It’s a string quintet, but what the five Western instrumentalists play is a composition by the lesser-known Karur brothers of southern India. The raga scarcely veers out of the parameters of Bangala, yet the presentation by the three violinists and two cellists is steeped in ethos pleasantly beyond Carnatic. Seated on a crescent-shaped line of chairs, they synthesise the two key elements that have largely segmented world music: melody and harmony.
The short and medium-paced composition Rararama is a contribution from three 19th-century Tamil siblings, who would perhaps never have thought their kriti would travel overseas; and what’s more, be treated in occidental style. All that’s happening now courtesy melharmony, which is both a concept and the name of a practical experiment. The melharmony approach defines chitravina exponent N. Ravikiran’s endeavour to blend melody and harmony. In other words, to preserve the whole logic by which a raga is created while bringing in western harmony.