KARYSHMA Rocks The House At Wellesley
Music from East and West have been fused together before, but rarely with the integrity, passion, virtuosity and training that is heard from this talented group.
Karyshma’s web page has the following intro: “Karyshma’s music takes chances. The band brings together the intensity of rock, the improvisation of jazz, and the intricacies of India’s musical traditions.” Well, they sure did take chances at this concert, defying genres, offering a original, natural sound that is accessible to boot.
Their concert (on 3/4/04) at Wellesley College was part of the Asian awareness month celebrations. Featuring strong individual solos and an intense collective improvisation, Karyshma rocked the house! For this reviewer, it was indeed a totally invigorating musical experience.
Lead singer Falu began the concert with ‘Vande Mataram’, an invocative piece about the motherland and as her vocals soared so did the spirits of the listeners.
Karyshma had the audience eating out of their hands then on. Falu’s effortless rendering and easy charm belied the vibrant energy and the luscious undertone in her songs.
Karyshma comprising Falguni, Haril Pandya, Sandeep Swadia, Gaurav Shah, Soumya Chatterjee, Kenwood Dennard, Tony Gray and
Tak Tanaka performed several songs from their newly released debut album, ‘Nearly Home’. The tracks ‘Man’ and ‘Monster’ drew an enthusiastic response from the audience.
The versatility of the band was much in evidence as they sang Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali and English songs with equal ease and grace. They put forth a creative fusion of ancient styles and sounds of the Indian Sub-Continent, contemporized, fused and made accessible for both Indian and Western audiences.
Band member Sandeep Swadia amused the crowd with subliminal suggestions, (“buy the CD, buy the CD, …” subtle, huh?) and there was good natured ribbing among the band on stage with the amazingly talented guitarist Tak Tanaka as the brunt. This easy humor clearly endeared the gang to the public and this reviewer encountered many fans backstage after the show to chat with the performers. No big egos in this bunch. We sure hope they stay that way.
The multi talented Gaurav Shah was equally deft at the keyboard, on the bamboo flute and as a lead vocalist. He sang ‘Ae Mere Pyaare Watan’ (an old Manna Dey great from the Hindi film Kabuliwalah) rendering this reviewer all nostalgic, so evocative was his style.
Soumya Chetterjee’s showed great skill wielding the violin, the guitar and the microphone while versatile bass guitarist Tony Gray drew claps and appreciative hoots with his improvisational flights. The great Kenwood Dennard (Sting, Jaco Pastorius)
demonstrated his prowess on the drums creating dazzling rhythms melding influences of rock, jazz classical and plain old pop, resulting in a rousing amalgam of fiery beats and pulsating rhythms.
Presenting a highly explosive mixture of traditional Indian rhythms and Western melodies, Karyshma captured the remarkable essence of Indian classical and semi classical music. The band sounded cohesive, with good overall balance and inter-personal dynamics. (Watch out for a review of Karyshma’s new CD, ‘Nearly Home on lokvani.com very soon.)
Karyshma has been playing live since 1995 and have played over 300 concerts in Boston, NY, LA, DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Phoenix, Austin, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle and San Diego.
Check them out at www.karyshma.com
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