***Note: Radhakrishnan's most recent albums, both available on CDBABY and iTunes are:
East Facing (2007) cdbaby.com/prasant3
Duality (2005) cdbaby.com/prasant2
About the Artist:
Born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Prasant Radhakrishnan is an internationally acclaimed saxophonist in the style of South Indian Classical (Carnatic) Music. The saxophone was first adapted for Carnatic music by his legendary guru (teacher), Kadri Gopalnath. Often referred to as a prodigy of this saxophone style, Prasant had caught the attention of audiences worldwide in his performances with his guru and his solo performances by age 16. His style has been described as possessing technical fluidity as well as a mature depth of melodic phrasing beyond his years. In addition, Prasant has begun to change the minds of traditionalist Carnatic music listeners who feel that saxophone is an inherently loud and fast instrument, only capable of producing technical exercises. Reviews of Prasant's concerts in India have cited his thorough comprehension and display of "sowkhyam" or slow-tempo compositions in addition to all other tempos. Audiences and reviewers alike cite his complete control of the instrument to produce the intricate gamakas (ornamentations) in a melodic and subtle way. Due to the nature of his instrument and musicianship, Prasant has transformed several first-time listeners of South Indian music into enthusiasts. Prasant's performances have been described as mesmerizing, energetic, soothing, gripping and profound by audiences all over the world. At age 17, Prasant brought these qualities to his first recording: Swara Sudha.
About "Swara Sudha":
Prasant's first recorded effort (January 2000) was recorded "live" in Srutilaya studios without overdubbing or other such record production techniques. This lends itself to the improvisational nature of the music. Taking this further, Prasant was supported by top musicians in the South Indian Classical music scene. Embar S. Kannan on violin, is a disciple of the famous A. Kanyakumari, and is one of the leading young violinists today. Mannargudi A. Easwaran (mridungam), V. Suresh (ghatam) and B. Rajashekar (morsing/jews harp) are all senior exponents in their respective percussion instruments, and regularly perform with the highest level of artists, including Prasant's guru, Kadri Gopalnath. Needless to say, these musicians were playing Carnatic music on the highest level many years before Prasant was even born. This recording is thus, a rare one, featuring a young main artist on saxophone performing with the most senior and well-known musicians in the field.
About the Music:
South Indian classical (Carnatic) music is one of the two major classical music systems in India. As a classical music, rendering of classic compositions commands importance in any performance. However, the ability to improvise in various ways is equally important. Each composition is set to a raga (melodic picture or scale) and a tala (cycle of beats). Any given piece may start with a rendition of the raga by itself. The composition that follows leaves space for the artist to apply his/her own style within the moment of performance, causing no two performances to be the same. Within the composition, the opportunity for improvisation arises from a "take-off" point in the song. Here, the artists will partake in lively exchanges often ending in a climactic rhythmic cadenza which "lands" back into the composition again. While the types of improvisation mentioned may not be in all songs, they are part of the essential core of Carnatic music. Look for this type of improvisation in Vatapi #1 and Mohana Rama #4. Musical communication between artists is the fuel that drives performances in Carnatic music, as each subtle variation or improvisation by an artist is shadowed or complimented in the performance of the other musicians. "Swara Sudha" demonstrates this ideal through a profound and uplifting performance.
For Prasant's latest release on CDbaby see www.cdbaby.com/prasant2 . Also see www.prasantmusic.com for more info on Prasant.