Sit back, relax and listen to an organic synthesis of South Asian soundscapes this weekend at Asia Society New York, as acclaimed Indian–American pianist–composer Vijay Iyer launches his new trio and album — both named Tirtha — with Chennai-born guitarist-composer Prasanna, and Hyderabad native and tabla player Nitin Mitta.
Tirtha is a Sanskrit word which means a spiritual pilgrimage to a holy place near a body of water. The group originally formed in 2007, when Iyer was asked to put together a concert commemorating 60 years of Indian independence. In his album notes he said, "Normally I’ve steered clear of fusion experiments that attempt to mix styles — to 'create something,' as John Coltrane famously admonished, 'more with labels, you see, than true evolution.'" So Iyer reached out to classical Indian muscicians Prasanna and Mitta.
The result, he told the indie music site Spinner, "feels contemporary." He added: "We're not mixing styles, mixing languages." Of the album, which received an 81 out of 100 on Metacritic, the New York Times said the music might best be described as "a jazz-informed reflection on the contemporary South Asian diaspora, with three perspectives in creative convergence."
Tirtha performs at the Asia Society in New York this Friday and Saturday (April 1-2) at 8pm. Tickets: $16 members, students with ID, and seniors; $20 nonmembers. Click here for details.
Vijay Iyer's Past Appearances at Asia Society:
In What Language? A Song Cycle of Lives in Transit
Redefining 'Mainstream' for the 21st Century