New Tyagaraja Track Up + India Tour Fundraiser

Call me a cynic if you want, but all the spiritual stuff surrounding Tyagaraja‘s work — whether solo or with his previous band, Million Year Dance — has always made me twitch, just a little. I know, I know; I just can’t help it. I have a kneejerk reaction to get all jaded and standoffish whenever the conversation turns that way, and I always have.

That said, I can’t for a second deny that holy crap, the guy is a talented-as-hell songwriter, singer, and musician. He bowled me over very much unexpectedly with MYD, and since he’s gone out on his own he’s only gotten better, in my view. I still (cringe) need to give his 2010 release, Open Book, a serious listen, even though I’ve had the damn thing since last year’s Summerfest (a lot of balls got dropped by yours truly around that time, I’m afraid).

So it was a small helping of guilt (and curiosity, and admiration for the man & the band he plays with) that drove me to check out Tyagaraja’s newly-released (as of 9/25) track, “The Meaning of Life,” over on the band’s Bandcamp page. And…well, wow. That’s about all I can think of to say, at least at first.

The song’s like a Radiohead track more than anything else, moving deliberately and beautifully in and out of shadows while delicately layered instruments filter in and out, and the whole thing’s lifted to the skies by Tyagaraja’s angelic, crystalline voice, ’til it’s soaring high, high above everything dull and earthbound and banal. And now, I can’t stop listening. Again: wow.

Check it out below:

On top of that, apparently Tyagaraja and wife/dancer Gunjen Mittal will be touring India — along with a band of musicians from Pune — starting November 29th and running through to February 7th (yes, that’s next year), and naturally, he’s going to need some fundage for that. Traveling overseas, in particular, costs money, folks…

To help raise money, then, the full band’s going to be performing on November 5th as a joint tour kick-off and fundraising show, over on the rooftop above Khon’s. There’ll be dancers (Indian and Aztec, apparently, which should be interesting), DJs, art, yoga, vegan food, vendors, & a whole lot more besides, all for $10.

If you can’t make the show or just want to give anyway, there’s also an IndieGogo fundraising page for the tour: http://www.indiegogo.com/Tyagaraja-Tours-India-2011. Check out the video while you’re there, by the by — it’s very sweet, and kinda endearingly dorky even if the music wasn’t badass. Seriously, I can’t help but grin like a goof when I watch it.

There you go; check out the new music, mark your calendars for the show, and help ’em out however you can.


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3 Responses to “New Tyagaraja Track Up + India Tour Fundraiser”

  1. jason Smith on October 6th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Tyagaraja is sincere about his spirituality. I had the same off-putting, eye-rolling experience as what you are talking about at a westheimer block party when he told us to throw flowers into a fire but once I realized he was on a truth seeking life journey and just wanted to share with us that journey I let my guard down. I’m a huge fan of their live experience now and hope the next cd they do lives up to what they are live. That’s a tall order. The most amazing thing about them is the all star cast he has put together for his band. What a talented bunch!

  2. Mike (Paparaja) Welch on October 6th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    If anyone can, I can attest to his sincerity. His spiritual journey, and musical presentation of it is not, as one critic in the past put it, a “gimick”. His sense for the dramatic emerged early in life, but he has, as we all should, channeled his best and less desirable traits into things as positive as is humanly possible. All that aside, the music speaks for itself. I wanted to comment that I’ve been privileged to watch the vocal growth up close; from backyard parties when he was 16, through musical expressions of the pain of emergence from youth, our early home studio efforts, thru MYD, and into Tyagaraja… But he has not settled for that and is taking vocal lessons from a master. Not having that view of the history, the improvement may be lost on the average listener. I ask you take me at my word in all this…. Just make sure you listen to The Meaning of Life with an open heart and mind, and a good set of speakers. Thanks.

  3. Jason Smith on October 7th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    This track takes me back to a Britpop band called Geneva, which consisted of one of my favorite voices of the 90s. That’s too bad someone would think of his stage presence as gimmicky. Obviously it is pretty unique, but I wouldn’t call it a gimmick.

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