Prasant Radhakrishnan | Swara Sudha

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World: Asian World: Indian Classical Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Swara Sudha

by Prasant Radhakrishnan

The melodic and rhythmic beauty of South Indian Classical music freshly rendered on alto saxophone by the critically-acclaimed prodigy, Prasant Radhakrishnan.
Genre: World: Asian
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Vathapi
14:56 $0.99
2. Entharo
12:24 $0.99
3. Paavanaguru
3:11 $0.99
4. Mohana Rama
30:18 $0.99
5. Naadhaloludai
7:53 $0.99
6. Bho! Shambo
4:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
***Note: Radhakrishnan's most recent albums, both available on CDBABY and iTunes are:

East Facing (2007)
Duality (2005)

About the Artist:

Born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Prasant Radhakrishnan is an internationally acclaimed saxophonist in the style of South Indian Classical (Carnatic) Music. The saxophone was first adapted for Carnatic music by his legendary guru (teacher), Kadri Gopalnath. Often referred to as a prodigy of this saxophone style, Prasant had caught the attention of audiences worldwide in his performances with his guru and his solo performances by age 16. His style has been described as possessing technical fluidity as well as a mature depth of melodic phrasing beyond his years. In addition, Prasant has begun to change the minds of traditionalist Carnatic music listeners who feel that saxophone is an inherently loud and fast instrument, only capable of producing technical exercises. Reviews of Prasant's concerts in India have cited his thorough comprehension and display of "sowkhyam" or slow-tempo compositions in addition to all other tempos. Audiences and reviewers alike cite his complete control of the instrument to produce the intricate gamakas (ornamentations) in a melodic and subtle way. Due to the nature of his instrument and musicianship, Prasant has transformed several first-time listeners of South Indian music into enthusiasts. Prasant's performances have been described as mesmerizing, energetic, soothing, gripping and profound by audiences all over the world. At age 17, Prasant brought these qualities to his first recording: Swara Sudha.

About "Swara Sudha":

Prasant's first recorded effort (January 2000) was recorded "live" in Srutilaya studios without overdubbing or other such record production techniques. This lends itself to the improvisational nature of the music. Taking this further, Prasant was supported by top musicians in the South Indian Classical music scene. Embar S. Kannan on violin, is a disciple of the famous A. Kanyakumari, and is one of the leading young violinists today. Mannargudi A. Easwaran (mridungam), V. Suresh (ghatam) and B. Rajashekar (morsing/jews harp) are all senior exponents in their respective percussion instruments, and regularly perform with the highest level of artists, including Prasant's guru, Kadri Gopalnath. Needless to say, these musicians were playing Carnatic music on the highest level many years before Prasant was even born. This recording is thus, a rare one, featuring a young main artist on saxophone performing with the most senior and well-known musicians in the field.

About the Music:

South Indian classical (Carnatic) music is one of the two major classical music systems in India. As a classical music, rendering of classic compositions commands importance in any performance. However, the ability to improvise in various ways is equally important. Each composition is set to a raga (melodic picture or scale) and a tala (cycle of beats). Any given piece may start with a rendition of the raga by itself. The composition that follows leaves space for the artist to apply his/her own style within the moment of performance, causing no two performances to be the same. Within the composition, the opportunity for improvisation arises from a "take-off" point in the song. Here, the artists will partake in lively exchanges often ending in a climactic rhythmic cadenza which "lands" back into the composition again. While the types of improvisation mentioned may not be in all songs, they are part of the essential core of Carnatic music. Look for this type of improvisation in Vatapi #1 and Mohana Rama #4. Musical communication between artists is the fuel that drives performances in Carnatic music, as each subtle variation or improvisation by an artist is shadowed or complimented in the performance of the other musicians. "Swara Sudha" demonstrates this ideal through a profound and uplifting performance.

For Prasant's latest release on CDbaby see . Also see for more info on Prasant.



to write a review

Steve Cheng

Fluid and Spontaneous, filled with Energy and Song
This CD was my first exposure to carnatic music. In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect, but luckily, to my surprise, I was pleasantly rewarded. The music is completely unique to anything that we've become used to hearing in America, but the melodies sing so organically that you can easily pick up on it. The rhythmic force behind it is very solid, and yet, has a degree of freedom to it that makes it sound very liberated. Improvisation is the real spark of this CD. Prasant's playing is filled with creativity and a strong sense of song when he is improvising, and the group is sensitive and responsive. Truly a prodigy of this music, Prasant has made a wonderfully musical CD that will appeal to anyone from any musical background.

Maria Radeva

Stunning and unique music!
« Swara Sudha » was my first contact with Carnatic music – I did not know this kind of music existed before I met Prasant. When I got the CD I did not know what to expect, I guess I was a bit afraid the music would be too specific and that it would be difficult to like it.
The first time I listened to the CD was in the darkness – I wanted to get absorbed in the sounds. The music was intense, absorbing, magicalc I loved it from this very first time.
My whole room was filled with some kind of unknown and mystical sublimity. I could feel the presence of sophisticated styles and performers and yet the music could reach my soul and fill me up with deep emotions. I had never imagined that saxophone could sound so fascinating, so powerful and yet tender. There are brilliant, unique and capturing moments in each piece – moments where you would say to yourself gThis is fantastic, a masterpiece! How does he manage to breathe?h
The first composition captured me with its intensity – at moments it sounds like a dialog between the two main instruments – the more powerful saxophone and the more feminine violin, at some other moments they sound more aggressive and as if competing with each other. I find this impressive!
Each piece surprises you in its own way, but not only in itself but in relation to the rest of the compositions. You feel like some of them have something in common, but they all have their own mood and one never feels a limiting sameness. The fifth track is for me the most beautiful one. Both the saxophone and the violin start somehow timidly. Then gradually the saxophone gathers more and more vigor, while the voice of the violin is still like a shadow. Stunning!
I kept listening to the album every single day for weeks and every time I would discover something new and unique.

Wen Yuan

Great Music and a Great CD
Before being introduced to this CD, I had never even heard of Indian classical music. But after listening to this CD, I find myself wanting to listen to more of that genre of music. The songs are truly inspirational and they are fun and interesting to listen to during any mood. I would recommend it to everyone. This CD is a worthy addition to any person's music collection.

Don Marks

An Excellent Record for Fans of Jazz or Carnatic Music
This album is surprisingly captivating and demands repeated listening. Fans of early free jazz will enjoy Prasant Radhakrishnan's soulful intonation, which is reminiscent of John Coltrane's later works. Likewise, devotees of Carnatic music will relish the subtlety and virtuosity of Radhakrishnan's playing. If you came to this album unaware of hornmaker Aldoph Sax and his contribution to the history of modern Western music, you would swear that the saxophone was a traditional Carnatic instrument. Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Charles Gayle all borrowed in different ways from the tradition that has brought us Radhakrishnan. By adopting the saxophone for Carnatic music, Radhakrishnan brings that influence full circle.

Casey Rieder

Easily Accessible, yet Aurally Stunning!!
This is a great recording from a great young instrumentalist. Prasant Radhakrishnan blends his understanding of Carnatic Music perfectly with the more "Western" sensibilities of a Jazz artist. Indian Saxophone is an untapped resource, but Radhakrishnan shows us that it should not be. This CD hasnt left my stereo since I got it 10 days ago, and I would be thrilled to leave it in there for another 3 weeks on steady repeat. This is a great album!


when i first heard of this c.d. i thought it would be weird but it is awesome!

Janna Leigh

Sweet, clear vibrations of Indian instrumental music through unique form.
To hear this style of music with a saxophone as the key instrument is a blessing... hear the samples... it speaks for itself... you won't be disappointed...

Ben Naga

I Change I Am The Same
Along with the now well established violin (foremost contemporary exponent Shankar?) and the gradual extablishment of the mandolin as an accepted instrument for carnatic interpretation thanks to the superlatively talented U Srinivas, a third "Western" instrument, the saxophone, is heading in the same direction. In this case the main impulse seems to have been Kadri Gopalnath - already a man whose music I enjoy. Here we hear his young disciple Prasant Radhakrishnan already demonstrating a firm grasp of the techniques and the possibilities and stretching out towards wherever the muse will take him. I think we may well arrive in time at that happy state where the pupil comes to exceed the master. Indeed it has been said thet wherever this does NOT occur then both have failed. I hear no need to fear for that on this evidence however. Buy with confidence (and at $5 how can you lose?)


Bravo! Will get more of his CDs.

Kami Cho

Awesome music! Innovative! ^_^
This is the first Indian inspired music cd that I have heard and I must say, it was quite interesting and innovative. Afterwards, I have fallen in love with looking for more music from India and it has led me to discover an exciting and colorful culture. This cd has great music and has an impressive combination of Carnatic sounds with classical jazzy saxphone creating an inspirational creative piece of work. Even if you dont listen to indian music or never thought of doing so, you should check this cd out. give it a try. =)
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