Music beyond borders
Violin maestro Dr L Subramaniam’s recently released double album ‘Beyond Borders’ features some of the legendary jazz exponents in collaboration with famed musicians and singers from all over the world
There is a reason why Dr L Subramaniam is called India's 'Paganini'. It is because he is as at ease playing Western music, whether classical or contemporary, as he is playing Indian Carnatic classical music in which he has trained. His recently released double-album, called 'Beyond Borders', features some legendary jazz exponents from all over the world and with some who are no longer with us. The list of collaborators mainly include from the world of jazz. Yet the music composed by the violin maestro is not confined to jazz, as the six songs released in volume one of the double-album are very different.
"It has taken me 20 years to compile the tracks" said the maestro, who has been confined to his home in Bangalore since March this year and yet he managed to coordinate the release of this album. The music was mixed in a studio in Poland and mastered in Los Angeles, USA.
He added, "It will be impossible to reproduce this music ever again as the music has been compiled over a period of many years and some of the artists are no more. The album includes music of three generations of musicians!"
The collaborating artists are from USA Europe and India and thus the title 'Beyond Borders' is appropriate. Truly the music defies conventional description and is not bound by region or genre. The title track which includes a video, features the late George Duke on piano and keyboards, 'Grammy' awardee Stanley Clarke on bass, American born now Switzerland based Billy Cobham on drums (acclaimed as 'fusion's greatest drummer'), Dr L Subramaniam on violin and Bindu Subramaniam with her voice.
'Necklace Road' has an upbeat feel to it as this is a foot-tapping, feel good and lounge music type track, but with the unmistakable 'Subramaniam' touch of a wistful and haunting Eastern feel that exists in most of his compositions. This track includes the French violinist Jean Luc Ponty on the violin as well.
'When it is dark' is a vocal piece sung by Bindu Subramaniam which is romantic and poignant. 'Times must change' is well named as it opens with the recitation of percussion beats 'konakol' and it keeps time as it were with our changing times. Celebrated American saxophonist Premik Russel Tubbs has an interesting piece to place here as the edgy music mixes well with the violin maestro's soulful strains.
The lullaby sung by Kavita Krishnamurty includes the great percussionist Sivamani.
'End of the tunnel' includes several legendary musicians of an earlier era - American jazz artists Herbie Hancock on the keyboard, Ernie Watts on saxophone, 'Grammy' awardee Jerry Watts Jr on bass and drummer David Garibaldi.
The violin maestro plans to release the second volume of the double album soon as well as release videos of some of the tracks.
"Video editing is a long process as each track takes more than three weeks" explained Dr L Subramaniam.
Getting so many masters to perform to his compositions is a huge feat. By creating seamless and cohesive music with international appeal is another feather in the cap of this great musician who truly straddles the worlds of Western and Indian music with equal poise.