The debut album by guitarist and composer Simon Thacker in duo with the acclaimed Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska creates a new instrumental alchemy to connect with the creative spirit of some of the world’s richest musical traditions.
Karmana is the first album to consist entirely of the work of one of Scotland’s most prescient and original musical voices. Its centrepiece is the epic six movement Karmana suite for guitar and cello: Sanskrit for "performing anything by means of magic" and inspired by the belief in music as a medium of transcendence, Indian, Spanish and Balkan influences are extended in flights of transcendent virtuosity and spiritual intensity.
The monumental 13 minute Ruaigidh Dorchadas/The Highland Widow’s Lament heralds a new frontier for Scottish music. One of the Scots song tradition’s most poignant melodies set in context with an instrumental narrative of up to 25 simultaneous guitars and 7 cellos, in a spiritual journey through eighty years of tumultuous Scottish history, from the Act of Union to the Highland Clearances. Beautifully sung by the incomparable Karine Polwart, it features huge textures and sonic detail, extending the backwards recording technique pioneered by Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, which Simon first memorably explored on his 2013 opus Rakshasa.
Karmana also features Simon’s reimaginings of one of the most beautiful Gaelic laments, An t-Iarla Diùrach, a Polish folk whirling dance cello feature, a unique take on the Romanian Roma song tradition featuring one of the Romany world’s finest exponents, singer/violinist Masha Natanson (who this year joined Justyna and Simon for an acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe run). The album closes with an explosive trio with Delhi born tabla master Sarvar Sabri.
Supported by Creative Scotland.
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