Karnataka
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Karnataka

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Rock Celtic

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Certain bands are made for certain venues and while Edinburgh's beautiful old Queen's Hall wasn't exactly packed to its wooden pewed capacity, this grand, ornate hall was simply perfect for the majestic, beautiful soundscapes that Karnataka so specialise in. Taking the stage to a lengthy intro tape made up of passages from the band's albums, the atmosphere was set perfectly, allowing Karnataka to waste no time in setting their stall out as one of the UK's most exhilarating Prog acts.



The set opened with one of the impressive instrumental sections from this newly extended sextet's stunning album The Gathering Light, which quickly morphed into "The Serpent And The Sea" as the band's glamorous new singer Hayley Griffiths joined her band mates. Griffiths isn't alone in being a new member of Karnataka, what with the band's habit of reinventing themselves coming to the fore again soon after The Gathering Light had seen the light of day. Only long-serving bassist Ian Jones and lead guitarist Enrico Pinna have survived from the last Karnataka live experience, with the pair and Griffiths now being joined by keyboard player Cagri Tozluoglu and multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold, with the line-up being completed by drummer Matt McDonough. They may not have been together too long, but that hasn't stopped this six-piece from gelling into a mighty live band and one capable of both cranking it up and being subtly atmospheric.


Considering how well The Gathering Light album has been received, it is no surprise that we get much of it performed tonight, with "Your World" and the majestic "State Of Grace" giving Pinna the opportunity to stretch out and illustrate just how integral his stinging guitar lines now are to the Karnataka sound. The addition of Mold however has been a huge plus for the live approach of this band, with his precise rhythm work laying the foundations from which much of tonight's show is built. His talents don't stop there, with some pinpoint acoustic guitar interludes and his electric violin swathes really bringing to life the Celtic flavours that much of Karnataka's music relies on. Whether he is mimicking flutes on his violin, or adding depth to songs like "Delicate Flame Of Desire", Mold allows the keyboards time and space to expand the scope and vision of the songs, something which Cagri exploits tastefully. Add to that mix drummer Matt McDonough and the level of talent on display is quite mind boggling. His ability to drive songs forward with power and intricacy is quite breath-taking, even if at times his sheer busyness behind the kit can become ever so slightly over whelming - on a personal note I also found his one handed playing while readjusting his own in-ear mix to be equally impressive - and distracting (I only discovered this was what he was doing during a quick chat at the merch stall after the gig, where he and the rest of the band proved to be extremely affable). That said, I'm nit-picking, as Matt's ability to fire out unfeasibly quick fills, tom bursts and hi-hat flurries marks him out as a drummer of the highest standard.


Even if Ian Jones is in essence the heart of all things Karnataka, on stage he is more than willing to allow the immensely talented Pinna to step forward and take centre stage for much of the show. However in truth most eyes were firmly fixed on Hayley, who not only dazzled with her costume changes (my gig-companion just about went into palpitations when she appeared for the show's second "act" in a pink bodice...), but completely convinced with her full rich vocal delivery. It is never an easy task to ask a vocalist to sing someone else's lyrics, however when they are as emotional as they are in "Forsaken" it is a tougher test still and one that Hayley passed with flying colours. This is a young lady with a powerful vocal weapon, but more importantly she knows how to use it, showing restraint where required, but never being afraid to really hammer the words home when the situation arises. Hers wasn't the only costume change of the evening, with Jones marking the band's only Scottish date by donning a kilt for the second half to much cheering and good humoured banter from the enthusiastic Edinburgh crowd about his "sporran being squint"! Substance however always triumphed over style, with "After The Rain", "Lagan Love" (a track from Hayley's new solo album Celtic Rose) and "Heaven Can Wait" proving to be quite captivating. Saving the best for last however the title track from The Gathering Light allowed all six band members on stage to truly shine, with Pinna, Cagri and Mold combining to wonderful effect as Hayley once again prowled the stage quite magnificently.

Karnataka's career so far has contained more than the odd false start, but on the evidence of tonight's show, not only have they recently released the strongest album of their career, but finally they have the line-up to spread their music far and wide. If you haven't so far, then I sugges - Sea of Tranquility


The rise-fall-rise-fall of Karnataka is a little like the ebb and flow of the gushing tide that greeted us audibly at the start of their set.

