreened paper from Japan

 

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"Exquisite" - Geeta Iyer ( yoga teacher living in India)

 

1. Gamanapriya (2009) 54.55

meruvina: piano, tabla, dholak, dhol, claves, ganza, cabasa, Indian bells, rotating drum, tanpura

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Gamanapriya is the fifty-third mela of Karnatic music. Its sound is most unusual to Western ears by virtue of having both komal rishaba and tivra madhyama. If one treats shuddha dhaivata as shadja, the illusion of both komal and shuddha gandhara coexisting is created, something that actually occurs in Raga Jog.

My intention here was to use the mela in its abstract form as a starting point, as opposed to studying the raga form of the mela, or its corresponding Hindustani raga.

Gamanapriya begins with alap for piano, Indian bells, rotating drum and tanpura. The atmosphere is rather mysterious given the other-worldly melodic material rendered without tempo, followed by Jhala and Jor.

Tabla, dholak and dhol form a composite drum that joins with piano and claves in the First Gat, a ganza is added in the Second Gat, and a cabasa appears in the Third Gat.

In contrast to the opening Alap, the following Jor, Jhala, and three gats impart a feeling of playfulness and fantasy. This is exactly the element of surprise I was hoping for when I decided to delve into the Melakartas, which from a distance appear rather cold and imposing. 

Fence Sounds is a recent writing of mine that includes Gamanapriya.

Gamanapriya was premiered on RTQE hosted by Gregory Taylor on WORT FM in Madison, Wisconsin.
 
- Michael Robinson, February 2010, Los Angeles

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