1) Cocos nucifera, a drupacious palm fruit endemic to South India
2) an American born Indian who's brown on the outside, white on the inside, exploring his tender core, and exposing his nutty shell


If you're interested in global health, cultural conundrums, social innovations, and life in India then read on!

Oct 20, 2009

South Indian Carnatic Jazz Fusion Improvisation

Rarely will you see a band leader playing South Indian melodies on a Hawaiian slide guitar while the lead percussionist plays a clay pot sitting next to a visiting German guitarist battling with an Indian guitarist while the tabla and kanjira players keep the beat and the keyboardist rocks out in his corner. This is just one of the many eclectic ensembles created by Prakash Sontakke and group. Their group Confluence of Streams played in the hip Kyra Lounge on October 16th in Bangalore.

Two unique instruments featured in the performance are the the Ghatam and Kanjira. Ghatam-a Clay Pot Percussion Instrument shown in the photo below. Learn more about Ghatam here:

Kanjira-a South Indian frame drum in the tambourine family. It is made from the wood of the jackfruit tree and the skin of a monitor lizard (see photo below). During a performance the Kanjira player will sprinkle water on the skin to reduce the tension achieving a richer bass sound which is shown in the video below. Learn more about Kanjira here:

You can learn more about Carnatic musical instruments here:

While the instrumentation was superb, it was the vocal improvisation that stole the show. Enjoy this video montage of the musical performance highlighting Carnatic vocal improvisation where the musicians create a lyrical language and pass the verbal beat from person to person. This is my first mini video-reporting piece.

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