Prasanna – All-Terrain Guitar

by Michael Rampa

prasanna_all-terrain-guitarThere are plenty of guitar gods that go by a single name moniker. Jimi, Eric and Eddie to name a few. But if you expand your search to the eastern hemisphere, an unfamiliar name will qualify. If you don’t know about Prasanna, prepare to be terrified,” says guitar icon Guthrie Govan of the visionary guitarist who “plays like nobody on the planet” (All About Jazz)   The Indian Renaissance man is a pioneer of Indian Carnatic music. The style consists of 72 melodic cycles called ragas and seven rhythmic cycles (talas) Sound complicated? It is. Some say it is downright inaccessible.

But Prasanna has mastered the art of translating the ancient music into an amalgam of more traditional genres that make “All Terrain Guitar,” his most adventurous album to date, a listener friendly 57 minute effort. It is a lavish jazzy soundscape that is punctuated by elements of rock, blues, funk and even EDM. There are some thrash metal and funk riffs on “Pinching Pennies In Monaco” while “Lava” is a Hendrix-esque number punctuated by authoritative sax. In fact, he has a Carnatic fusion Hendrix tribute album in his discography titled “Electric Ganesha Land.”

Vocals are featured in Carnatic music and Shalini Lakshmi and Natalie John handle them throughout with haunting, powerful chants. These tracks will ring of familiarity to the western ear as they are reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s use of African musician Youssou N’Dour on “In Your Eyes” and “Biko.”  Prasanna cites Frank Zappa and Illayaraja as influences for their ability to bring together diverse styles of music. Indeed, it  is hard to discern that the root of this music, all of it with a thoroughly modern feel and some of it radio friendly,  dates back to the fifth century.

For more, visit guitarprasanna.com

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