Destination: Out, an astounding mp3 blog devoted to mostly out-of-print free jazz and improv records, has been linked a few times on Ask, but never gotten the main-page exposure it deserves. Until now. The editors' selections are always interesting and written about well, and they're ready to go to the mat for the music. (The interview with Marsalis by the Bad Plus to which that's a response is also well worth reading.) But the real impetus for this post is only tangentially related to jazz: recently they got saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa to do a guest post on Indian (mostly Carnatic) music, and it won't be long before the links expire. Fall to! [more inside]
Ever heard a chitravina? It's a 21-stringed musical instrument from India, similar in appearance to the more widely-known veena, but with a sonic character all its own, due in large part to the fact that it's fretless, and it's played with a slide. Here's an NPR feature on the instrument's prime exponent, N. Ravikiran. [NOTE: embedded audio on that last link] [more inside]
With a pickup mounted on the body of the instrument just below the strings, Revathy Krishna, KP Sarada and Sivanandam and Jayanthi Kumaresh get an unexpectedly fat sound out of their veena. Rocking! The instrument is more often amplified with a microphone, in which case it sounds more like this performance by D. Balakrishna, who, as you'll hear, ain't no slouch, neither. And here Pichumani gets his groove on, no doubt about it. So, hey, two more raags for the road, courtesy of Rajeswari Padmanabhan. The second tune on her clip, by the way, has got some deep blues in it, so I'm thinking maybe Rajeswari might've been down to the crossroads at midnight... [NOTE: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
Queens of Carnatic singing: Nithyasree Mahadevan: 1, 2 and 3. Sudha Ragunathan: 1, 2, 3 and 4. And the legend of the legends, M.S. Subbulakshmi, in her film appearances from decades past: 1, 2 and 3, and as an elder stateswoman of Carnatic vocal artistry: 1, 2, 3 and 4.