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Go: Organic Orchestra & Brooklyn Raga Massive: Ragmala: A Garland Of Ragas

Dan McClenaghan By

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World music pioneer and percussionist Adam Rudolph is the instigator and ringleader of Ragmala: A Garland of Ragas. Bringing together his Go: Organic Orchestra and the Brooklyn Raga Massive—forty world class musicians—he has created a "future orchestra," a blending of sounds of the Middle East, Africa, India and beyond. Inclusive is the key word.

The sound has been called a Bitches BrewMiles Davis (Columbia, 1970)—of the twenty-first century, but perhaps a more accurate comparison might be Alice Coltrane circa 1973, with her Journey to Satchidananda (Impulse! Records), painted, in Ragmala's case, from a broader palette. The music's influences wander all over the globe, underlain by the raga. The sitar sound is pervasive; the bubbling wash of percussion is a benevolent and soothing assault of the exotic—bata, caxixi, wood box surdo, mineiro, okonkolo, tabla and a dozen (at least) more.

Apart from the percussion, there are violins, a didgeridoo, making sure every continent (except Antarctica) makes an appearance. A bunch of reeds come and go. Then there is the midrigan, the chromatic tambin. There's brass, a devilish guitar, and a harp. Pinning down exactly what all of the individually-listed instruments are may require a Google search for those unfamiliar with the charms of World Music.

With forty musicians involved, Ragmala plays out as a (mostly) less than symphonic listening experience—not everybody is playing at once. The sound is airy, translucent, tranquil, with the bedrock of Indian classical music—again, for the most part. This is a sprawling, two-disc, two hour listening experience. Any observation about it will have a wonderful exception: "Glare Of The Tiger" with its bluesy organ and wailing guitar; the dense, driving "Savannahs."

"Melody is the Mother, Rhythm Is the Father" is written on the cover of the booklet included with the CD. Harmony isn't mentioned. Maybe harmony is—to take a concept from Western thought—the Holy Spirit. It seems apt.

Track Listing: CD 1: Mousa Azure; Rotations; Ecliptic; Savannahs; Shantha; Wandering Star; Ascent To Now; Lamentations; Dialectic; Thirteen Moons. CD 2: Glare of The Tiger; Reflective; Seven Pearls; We Grieve; Chakawali; Turiya; Syntactic Journey; Sunset Lake; Africa 21; Gone To Earth.

Personnel: Jay Ganhi: bansura; Arun Ramamurthy: violin; Trina Basu: violin; Samarth Nagarkar: vocal; Neel Murgai: rhythm sitar, overtone singing; Sameer Gupta: table; David Ellenbogen: electric rhythm guitar; AbhikMukherjee: sitar; Bala Skandan: mridangam; Mari Tanaka: tanpura; Kaoru Watanabe: flute, fue, noh kan; Michael Gentile: c flute; Sylvain Leroux: chromatic tambin, tambin, c flute; Ze Luis: flutes; Mariano Gil: bass flute;Avram Fefer: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Sean Sonderegger: reeds; Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon; Ivan Barenboim: b flat clarinet; Charles Burnham: violin; Julianne Carney Chung: violin; Sana Nagano: violin; Gwen Laster: violin; Richard Carr: violin; Stephanie Griffin: violin; Leco R4eis: contrabass; Graham Hayes: cornet, flugelhorn, kudu horn, bamboo vaccine; Stephen Hayes: cornet, flugelhorn, solo alto, pocket trumpet; didgeridoo, conch, kudu horn; Peter Zumma: trombone, didgeridoo, conch, kudu horn; Libby Schwartz: French horn; Mia Theodoratus: harp; Marco Cappelli: guitars; Alexis Marcelo: keyboards; Damon Banks: electric bass; Harris Eisenstadt: bata (iya, itoltele, okonkolo); Rogerio Baccato: caxixi, mineiro, temple blocks, bells, wood box surdo; Hamid Drake: drum kit, okonkolo; Adam Rudolph: iya, itolele; Hassan Hakmoun: sinter, vocal; Abderahim Hakmoun: qarqaba, vocal.

Title: Ragmala: A Garland Of Ragas | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Meta Records

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