Mesmerising 1992 performance from the Dhrupad master vocalist Amelia Cuni, accompagnied by renowded vina player Gianni Ricchizzi and Helmut Waibl on pakhawaj.
These recordings document Amelia Cuni's performance at the 1992 Parampara Festival at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, a landmark event celebrating the global spread of Indian classical music, bringing together Indian teachers with their international students.
Accompanied by Gianni Ricchizzi on vichitra vina (a plucked zither played with a glass ball slide) and her own tanpura, Cuni stretches out for a languorous side-long performance of the late night Raag Bageshri, the limpid tones of her vocal improvisations illuminating the droning strings like flashes of the moon revealed by rushing clouds. Initially working patiently through a series of subtle dialogues between Cuni's melodic extemporisations and phrases in response from Richizzi's vichitra vina, the performance builds to a series of strikingly beautiful, virtuosic held notes from Cuni at the beginning of its second half, before picking up some brisker rhythmic articulation on the way to its conclusion.
On Devino Amor, Cuni presents her own composition, a setting of mystical texts by the 13th century Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi, elaborated through various traditional raags. Like the words used for most dhrupad compositions, the text Cuni has selected from da Todi praises divine love, thus linking her otherwise unorthodox use of Italian text to the dhrupad tradition. The result is a performance of a yearning intensity that communicates across any language barrier. On the final performance, Cuni and Ricchizzi are joined by Helmut Waibl on the two-headed pakhawaj drum for a piece using a 14 beat rhythmic pattern that sets in motion a cycle of tension and release, metrical dissolution and resolution, possessing a subtle grandeur.
Illustrated with archival images of the performance and accompanied by new liner notes from Peter Pannke and Lars-Christian Koch, Parampara Festival 13.3.1992 invites listeners to lose themselves in Amelia Cuni's unique approach to ancient tradition.
Amelia Cuni (born in Milan, lives and works in Berlin) is a singer, composer and performer. She has trained her voice and musical skills in India
, according to the tradition of dhrupad singing and kathak dance, and is recognised internationally as one of the great contemporary proponents of traditional dhrupad singing. Her present work includes contemporary music and multimedia collaborations with several artists of international repute (she interpretated—with Werner Durand
—the 18 Microtonal Ragas: Solo 58
by John Cage
, a cycle of 18-scale patterns from the collection Song Books
, 1970). She is engaged in the transmission of the knowledge she has acquired from her gurus and teaches Indian singing at the Vicenza Conservatory in Italy.