Indian culture has been able to preserve many of its peculiarities thru the centuries; in particular the musical tradition of Hindustan, that bases some of its principles on texts of the II century B.C., has arrived to us through the transmission of melodic structures (jatis) that are the current base of the modern Ragas theory. The Ragas theory is the fundamental element of the theory of Hindustani music, it is the background structure to every composition or improvisation. Raga is much more than a complex musical structure, it is part of the cosmic view of the existence. The Raga is in many ways seen as a living creature with a family (with fathers, mothers and children) or is related to the nine rasas (moods). Further on it is thought Ragas can cure some sickness or can provoke natural events. Ragas can only be performed in particular moments of the day. A badly performed Raga can rise disasters ...
STEPHEN JAMES and FEDERICO SANESI have experience the Indian way to the music directly for many years. Stephen JAMES, sarod, has studied first with Shri Vasant Rai and then with Pandit Ravi Shankar who recognized him as one of his best student. SANESI, well-known tabla player, has studied with Shanka Chatterjee, one of the best performer and teacher of this instrument.
Waiting for the Dawn is the first recording of this two musicians. It is not a presentation of some Ragas in the classical Indian style. JAMES and SANESI, after many years of study of the traditional technique are presenting a very personal approach to the tradition with their own composition and way to play.
As Western musicians we cannot deny their original culture, they explore the Raga following their own soul and vision. The Raga player has, since ever, the opportunity to enter in a musical continuum that include the entire chain of performers of that specific pattern and to add his own point of view. JAMES and SANESI are also part of this creative process adding their personal contribution to the development of the tradition.
Their three ragas, with all original compositions, are rendered in a not-conventional way, with original solutions, significant influences of the Western history to conjugate West and East in
a very subtle way. Their specific contribution is the ability they show to integrate original results within structure that remain traditional and pure.
In the Sixties Indian Music has fascinated and influenced not only the pop world (Beatles of course but also many others) but also serious composers such as Terry Riley and LaMonte Young. JAMES and SANESI with this work are walking the other direction showing as Western artists in a very serious way can interface with creative processes belonging to other culture. Waiting for the Dawn, that is at the same time into and out of the tradition is the proof of this possibility; a way to enter in the wonderful and inspiring world of the Indian music.
STEPHEN JAMES, sarod and violin, has played and recorded, among others, with Zakir Hussain, Faiyaz Khan, Shanka Chatterjee, Bill Laswell, Dave Torn, Nicky Skopelitis, Ira Coleman, Badal Roy, Mark Johnson.
THE SAROD is a North Indian string instrument similar to the guitar, but has no frets. There are 25 strings, 15 are only resonating strings abd are tuned differently for each raga. There are 2 main styles of playing sarod. One uses the first 3 fingers of the left hand, one uses only 2. Write JAMES in the booklet of the Cd: «In exploring the possibilities of sarod, I uses all four of my fingers. The traditional manner of sarod playing is one note - one finger at a time. While I have never seen or heard a sarod player deviate from this, I have found from my experience on guitar and violin many possibilities both for orthodox rag performance and for playing harmonic music on this incredible instrument».
FEDERICO SANESI has studied several different percussion instruments before specializing in tabla under the teaching of Pandit Shanka Chatterjee. He has collaborated, among the others, with Hariprasad Chaurasia, Vidur Mallik, Nishat Khan, Naria Sala Grau, Mangala Tiwari, Ali Abbas Khan, Amelia Cuni, Sainkho Namchylak, Dino Saluzzi, Paolo Fresu, Enzo Favata, Fabrizio De André, Ivano Fossati.