Oct 10, 2008

clem alford (rare earth XXIII)

Clem Alford was born in Glasgow, Scotland, where he studied the Scottish national instrument, the bagpipes. He was introduced to the sound of the sitar in the mid sixties. He travelled to India and studied under Pandit Sachindranath Saha, principal of the Midnapore Music College in West Bengal. He secured the diploma of Sangeet Sudhakar for expertise in sitar from Surer Maya Sangit Samaj of Calcutta in 1970. Clem's first major recital was in Bombay in november 1970, an event which the Times of India flashed in its headlines as "American's astounding skill, ease in sitar" (a slight case of mistaken nationality!). It was this sitar recital at the celebrated Kal-ke Kalakar Sammelan of Bombay which won Clem the rich accolade of 'Sur Mani' (a jewel of notes)Keshav Sathe, Clem Alford, Jim Moyes, 1971. Since then Clem has performed not only in the West but also in India, Japan and other Asian countries. He has been hailed by many experts and the press as the best western sitar player of today. An example of this recognition was his participation in the concert held in 1975 in the Royal Albert Hall, in which he was presented along with the leading Indian vocalist Laxmi Shankar.

Clem has been associated with the famous John Williams (classical guitar) John Mayer (composer/ Indo Jazz Fusions) Maurice Jarre (film scores) John Dankworth (jazz) Hemmant Kunar (vocalist) and a host of other striking personalities in the world of music. He has recorded for EMI, amongst other labels, and has authored a very helpful book on how to play the sitar published by EMI. In 1970 he formed a group named Sargam with two other musicians - Jim Moyes (guitar) and Keshav Sathe (tabla) - and this innovative trio (see picture above) recorded an album inappropriately released as Pop Explosion Sitar Style! under the band name Sagram, mispelt by the Windmill recording company, who issued the recording without the bandÕs consent or knowledge. This LP that has since become highly collectable. Then, in 1971 Alisha Sufit joined the trio and the Magic Carpet band was formed; the album Magic Carpet was recorded in the winter of 1971-1972, later released on Mushroom Records.

Pediente estaba desde hace unos meses en rare earth la primera aventura en solitario del extraordinario Clem Alford tras Magic Carpet. Discípulo de Pandit Sachindranath Saha, sus ragas se sumergen en eternas e instrumentales melodías improvisadas donde la inventiva es una constante, para muestra la canción que da título al album. El místico sitar de Clem se ve arropado por la tradición hindú y sus ragas se pasean entre la fusión y la psicodelia -sintes, efectos, tabla, flauta...-.

aldea f: magic carpet
download: mirror image (part 1) & mirror image (part 2)

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