Emerging out of the new wave of UK prog in the late-nineties with bands like Mostly Autumn and a renascent Pallas, the line-up has reconfigured a few times now. Most recently, shortly after the release of possibly their finest album to date - The Gathering Light (which also gathered some of their best reviews) - the band imploded leaving stalwart Ian Jones to return to the birthing chamber.



Now only Ian and guitarist Enrico Pinna remain from the last line-up and - having been silenced for more than 12 months - they are easing their way back and making up for lost time. But Karnataka don't do things in halves: nine gigs into their first tour with the new line-up they are filming a multi-camera DVD for release later this year.


Hayley Griffiths is simply wonderful and provides a theatrical, West End sheen to the proceedings.


But the real revelation tonight is not the jimmy jib - that sweeping camera that looks like it will scalp even the least exposed tonsure - but Karnataka's new singer. Hayley Griffiths is simply wonderful and provides a theatrical, West End sheen to the proceedings. She made the Karnataka songbook her own, revealing many a song's hidden depths whether it be an exquisite 'Heaven Can Wait' and 'Heart Of Stone' or the newer material such as 'The Serpent And The Sea' and 'Forsaken'.

'Your World' was the only really - dare I say - rocky number on offer tonight. It may have got the biggest cheer of the night. Karnataka need to rock out more, and Hayley certainly showed she can deliver.





Multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold provides additional texture on violin (where he doubled for the great Troy Donockley) and although I thought Cagri's keys were a bit low in the mix he acquitted himself well, together with the other new boy, drummer and MC Matt McDonough. And of course Enrico Pinna's guitar figures will appeal to those well educated in the school of prog.

What a week! It started with the majestic prog of Steve Hackett, whose seventies 'beat combo' has of course influenced Ian Jones, and ended with the new prog on the block. Just as majestic in its own way and - now - fully rejuvenated. What a triumph.


Review, interview and photos by David Randall - Get Ready To Rock


Sundays are a regular slot for prog rock at the Robin 2 and this show was a real treat, I remember buying Karnataka's 'Delicate Flame of Desire' album and starting to really get into this band and looking forward to seeing them perform only to have them split up before I could get the chance.

Thankfully the band returned to action not to long after the split and in 2010 they released the excellent 'The Gathering Light' album, this current tour sees a few changes to the line-up that recorded that album but founder member Ian Jones is still on board.



Of the line-up that recorded the last studio album as well as Ian on bass, lead guitarist Enrico Pinna (a guitarist of exceptional quality) is still in the band and the new members are, on lead vocals the girl with the crystal clear vocals Hayley Griffiths, multi -talented Colin Mold on guitars and violin, Cagri Tozluoglu supplying the keyboards and Matt McDonough on the drums (a powerful drummer as the broken stick I found on the floor after the gig will testify!).

No support band just two sets of the most uplifting progressive rock music you could ask for, intelligent well structured numbers, soaring guitar work, beautiful vocals - both Hayley's lead and the band's harmonies - and all held together a top rhythm section, on this tour they are showcasing the majority of 'The Gathering Light' album plus a selection of back catalogue favourites.



To set the mood before the band took to the stage, as the lights started to dim an intro tape consisting of a suite of instrumental melodies from several of the band's numbers combined with atmospheric ocean and wind sound effects resonated around the room, one of the most effective intros I have heard for a long time.

After the intro music the guys in the band hit the stage for an instrumental burst and then with Hayley's arrival it was straight into the band's latest material with the magnificent 'The Serpent and the Sea', a bright, breezy, flowing number, with a touch of folk rock (for me the band add a touch of folk rock to their sound with great effect now and again).



The first set also included the sublime 'Delicate Flame of Desire', (the title track of the band's highly successful 2003 album) beautiful, delicate with possibly a touch of Enya about it and from the same album another cracker 'After the Rain', one of the evenings highlights was an emotional 'Forsaken' from the latest release with its beautiful keyboard work.

The small technical hitch at the start of the 2nd set was dealt with quickly and with friendly/humorous banter between the audience and a couple of band members, and was soon sorted.

The second set started with a selection of numbers showcasing the talents of different sections of the band beginning with a violin piece performed to perfection by Colin, then it was time for Hayley to sing the exquisite 'Our Love' a track from her solo album 'Silver Screen' accompanied by Cagri on keyboards.



