|Bird's First Flight
String tradition of the Kora (a 21-string West African harp), the Northern Indian Hindustani tradition of the Sitar and the Southern Indian Carnatic tradition of the Violin, converge in the album Strings Tradition. Besides the different cultures and instruments, Strings Tradition also brings together five versatile musicians. New York based Malian Kora master Mamadou Diabate comes from a Griot's family. His father, Djelimory Diabate, played the Kora and he is related to another great Kora player, Toumani Diabate. Renowned sitarist Ustad Shujaat Husain Khan, son and pupil of one of the greatest sitarist ever, Ustad Vilayat Khan, is a specialist of the singing style of the Sitar, Gayaki Ang. The inventive Southern India violinist Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan also comes from a musical family. Tablaist Gourishankar and Ghatam player Muraly Trichy round out the quintet. Diabate's 'Nyanafi' ('I miss you' in Manding language) opens Strings Tradition, and from the first second its organic flow and the ease of the gentle interplay between the Kora, Sitar and Violin are palpable as they explore and articulate beautifully on the romantic theme. Krishnan's Bird's First Flight transforms the classical Indian form of jugalbandhi-a playful competition that often ensues between the soloists at the ecstatic climax of the raga-for some high-voltage and amazing improvisations by Diabate, Khan and Krishnan, as they exchange joyfully rapid cadenzas. Khan's 'Himalayan Rain' leads the ensemble into much more meditative and introspective terrain. The composition is based on the popular folk song, 'Tere bina saajana, jaan me jaan aye na' used on countless Bollywood films. Khan gently recites the romantic lyrics while the ensemble patiently explores this touching melody. Diabate's short and optimistic 'Sigui Dyarra' concludes a unique collaboration that transcends boundaries, language and cultures, and demonstrate that music can suggest an intimate and trustworthy means for human interaction.