This CD features the great violinist KUNNAKUDI VAIDYANATHAN and his quintet who offer the listener eight pieces of extraordinary beauty.
Born in 1935 in the village of Kunnakudi in Tamil Nadu, KUNNAKUDI was fortunate enough to be brought up in a family where the father was a recognised expert in Hindu mythology, philosophy and music, as well as an accomplished singer-storyteller in the tradition of Harikhata. It was against this cultural background that KUNNAKUDI was able to develop his artistic talents. Though he only began studying violin at the relatively late age of eleven, after only a year he was already performing alongside affirmed singers. In the following years KUNNAKUDI went on to consolidate his reputation both as an instrumentalist and as a composer of devotional songs, performing in thousands of concerts either as a soloist or in duo with the percussionist Valayapatti Subramanian. From the 1970s until the early 80s KUNNAKUDI’s musical interests widened to include composing soundtracks to films in Tamil. Such incessant, activities have enabled him to build up a formidable musical experience while allowing him to court, in India at least, audiences unfamiliar with Indian classical music.
Vaulting with the strings in this sense represents an important statement of KUNNAKUDI’s musical language and ideas, which with no loss of the rigour that make him such a great artist, lend charm and simplicity to traditional sounds and compositions, through melodies and rhythms that will captivate lay as well as experienced listeners.
Aside from his musical knowledge and sensibility it is KUNNAKUDI’s astounding technique which makes such transformations possible, a technique that is sure to bewitch the listener. An absolute master of his instrument, KUNNAKUDI more than a daring acrobat can be compared to a chameleon capable of changing shape and colour in a single breath while keeping the music entirely in focus.
Right from the first track, Ninnu Kori, a simple piece which musicians normally use as a warm-up, it’s clear that we are in the presence of an exceptional artist. KUNNAKUDI juggles melodies, launches himself on improvisational flights, gives his unique touch to unusual rhythmic signatures and takes the listener to dizzy heights of rare and profound beauty, giving us the sensation of floating in an ether that buzzes with timbral and melodic nuances.