Karma Circles/Fragrance of the East

A compilation of highlights from ‘Karma Circles’ (2003) and ‘Fragrance of the East’ (2005)

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“In India a profound musical moment will be greeted by spontaneous outbursts of “WAH!” from the audience. WAH is wow, deep appreciation and an expression of being touched inside. This CD is my ‘WAH’ to the wonderful musicians who play on it….Without them my music and my heart would be so much less”. Chinmaya Dunster

Tracks 1 to 5, 9 and 10 are from Karma Circles.

JAMIE ST CLAIR played guitar and PREM PRABODH bass throughout.
Sarod, acoustic guitar, composing, programming and production by CHINMAYA DUNSTER.

1 ‘Chance Finding’ features Pune-based violinist AVINASH JAGTAP.
2 ‘Wedding in Kotree’ features a rare performance from guitar legend GOVI on the middle eastern oud and MANISH VYAS on harmonium.
3 ‘Circle Makers’ features SADHU BOLLAND as co-composer and accordion player.
4 ‘Kaunsi Kannada’, co-composed with JAMIE in 1993, features Maui-based violinist DON LAX.
5 ‘Hollow Hills’, with ADHEESH on dholak and SHASTRO on bamboo flute, is based on a melody by the 19th century Baul poet Lalon Shah.
9 ‘Manipuri Megh’ is co-created with Manipuri bamboo flute player BIKRAM SINGH, and is basically his extended improvisation on CHINMAYA’s open chords and RAMADHAN MEIR SUISSA’s santoor.
10 ‘A Meeting Place of Friends’, co-composed with JAMIE features New Age musician NADAMA on piano.

Tracks 6 to 8 and 11 to 13 are from ‘Fragrance of the East, a live recording of the multimedia ‘Concert for India’s Environment’ arranged by Chinmaya at BVIEER, Pune, India in 2004.

The band comprised: CHINMAYA: sarod. MANISH VYAS: tabla. TANMAYO DEVI; violin. DINESH: keyboards. BIKRAM SINGH: bansuri. RAMADHAN MEIR SUISSA: drums. PREM PRABODH: bass. ADARSHA FOREST: guitar. PARITOSH: tanpura.Tracks 6 to 8 and 11 to 13 are from ‘Fragrance of the East, a live recording of the multimedia Concert for India’s Environment’ arranged by Chinmaya at BVIEER, Pune, India in 2004.

6 ‘Bhattiyali’ is based on a Bengali folk melody.
7 ‘Moonsong’ and 8 ‘Changes’ were created just before the gig, flowing out effortlessly from the meeting of CHINMAYA’s sarod and ADARSHA’s guitar. ADARSHA left his body in 2014 –Fly high beloved brother!
11 ‘Mausam Ayenge’ and 12 ‘Sarvane Rute Aye’ are traditional Hindi songs celebrating the seasons, arranged by Tamil singer SHRUTI BANU, Chinmaya and Manish.
12 ‘Rag Shivranjani’ is a short rendition on sarod and tabla of this Hindustani classical raga.

Blending music, visuals of India’s wilderness areas, poems composed and read by local schoolchildren and interviews with environmentalists, the film of this performance can be found on YouTube.

Read the story of the creation of the “Concert for India’s Environment” in Pune (India) where environmentally concerned schoolchildren joined Chinmaya Dunster and the Celtic Ragas Band to read their own poems about nature. Images of the band are blended with interviews with environmentalists and stunning footage of the Indian wilderness.

Karma Circles reviews:
“The CD embodies a unique musical synthesis of East and West with Celtic and Indian motifs, circle and dance, and an ancient landscape that comes alive through 21st century sounds. Sarod, tablas and bamboo flute fuse with electronics, bass and drums in this interesting musical journey through many cultures and climes. You can’t help but let go and move your body with this music.”

AZNetNews, Oct/Nov 2003

“The lively, lilting melodies in Karma Circles (New Earth Records), by Chinmaya Dunster and The Celtic Ragas Band, are an exotic blend of Indian and Celtic flavors. Dunster is a master of the sarod, a 19-stringed classical Indian instrument. You will also hear a guest appearance from Govi, the guitar master, playing the middle-eastern oud and Shastro on bamboo flute. There are instruments on this CD that I’ve never heard of before (I’ll have to find out what a ‘swarmandel’ is!), but the sound is modern, upbeat, and very positive. What a happy experience it is!”

Aquarius Magazine

“Here’s a delightful set of multi-culti soundscapes by a cross cultural pro in the know. Creating his own path of Celtic Ragas, reflecting his backgrounds and passions, Dunster attracts important attention from people at the top of the musical food chain that know up from down. A tasty adult set that will go the distance for world beat fans looking for a new kick. Hot stuff.”

Chris Spector
Midwest Record