After her turn she said she needed time to cool down so left us in the safe hands of the guys for the instrumental 'State of Grace', its gentle slow burning opening gradually building slowly but surely a tour-de-force of a number.

The second set also included a return to the Delicate Flame album with another of that release's highlights 'Heart of Stone' and a real highlight of the evening was the title track of the latest work, the out and out epic of the evening with its at times Celtic feel 'The Gathering Light'.

My wait to see Karnataka was well worth it and this was a top quality show from start to the finish, so many standouts, the atmospheric opening, the real feel good quality that flows through the band's music, the sensational vocals of Hayley (she also had a fantastic selection of outfits), and last but not least the magnificent musicianship of the band as a whole.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock
- Get Ready To Rock


KARNATAKA
The Met, Bury, 23 February 2012

The rise-fall-rise-fall of Karnataka is a little like the ebb and flow of the gushing tide that greeted us audibly at the start of their set.
Emerging out of the new wave of UK prog in the late-nineties with bands like Mostly Autumn and a renascent Pallas, the line-up has reconfigured a few times now. Most recently, shortly after the release of possibly their finest album to date - The Gathering Light (which also gathered some of their best reviews) - the band imploded leaving stalwart Ian Jones to return to the birthing chamber.
Now only Ian and guitarist Enrico Pinna remain from the last line-up and - having been silenced for more than 12 months - they are easing their way back and making up for lost time. But Karnataka don't do things in halves: nine gigs into their first tour with the new line-up they are filming a multi-camera DVD for release later this year.
Hayley Griffiths is simply wonderful and provides a theatrical, West End sheen to the proceedings.
But the real revelation tonight is not the jimmy jib - that sweeping camera that looks like it will scalp even the least exposed tonsure - but Karnataka's new singer. Hayley Griffiths is simply wonderful and provides a theatrical, West End sheen to the proceedings. She made the Karnataka songbook her own, revealing many a song's hidden depths whether it be an exquisite 'Heaven Can Wait' and 'Heart Of Stone' or the newer material such as 'The Serpent And The Sea' and 'Forsaken'.
'Your World' was the only really - dare I say - rocky number on offer tonight. It may have got the biggest cheer of the night. Karnataka need to rock out more, and Hayley certainly showed she can deliver.
Multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold provides additional texture on violin (where he doubled for the great Troy Donockley) and although I thought Cagri's keys were a bit low in the mix he acquitted himself well, together with the other new boy, drummer and MC Matt McDonough. And of course Enrico Pinna's guitar figures will appeal to those well educated in the school of prog.






Thankfully the band returned to action not to long after the split and in 2010 they released the excellent 'The Gathering Light' album, this current tour sees a few changes to the line-up that recorded that album but founder member Ian Jones is still on board.
Of the line-up that recorded the last studio album as well as Ian on bass, lead guitarist Enrico Pinna (a guitarist of exceptional quality) is still in the band and the new members are, on lead vocals the girl with the crystal clear vocals Hayley Griffiths, multi -talented Colin Mold on guitars and violin, Cagri Tozluoglu supplying the keyboards and Matt McDonough on the drums (a powerful drummer as the broken stick I found on the floor after the gig will testify!).


No support band just two sets of the most uplifting progressive rock music you could ask for, intelligent well structured numbers, soaring guitar work, beautiful vocals - both Hayley's lead and the band's harmonies - and all held together a top rhythm section, on this tour they are showcasing the majority of 'The Gathering Light' album plus a selection of back catalogue favourites.
To set the mood before the band took to the stage, as the lights started to dim an intro tape consisting of a suite of instrumental melodies from several of the band's numbers combined with atmospheric ocean and wind sound effects resonated around the room, one of the most effective intros I have heard for a long time.
After the intro music the guys in the band hit the stage for an instrumental burst and then with Hayley's arrival it was straight into the band's latest material with the magnificent 'The Serpent and the Sea', a bright, breezy, flowing number, with a touch of folk rock (for me the band add a touch of folk rock to their sound with great effect now and again).

