Michael Robinson

Ramapriya

Cover art is handmade paper from India

 

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1. Alap 14.09

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

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2. First Gat 14.06

meruvina: piano, tabla, dholak, dhol, synthesizer, tanpura

 

 

3. Second Gat 14.10

meruvina: piano, tabla, dholak, dhol, synthesizer, tanpura

 

Ramapriya is the fifty-second mela of Karnatic music. I find its swaras wonderfully abstract, including the uncommon pairing of tivra madhyama and komal rishaba, also found in an earlier composition, Vachaspati. Another earlier composition, Snow Leopard Meadow, based on Ahir Bhairav, a raga introduced to me through awesome recordings by Pandit Jasraj, shares the swaras of Ramapriya, with the exception of madhyama in place of tivra madhayama. 
 
One of my favorite memories is walking though the Beverly Hills residential flats early on a sunny Saturday morning in autumn listening to the Pandit Jasraj studio recording of Ahir Bhairav, which is a Hindustani morning raga, and then going for breakfast at Nate N’Als, a long-time delicatessen in Beverly Hills. 
 
My rush of new compositions in 2009 and 2010 alternate between pure alap pieces and works with percussion. Ramapriya marries the two approaches by opening with an alap using the same setting as my group of nine alap compositions from this period, and adding two gats. Following the alap are medium and fast gats bringing in a composite drum part of tabla, dholak and dhol facing the piano voice. In contrast with the relatively rich texture of the alap, the medium gat is startling in its stark landscape, and the fast gat whirls in all directions upon itself like a kaleidoscope. 
 
- Michael Robinson, September 2010, Los Angeles 

© 2010 Michael Robinson All rights reserved