Vol. 2 Launch Event: "Apertures" Album Release with the Vagabonds Trio
VOL. 2 ISSUE 1
· RAJNA SWAMINATHAN
· GANAVYA DORAISWAMY
On May 12th, 2023, SAAG hosted a launch event for Vol. 2 at the Soapbox Gallery in Brooklyn, for which we were delighted to present the experimental and deeply moving musical compositions of the Vagabonds Trio: Rajna Swaminathan (mrudangam/voice), Ganavya (voice), and Utsav Lal (piano) who we had the pleasure of collaborating with a second time after his opening performance for In Grief, In Solidarity. They were joined partway by Miles Okazaki (guitar). To showcase musicians with such incredible musical range, a commitment to radicalism and social justice as expressed in the lyricism and melodies, and a deep rigor and discipline with their craft, was a true honor.
We hope you enjoy the recording of the live event and the improvisational way it shifted from the respective discographies of each member of the trio, shifting seamlessly from several languages, including Tamil, English, Urdu, and more.
Most of all, the performance celebrates the release of Rajna Swaminathan's new album Apertures (Ropeadope, Apr 28th), available to buy or stream now.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
A live performance by experimental Rajna Swaminathan, Ganavya & Utsav Lal.
UTSAV LAL is an Indian-American pianist-composer often known as the "Raga Pianist". Hailed by numerous media outlets as a ground-breaking performer, Lal has performed solo at the Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre, Kennedy Center, Steinway Hall, among others, and honored as a Young Steinway Artist, amongst others. He has collaborated with Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Winifred Horan, Australian Contemporary Circus Theatre CIRCA, Talvin Singh, George Brooks, Rajna Swaminathan, and has 7 solo records, including a historic world’s first album on the microtonal Fluid Piano (2016). Lal holds degrees in Contemporary Improvisation from the New England Conservatory of Music, and Jazz from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
RAJNA SWAMINATHAN is an acclaimed mrudangam artist, composer, and scholar. One of only a few women who play the mrudangam professionally, Rajna has extensive experience performing in the Karnatik music, bharatanatyam, and New York's jazz music scenes, developing experimental approaches to improvising on the mrudangam, piano, and voice. Her ensemble RAJAS has been received with much critical acclaim on both Of Agency and Abstraction (Biophilia Records, 2019) and Apertures (Ropeadope, 2023). Rajna has composed for the JACK Quartet, Del Sol Quartet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and played with Amir ElSaffar, Vijay Iyer, among many others. Rajna is an Assistant Professor of Music at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts. She holds a PhD in Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry from the Department of Music at Harvard.
GANAVYA DORAISWAMY is a critically-acclaimed vocalist, composer, and multidisciplinary scholar at the nexus of South Indian vocal styles & jazz/contemporary music. She is a co-founder of the We Have Voice Collective. Her recent works include composition and vocals for the film this body is so impermanent... (2021, dir. Peter Sellars); a 64-hour piece titled Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII - X (2019) continuously generated from the narrative of Zakaria Almoutlak, a Syrian with refugee status; Daughter of a Temple (2019), a 56’51” composed piece that drew from Alice Coltrane-Turiyasangitananda’s Monument Eternal; composition and vocals for Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra Chapter 7: The Goddess (2019, dir. Peter Sellars); collaborations with Wayne Shorter & Esperanza Spalding for the opera Iphigenia; and How To Cure A Ghost: The Album, songs made from Fariha Roisin’s poetry. She holds graduate degrees in ethnomusicology from UCLA, and Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry from Harvard. Her most recent album is Sister Idea (Ropeadope, 2023) with bassist and composer Munir Hossn.