Posted on May 25, 2013 at 4:41 am

Music What's Happenin'

Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti: Debut Album Release: RAKSHASA

“Contemporary classical sensibility, heated flurries of flamenco, cosmic deliberations from ancient Vedic texts and a hastily admitted youthful infatuation with heavy metal… you get it all with the powerful East-West fusion ensemble led by eclectically-minded Scots classical guitarist Simon Thacker” The Scotsman

Indian/Western supergroup Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti release their debut album Rakshasa on May 14th, setting a new benchmark for intercultural collaboration with world premieres of 73 minutes of stunning, accessible new music written for them by some of the world’s greatest music creators, including legendary US pioneer Terry Riley, India’s Shirish Korde, Scotland’s Nigel Osborne and visionary guitar virtuoso Simon Thacker.

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World premiere recordings of:
Simon Thacker: Dhumaketu (guitar/violin/tabla)
Nigel Osborne: The Five Elements (quartet)
Terry Riley: SwarAmant (guitar/violin/tabla)
Shirish Korde: Anusvara – 6th Prism (quartet)
Simon Thacker: Svaranjali (guitar/tabla)
Simon Thacker: Multani (guitar/violin/tabla)
Three Punjabi folksongs, reimagined by Simon Thacker (quartet)
Simon Thacker: Rakshasa (multi tracked backwards and forwards guitars/tabla/Tibetan singing bowls/waterphone)

Each of the composers has a unique perspective and experience on the richness, contrasts and confluences between Western and South Asian culture. You will hear elements of the North and South Indian classical systems transformed, Punjabi folk reimagined, the immense expressive possibilities of ragas extended with Western harmonic explorations, the subversion of the customary composition/improvisation relationships in Indian and Western music, the backwards guitar recording technique pioneered by the Beatles (among others) brought to its culmination in the title track, the combining of the explosive Indian rhythmic systems with the boundless searching of cutting edge Western classical and jazz, as well as inspiration from sources as diverse as Heavy Metal, Flamenco, Blues, Indonesia and Jimi Hendrix.

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Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti features Thacker’s unique synthesis of world traditions and contemporary innovation on the guitar with the beautiful voice of Japjit Kaur, leader/director of Britten Sinfonia Jacqueline Shave on violin and renowned tabla (Indian percussion) master Sarvar Sabri, who has a musical lineage stretching back ten generations to the Royal Court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Working with some of the most distinctive compositional voices of today they have created one of the most successful, wide ranging and ambitious intercultural programmes ever assembled, refreshingly listenable yet effortlessly redefining the limits of Indian/Western collaboration.

“Simon Thacker’s compositions and reworkings demonstrate his skill and sensitivity in the teeth of what amounts to a considerably complex and original journey with little precedent. His mastery of the guitar allows him to pilot the ensemble through unchartered waters with great conviction.” Edinburghguide.com