|Duniya Project is a CD of exciting world music with a strong Indian influence from the bansuri (Indian flute) of Catherine Potter and the tabla playing of Subir Dev. The rhythms, melodies and sounds of India combine with the varied influences of the supporting cast of musicians, Lubo Alexandrov (guitars), Nicolas Caloia (double bass) and Thom Gossage (drums) as well as guest musicians Patrick Graham (percussion), Anjana Srinivasan (violin) and Jorge Martinez (guitar) to produce an interesting fusion of classical, jazz, contemporary, flamenco and middle eastern music.
The CD liner notes thank Catherine Potters teacher, world master bansuri educator and performer Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, one of India's most-respected musicians. She says, I am forever grateful to my teacher who has shown me the true meaning of Music. The love of music is displayed wonderfully in her playing on this magnificent sounding instrument. With a deeper tone than a traditional flute, Potter leads in the song Aube. She produces mystical rhythms, fast runs and glides that shift the feel and emotion of the song from excitement to pure pleasure. Hypnotic tabla beats and jazzy bass lines motivate the joyous love-in.
What sets this CD apart from others that explore or experiment in world music is the blending of styles that occurs so effortlessly. A traditional jazz bass player can take over and sound completely at home with the melody. Percussion, drums and tabla seamlessly interact, providing tasteful percussive fills that would fit any pleasing musical arrangement. Guitarist Alexandrov, who sounds classically-trained plays in his own style, with traditional chord changes and slight variations on runs. His improvisation provides imaginative accompaniment to Catherine Potter on bansuri. All of the musicians interconnect and contribute to the creation of this very special project that crosses all boundaries.
All of the compositions and arrangements are by Potter, this is an accomplishment in and of itself. Most sound like traditional Indian melodies, but a contemporary blending makes it fresh and innovative. Producer Ramachandra Borcar is given ample credit and was certainly a guiding light in staying the course toward a traditional sound. The recording and mix is superb, with all instruments sounding excellent. The song Kali noire is a nice mix of hand drumming playing off stick drumming with the bansuri gliding in and out of the playful rhythmic sparring. As the bansuri fades out, the choppy guitar licks of Alexandrov take over and lead the listener into the drummers battle that is the climax of this tune.
The guitar playing of Jorge Martinez creates a traditional Spanish flavour on Jaswandi, very nice playing and chord structure that makes you listen closely for the accompanying palmas (clapping) only to find a tabla low note in support. The more you listen to this CD, the more you appreciate the intricacy.
The flute is the symbol of the spiritual call, the call of divine love. Catherine Potter has discovered this in her Music. We should be thankful that she shares her buoyant spirit with us on the Duniya Project.
report by Paul J. Youngman KJA Jazz Advocate Oct. '06