The first set also included the sublime 'Delicate Flame of Desire', (the title track of the band's highly successful 2003 album) beautiful, delicate with possibly a touch of Enya about it and from the same album another cracker 'After the Rain', one of the evenings highlights was an emotional 'Forsaken' from the latest release with its beautiful keyboard work.
The small technical hitch at the start of the 2nd set was dealt with quickly and with friendly/humorous banter between the audience and a couple of band members, and was soon sorted.


The second set started with a selection of numbers showcasing the talents of different sections of the band beginning with a violin piece performed to perfection by Colin, then it was time for Hayley to sing the exquisite 'Our Love' a track from her solo album 'Silver Screen' accompanied by Cagri on keyboards.
After her turn she said she needed time to cool down so left us in the safe hands of the guys for the instrumental 'State of Grace', its gentle slow burning opening gradually building slowly but surely a tour-de-forc - Gig and Comeback


Discography

The Gathering Light - (Winner of Best International Album in the Web World Awards 2010.)

Silver Screen (Hayley's Original Album - Winner of Classical Crossover Album of the Year 2010)

Celtic Rose (Hayley's own album collection of Celtic Songs)

Strange Behaviour (Live Album)

Delicate Flame of Desire

The Storm

Karnataka (Debut EP)

Photos

Bio

Sshhh, whisper... like all best kept secrets, Karnataka is spoken of in the hushed tones reserved for the most revered of bands; a band many believe is poised to climb much greater heights as they embark on their 15 date New Light UK tour.

Karnataka combine a widescreen vision with cinematic soundscapes, inspired by the distant echoes of their Celtic heartland. Ethereal vocal melodies woven through epic instrumentation combine to create a unique tapestry of sound. This best kept secret is longing to be shared.

The band’s recent release, The Gathering Light, winner of ‘Best International Album’ at the Web World Awards, is a real tour de force, a contemporary Celtic rock masterpiece that transcends musical boundaries, transporting you to an era when musicianship, creativity and individuality were the hallmark of British Rock legends. It is this unique sound that has been garnering the attention of such legends including Robert Plant, Status Quo and Porcupine Tree.

Lead Vocalist Hayley Griffiths is no stranger to the spotlight, starring in some of the worlds most successful stage productions including the Celtic phenomenon, ‘Riverdance’ and ’Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance’. Handpicked by Flatley himself, Hayley has performed across 4 continents in some of the world’s most prestigious venues from The Kremlin Palace, Moscow to The Akasaka Act Theatre, Tokyo, where she sang for Her Imperial Majesty Emperor of Japan. 2011 saw Hayley perform alongside Il Divo at the Royal Albert Hall to a televised audience of millions. Hayley’s beautiful, haunting voice has won her many plaudits including winning the Best Classical Crossover Album Award for her self- penned debut album, ‘Silver Screen.’

At the heart of the band is founding member, bassist/guitarist Ian Jones. His creative passion has been the driving force behind Karnataka since the bands inception. It was his obsessive journeys to the most majestic and sacred river of South India (the Kaveri in the state of Karnataka), in search of a giant mythical fish, the Mahseer, that gave the band its name. Defying the deathly sting of a scorpion, ravaging heat and a crocodile infested river, whilst in awe of the land and its people, Ian returned inspired. Karnataka was born.

From the relative obscurity of Genoa in Italy, Enrico Pinna has emerged as a guitarist of almost unlimited potential, his virtuoso playing and anthemic, strident solos, perhaps inspired by a desire to reach beyond the sea and mountains which surround his native city. Enrico has astounded seasoned observers with his scintillating guitar playing, which all who have witnessed it have felt duty bound to liken to the rock gods of British guitar music with comparisons to Beck, Page and Gilmour aplenty.

Keyboard player Cagri Tozluoglu hails from the historical, mystical city of Istanbul in Turkey where the Middle East meets the West in a cultural melting pot, and where arabesque sounds mingle with rock riffs and power pop choruses. His classical training and sublime playing are matched by his adoption of cutting edge sounds and technology. Cagri exemplifies the bands forward thinking and creative spirit, not content on reliving the past, his approach is progressive in the truest sense of the word.

Multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold brings a whole new dimension to the band’s sound, a kaleidoscope of colour that shines diamond bright from his eloquent violin playing and intricate, sometimes fragile acoustic guitar work, to soaring lead breaks; often moving effortlessly between all three within one song. Colin has made his mark on the band’s sound in the most beautiful of ways.