Rajamani

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Rajamani

Pakiam Between India's plaintive, melismatic chants, and the spirited rhythmic torch of Spain's flamenco, there's a lot of terrain to cover, and it turns out to be an easy trip for seasoned multi-instrumentalist Oliver Rajamani. The Indian-born Austinite has played with Grammy-winning fame drummer Glen Velez, local creative iconoclast Tina Marsh, and rumba superstars the Gipsy Kings, yet here Rajamani leads a blood-coursing local ensemble in songs that bridge this geographic and stylistic distance, his voice wrapping contemplative Indian melodies in raw flamenco mournfulness. Proof is evinced in the linear and meditative "Kismath (Fate)," wherein Rajamani uses a sarod, the Indian cross between a gut-stringed guitar, violin, and lap steel, made famous by Ali Akbar Khan. In other songs, this classical instrument joins the cajon, a wooden box drum used in flamenco, but originating in Peru. How world-music is that? Same, too, on the orchestrated, nearly 11-minute-long tone poem "Ali Ellam (Erase Everything)," and the clap-and-chant-hewn "Dom (Drum)," which takes on a decidedly Moroccan air. The majority influences here are Indian and Pakistani, from such masters as Akbar Khan and Pakistani vocal supernova Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but flamenco luminaries such as Paco de Lucía show up too. With a host of local talent augmenting Rajamani's efforts, and with Rajamani's manifest ability cooked in Austin's stew for a while, Pakiam is what Indian Nobel prize winning poet Rabindranath Tagore meant when he said, "I touch God in my song, as the hill touches the far away sea with its waterfall." Spiritual.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Sunday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Superfónicos
Suelta (Record Review)

Thomas Fawcett, Oct. 12, 2018

Texas Platters
Oliver Rajamani
Flamenco India (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Aug. 24, 2018

More by David Lynch
Rock & Roll Summer Reading
How Can I Keep From Singing?: The Ballad of Pete Seeger

May 30, 2008

Texas Platters
That Damned Band
999 Surreal Eyes (Record Review)

Feb. 15, 2008

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Oliver Rajamani

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle