L. Subramaniam
Global Fusion
Detour Records (www.erato.com)

About half of this CD consists of two Shakti-ish sounding pieces with Jorge Strunz on guitar along with various vocalists and percussionists. The mood is generally restrained, although there are moments of fiery playing from Mani and Strunz, as well as some nice percussion exchanges on "Harmony of the Hearts", which is further carried along by a hypnotic vocal chant led by Mani's daughter Seetaa. The other three pieces include a duet with koto, a trio with erhu and tablas, and an ensemble piece with Balinese vocalists (performing part of the monkey chant) and African percussion. Despite the range of influences, the basic rhythmic and melodic structures are rooted in India; Subramaniam isn't faced with the problem of adapting his playing to fit different templates. There's sensitive and soulful playing from all the musicians, and the combination of the violin with instruments like the koto and erhu makes for an intriguing mix. - Joe Grossman

Buy it at cdroots.com

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