Michael Robinson

Kokilapriya

Cover art is hand silkscreened paper from Japan

 

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1. Kokilapriya (2009) 37.33

meruvina: piano, Indian bells, rotating drum, rainstick, synthesizer, tanpura

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Kokilapriya is the eleventh mela of Karnatic music. It translates to mean “the one dear to the koel,” a South Asian bird. I found it to postulate mystery and exoticism; the filigree of connecting glissandi tethering sustained tones both sonorous in the bass tessitura and windbell-like in the upper registers. 
 
Kokilapriya is the fifth of nine alap compositions completed in 2009 and 2010 that share the same musical setting for the through-composed melodic voice sounded by a spare piano timbre. In effect, the result is as much Vedic Chant as music. The setting consists of a dramatic composite drone first used on Gangadhara (Bhupali) from 2002, combined with a single tanpura, Indian bells, rotating drum and rainstick.

The process of selecting which precise tone to use for shadja (tonic) for each particular raga is fascinating for me. Indian musicians use one tonal center for their entire life, but given the nature of the meruvina, I have used all twelve possibilities in my work. It is an intuitive process that filters the melodic personality of the raga together with my individual temperament, and I frequently am surprised where shadja turns up. Kokilapriya is based on D. 
 
- Michael Robinson, September 2010, Los Angeles 

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