Prasant Radhakrishnan,
Swara Sudha
(Sruthilaya, 2000)

Prasant Radhakrishnan is a young Indian expatriate musician who has quickly built a reputation for himself as an able interpreter of Carnatic music on saxophone. His first exposure to Indian music came during his school years in Phoenix, Ariz. Subsequently, he was introduced to a novel way of rendering traditional music from India's south by his guru Kadri Gopalnath -- the first artist to play Carnatic music on saxophone -- who took Prasant under his wing in 1996. Since then he has continued to study and perform with Shri Kadi during annual summer sabbaticals with the great master, but Prasant has also moved on playing solo and winning awards on his own account.

On Swara Sudha, Prasant demonstrates himself to be a versatile saxophonist, exhibiting an impressive technique and superb command of his instrument. The most outstanding composition is "Mohan Rama Mohana," a -- what must be exhausting -- 30-minute interpretation of an Indian composition in a "jazzy" mode. Prasant confidently straddles the musical styles of his adopted homeland America and ancestral India, because, apart from dressing Carnatic music in a contemporary jacket and playing in a variety of jazz ensembles, this prodigy has taken his musical explorations one step further by founding Elements, a Carnatic-jazz fusion group.

The merit of Swara Sudha lies in the seamless merger of a respectable Indian musical tradition with modern western instrumentation. It shows that one can be a contemporary artist and at the same time draw inspiration from tradition by delving into the millennia-old treasure trove of Indic culture.

- Rambles
written by Carool Kersten
published 28 August 2004

[ visit the artist's website ]