Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti: Rakshasa (slapthemoon)

 |   |  1 min read

Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti: Main Tenu Yaad Aavanga
Simon Thacker's Svara-Kanti: Rakshasa (slapthemoon)

Elsewhere is always pleased to introduce interesting music from elsewhere . . . and this exceptional album is about as elsewhere as it gets.

British classical guitarist Simon Thacker is one of those well-traveled world citizens who has performed across Europe with various world music artists, leads his own ensembles which bridge the East/West divide, is passionate about Segovia, knows his jazz (and is a thrilling improviser as we shall see), here includes commissions from Terry Riley, British composer Nigel Osborne and India's Shirish Korde alongside his own work . . .

The small Svara-Kanti ensemble includes singer Japjit Kaur, violinist Jacqueline Shave and tabla player Sarvar Sabli . . . so we are in the world between contemporary classical, innovative Indian music and what can sometimes sound like Indo-gypsy jazz with a twist.

It is expansive, inclusive and thrillingly inventive, often unpredictable music which is grounded in many traditions (notably Indian folk) and -- hold your breath -- the title track at the end is a tour de force of backward/forward guitar sonics (over tabla, Tibetan singing bowls and waterphone) which is a real headphones trip. At six and a half minutes it is like a mini-raga inverted in from Mars.

Osborne's multi-part piece The Five Elements is a subtle suite from Ether through the whisper-thin opening of Air into Water, the tense Fire and into Earth -- and is the perfect lead-in to Riley's 14 minute centrepiece SwarAmant where scouring violin sears across the top of incendiary tabla and frantic acoustic guitar. Imagine the Kronos Quartet with Alla Rahka and a gypsy-jazz guitarist and you are almost close. Its mood, tempo and dynamic shifts will keep you enthralled.

Thacker's Multani is a mini-raga condensed into four and a half minutes and his adaptation of three Punjabi folksongs includes a hypnotically delightful love song and the evocative and exciting Shava Ghund Chuk Ke.

This 70 minute album -- in a beautiful and informative cover -- is a cleverly convoluted journey which will take you through Spain and the Middle East to northern India . . . and then in that final track send you out into the cosmos.

Yes, this is world music of a kind.

And most definitely elsewhere.

For more information about Simon Thacker's various projects and back-catalogue, or to purchase this album, go here.

Simon Thacker answers our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Afrobeast: Yaaba Funk (Sterns/Southbound)

Here's a true meltdown of many African styles from a multi-culti/multi-continent group from Brixton which pulls together juju guitars and a horn section, brings in some rolling Afrobeat percussion... > Read more



The mighty roots reggae band Katchafire out of Hamilton have been taking their exciting show around the world for over two decades now and they never fail to ignite a crowd. As they've clocked... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen (2002, dance mix)

Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen (2002, dance mix)

One of the more confusing and alarming posters I saw in Britain in 2012 was on a wall in Dover. It was this one, a DJ celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee -- and given the massive... > Read more

LINTON KWESI JOHNSON INTERVIEWED 2OO4: The poet speaks of tings and times a-changin'

LINTON KWESI JOHNSON INTERVIEWED 2OO4: The poet speaks of tings and times a-changin'

They were the happiest days of my life, the poet recalls as he sits in winter-blown London."I was born in a little town called Chapelton in rural Jamaica," he says with what could pass... > Read more