Kanjira Funk

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“Kanjira Funk” is a World Fusion piece performed on Yamaha Flute, Kongsheng Lyra Chromatic Harmonica (12-hole), and the ATV aFrame Electro Organic Percussion instrument, using Mid-Eastern rhythms and percussion instruments.

After many years of focusing on developing the skills necessary for being a sideman, playing other peoples music, the desire has arisen to compose my own. As a musician who plays mostly solo instruments, it is a bit of a challenge to think in terms of harmony which is necessary for composition. But these days there are tremendous tools that facilitate experimenting with the harmonic structure, without being a keyboard player or guitar player.

In fact it was in experimenting with the “Hyper Kanjira” patch of  wonderful new Electro Organic Percussion instrument by ATV, called the aFrame, that was the seed for this composition. The original Kanjira is a South Indian Frame Drum, an instrument of the tambourine family. As a folk and bhajan instrument, it has been used in India for many centuries. The modern ATV aFrame emulates different organic sounds, and it was the “Hyper Kanjira” patch that I found went very well together with a funky bass line. From that, I added various Mid-Eastern rhythms and percussion instruments, and the melody just emerged on its own as I played with the rhythm. For me, I am finding that it is the rhythm that I start with, and harmonic and melodic ideas flow from there. 

I love World Music hand percussion, and am learning the Congas, Djembe, Cajon, and Rav Vast (like a Pan Drum). There is incredible richness and depth to the rhythms of the world , and also the pallet of sounds that hand percussion offers is so earthy and organic. Playing with these seems to open a door to the soul, like a magical turn key.

In todays world we have access to these rich musical traditions as never before. I respect the integrity of each of these traditions, but there is also a place for fusion, where new colours can emerge. Hope you enjoy this fusion of Funk and Mid-Eastern rhythms.


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