Composed by Phil Scarff and performed by world-jazz ensemble Natraj, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! shines a contemporary light on historic artwork from India. The members of Natraj individually and collectively bring a wealth of experience exploring the intersection of jazz and global musical traditions. Their stunning performance showcased in this release is wide ranging, deep, and accessible, while firmly rooted in the rich tapestry of Indian classical music. RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! is part of a larger multimedia work created in collaboration with Indian classical dancer Jayshree Bala Rajamani, incorporating dance, music, spoken word, and projected images. It brings to life historic ragamala paintings, with each painting representing one Indian classical raga or melodic framework. Inspired by Modest Mussorgsky and his iconic work, Pictures at an Exhibition, Scarff threads the suite together with musical “promenades” that represent the viewer entering and moving about an art gallery, with each theme anticipating a painting or set of paintings to come. Whether heard on its own or experienced as a full multimedia performance, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! takes listeners on a compelling contemporary journey that celebrates classic ragamala paintings from India.
A signature sound deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition, the buoyant and soothing nature of Klezmer music speaks in a new tone in CELEBRATION MUSIC from Big Round Records. With pieces selected by renowned clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein and arranged for clarinet and string quartet by Ljova, Fiterstein and the critically acclaimed Muir String Quartet deftly handle the genre with passion and unbridled musicality, navigating both relaxing and exhilarating up-tempo passages with dynamism and verve. Historically performed by klezmer bands for major Jewish life events and celebrations in Eastern Europe and New York City, the style remains alive and well in this modern setting, arranged for the concert stage where audiences can enjoy its timeless, uplifting qualities.