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“East meets East”, featuring Naadaleela Ensemble (Vancouver)

Sound of Dragon Society 2021 Online Concert Presentation, released on Oct 15, 2021

The Naadaleela Ensemble was born out of a desire to explore the common (and not-so-common) musical ground between the music of the “Eastern” world. Featuring acclaimed musicians from Iran, South India, Taiwan, and North America, the sounds of Persian and Indian classical music meet with those of China, tempered with a tinge of North American jazz aesthetics. The group creates new musical works and explorations from its members as well as arranges existing repertoire from their various cultural backgrounds, taking the listener on a fascinating musical journey. The ensemble features Persian ney player Amir Eslami, Carnatic musicians Vidyasagar Vankayala (voice) and Curtis Andrews (mridangam), jazz guitarist Jared Burrows, and members of the adventurous Orchid Ensemble (Lan Tung-erhu, Dailin Hsieh-zheng, Jonathan Bernard-percussion).

The Naadaleela Ensemble creates a musical conversation between ancient cultures that span the Silk Road – from Iran to India and China  – and which have been influencing each other for over 2,000 years. Even though the group represents some of the largest cultural communities in BC, very few projects feature such collaborations. Drawing on their training across a range of musical disciplines, the musicians reach into and across lines of difference, fusing together influences of South Indian, Chinese, Persian, Taiwanese, Indonesian, western classical, contemporary music, and jazz. The result is a heady and aromatic offering.

“the Naadaleela Ensemble makes intercultural music of great sophistication and equally sublime beauty. What’s most astonishing about the group’s sound, however, is how coherent it seems. The group’s performances invoke landscapes that range from monsoon-soaked plains to lofty mountain passes to urban bustle, but mostly they’re rich in the possibility of a life in which we can all listen, learn, and get along.” – Alex Varty, former Georgia Straight editor, contributor to Musicworks and Stir

娜達里拉樂團匯聚東方音樂世界的不同文化,主要成員來自台灣、印度、伊朗族裔,包括董籃(二胡&演唱)、謝岱霖(古箏)、 柯特斯.安祖魯(南印度姆當岡鼓)、維迪亞薩嘎.梵卡亞拉(南印度風格演唱)、阿米爾.阿斯蘭米(波斯笛)、以及爵士樂手傑瑞德.巴羅斯(電吉他)、打擊樂演奏家強納森.伯納德。古代絲路文化的交流碰撞,在娜達里拉樂團裡重現,並蛻變出新的音響。

Drunk مست- Amir Eslami (2021)
The piece is based on Persian modes, Chargah as the main mode and modulating to Nava and Bayat Esfshan, which are connected through improvisation. The Farsi text from Rumi’s (1207-1273) mystic poetry is sung by Vidyasagar Vankayala who adds the expression and nuances of Carnatic music, creating a different flavour:
Man Masto To, Divaaneh
(I am drunk; you are insane)

من مست و تو دیوانه، ما را که برد خانه
صد بار تو را گفتم کم خور دو سه پیمانه
در شهر یکی کس را هشیار نمی‌بینم
هر یک بتر از دیگر شوریده و دیوانه
جانا به خرابات آ تا لذت جان بینی
جان را چه خوشی باشد بی‌صحبت جانانه
هر گوشه یکی مستی دستی ز بر دستی
و آن ساقی هر هستی با ساغر شاهانه
تو وقف خراباتی دخلت می و خرجت می
زین وقف به هشیاران مسپار یکی دانه
شمس الحق تبریزی از خلق چه پرهیزی
اکنون که درافکندی صد فتنه فتانه

Ay Yo Wei 哎喲喂- Lan Tung (2021)
This piece fuses a well-known Taiwanese folk song with original melodies of South Indian influences. The lyrical female voice, sung in Taiwanese, is contrasted with energetic rhythmic interjections where a male voice, sung in Sargam (the notes in South Indian music), leads the instruments. The middle section is a dialogue between the mridangam of South India and a Chinese opera percussion ensemble.




the blush of the blossoming peach flower,
the white offerings from the plum flowers without fragrance;

the sky turning red at sunrise,
pass this village it is Maple Port;

I wish to be cherished when I marry,
all the hardship in life would be over

Naadalelaa Ensemble:
Vidyasagar Vankayala – voice
Lan Tung – erhu & voice
Dailin Hsieh – zheng
Amir Eslami – ney
Curtis Andrews – mridangam & kanjira
Jared Burrows – guitar
Jonathan Bernard – percussion

Marc L’Esperance – audio engineer
Olivia Lin – video direction & photography
INCO Media – videography
Levi Pease – Lighting
Sound of Dragon Society presentation
Recorded at the Annex, Vancouver, Oct 12, 2021

Black Dragon River – Jared Burrows
The Black Dragon River is also known as the Amur river and forms the border between Russia and northeastern China.  This river is the northernmost habitat of nelumbo nucifera, the Indian lotus, and is also near the hometown of the wonderful musician, Zhongxi Wu, who suggested the name of the piece to Jared.  The lyrical contributions of Vidya and Lan beautifully invoke the power of water as a divine, life-giving force.

lyrics written by Vidyasagar Vankayala in Sanskrit:
जाय जाय गंगे  पुण्य तरंगे
त्रिभुवन धन्ये जलममलं
पुण्ये धन्ये देवी
श्री मात्रे भगवति चिन्मात्रा जगदम्बे
भागीरथि हे मम पाप शमनी
Jaya Jaya GangE puNya tarangE
tribuvana dhanyE jalamamalam
puNyE dhanyE dEvI
Shree mAtrE bhagavathi chinmAtrA jagadambE
bhAgIrathi he mama pApa shamanI

lyrics written by Lan Tung in Chinese:
波光粼粼映照, 漁帆點點飄搖, 小小船兒輕靠, 縷縷清煙繞。
應是故人來相邀,又是清風多攪擾,帷幔飄。 浩浩春江水,東流無回,任逍遙。
shimmering reflection from the ripples of water,
little dots of colours of the fishing boats swaying,
a small boat quietly approaches the shore, in the swirling mist;
must be an old friend coming for a visit,
or it may be the gentle wind stirring my curtains;
free yourself with the endless river of the spring time,
flowing east and never returns

photographer: Olivia Lin