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Sandeep Narayan & Tao Issaro – Nirkaaya: Score Indie Reviews

Reviewer Rating:

Sandeep Narayan is regarded as one of the leading vocalists of Carnatic music today. He had his initial training from his mother, Smt. Shubha Narayan, and at the age of 11, took a break from his academic education to undergo advanced training from the revered musicologist, Calcutta Shri K.S. Krishnamurthy in Chennai, India.

After Shri Krishnamurthy passed away in 1999, Sandeep began learning from Sangitha Kalanidhi Shri Sanjay Subrahmanyan.

In 2006, Sandeep broke boundaries by being the first US born and raised musician to move to India to take up music as a full-time career, a trend that is now followed by many other aspiring musicians.

Sandeep was awarded the prestigious “Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar” from Sangeet Natak Akademi, Government of India in the year 2019. He is also the recipient of the “Kala Ratna” title from the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana in April 2019, and the “Shanmukha Sangeetha Shiromani” from Sri Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai in 2016. Sandeep holds an ‘A’ Grade with All India Radio, Chennai since 2010.

Having performed extensively all over the world including concert tours of Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Oman, Singapore, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America, Sandeep hopes to continue serving as a cultural link between Carnatic music and audiences worldwide.

For his latest track, “Nirkaaya”, Sandeep has joined forces with renowned percussionist and composer Tao Issaro. Let’s find out what the result sounds like.

“Nirkaaya” is a genre bending musical collaboration. It’s a Sanskrit word that means bodiless energy. Through the cross fertilization of classical and contemporary musical practices, the artists have aimed to create a new style of electronic music that remains firmly rooted in Indian musical traditions.

“Nirkaaya” showcases the duo of Narayan and Issaro going their own, methodical way and creating beautiful things; a compelling mashup of Carnatic tunes, lo-fi sounding beats, and lush electronic soundscapes. The end product is delightful and lovely in a harmonic sense but also edgy and eccentric.

The top notch songwriting ideas have been executed perfectly through some flawless performances which don’t really leave much scope for criticism.

“Nirkaaya”, like the name suggests, is shapeless, but it isn’t formless. It is a shining example of fusion music done well. It is essential listening for fusion fans and also a decent introduction for those who are yet to encounter the deep, multi-coloured and mind-expanding wonders of the universe known as fusion music.

Verdict: Inventive.

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