Monday, January 26, 2009

Gryphon, Shakti, Bayrakdarian: playlist for Beethoven's Breakfast January 19, 2008, Mondays at 6:30 am PST

1. Gryphon Trio: Trio in C Minor K. 548 from Mozart, the Complete Piano Trios (Analekta)

"The gryphon, a Greek mythological creature that was the guardian of treasure and symbolized the joining of cosmic energy and psychic force, reflects the group's interest in many genres of music" (from the liner notes). The Toronto-based Gryphon Trio plays contemporary and classical works.

2. Remember Shakti: Bell' Aria from Saturday Night in Bombay (Verve)

Remember Shakti is a group of Indian musicians led by tabla player Zakir Hussain and British guitarist John McLaughlin. In the early 1970's they formed the acoustic group Shakti and pioneered a fusion of jazz and Indian classical music. John McLaughlin, in the years before that, was a member of the Miles Davis bands that made the shocking Bitches Brew and the sublime In a Silent Way. Shakti broke up in the 1980's. McLaughlin and Hussain have worked creatively together and apart ever since to acquaint western and Indian music with each other. In fact they are among the founders of what we call "world music."

The group Remember Shakti was formed in 1997 with some of the original players and some new ones including the respected elder Hariprasad Chaurasia on flute. Here is a video of a small version of the group: .

3. Isabel Bayrakdarian : Spring, Mount Alakyaz, Striding Beaming, and Lullaby, from Gomidas Songs (Nonesuch)

Gomidas Vartabed (1869-1935) is known as the father of Armenian classical music. He was a survivor of the Armenian genocide of 1915, and in an attempt to save Armenian musical culture he took songs and dances of the Armenian peasantry and recreated them in a European classical format. The singer Isabel Bayrakdarian is an Armenian-Canadian who, in addition to being an up-and-coming opera star, holds a degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto and was featured on the movie soundtrack for “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and Atom Egoyan's "Ararat." For a stunning cultural experience watch her perform one of the songs from this CD, accompanied by four players of the duduk (an Armenian woodwind instrument of ancient origins), outdoors in an ancient ruin in Armenia, at

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