Prince Rama of Ayodhya
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Prince Rama of Ayodhya

Band Rock Avant-garde


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"ALBUM REVIEW: Folk songs and mysticism combine on young American troupe’s debut."


Taking their name form a hero of ancient Hindu legend, the latest incarnation of Prince Rama of Ayodhya comes in the form of a Boston-based trio seeking to storm the heavens with their own union of Western folk and Eastern transcendence.
With a voice somewhere between Kate Bush and Dame Darcy, singer Taraka Larson links arms with cohorts Nimai Larson and Michael Collins in a joyful celestial shindig with temple bells, music hall piano, and sky high psychedelic mandalas. Fusing part and present with the invention of, say, CocoRosie and Espers, they marry old-time Americana to the acid-spiked freedom of Incredible String Band and percussive mantras of Asian devotional music in a fresh and unforced way.

- Mojo

"ALBUM REVIEW: Boston Trio Take New Acid Folk Direction"

Growing up in a Krishna community helps explain the new name chosen by Michael Collins, Taraka and Nimai Larson for the indie-folk band formerly known as Dasi. Once based in Florida, the trio have relocated to Boston, expanding their sounds to incorporate Eastern instrumentation into a cacophony of psych drones, banjo-plucking twangs and wax-cylinder crackles. Threshold Dances is dauntingly quirky in places, but it contains many splendid moments of artfully disheveled gypsy-punk, junk-shop clonk-pop and antique-textured beauty. - Uncut


How many times must have I described how it feels to slide under the massive arches of an exotic citadel, the wonder of a bazaar where a thousand wares lie displayed for demanding adventurers to inspect, words from a thousand dialects fence in bargaining followed by the tinkling of a thousand currencies stamped on the same gold they all chase, white-robed penitents march under the angry gaze of sneaky pickpockets very aware of suspicious guards in iron breastplates at the feet of marble towers at whose top lounge damsels covered in silk who long with misty eyes for the opportunity to slide under those arches alone, bereft of vassals, bodyguards and assorted minions, free and outside into the plains.

I could have done a better job if I had read Samuel R. Delany, Fritz Leiber or Italo Calvino, or if I had put into the stereo the rather astonishing ‘Zetland’ by Prince Rama of Ayodhya. Particularly Gold Dawn, which sounds like an intoxicating melange of Magma, Gang Gang Dance, Fremen country music and Neveryon gospel. It is prog as fuck, and in the best possible way, unhinged, whirling beautiful music which soars like layers of fabric covering the bodies of the Gods as they dance beyond the blue veil of the sky, shedding them one after another, each of them becoming a different season.

- 20 Jazz Funk Greats

"Architecture of Utopia"

Our next group sound as if they are not from this planet. In fact, they sound as if they are from some far-off future world and we have caught up with them in mid-initiation ritual chant mode about the worship and honoring of their third sun. Prince Rama of Ayodhya is a psych-folk group from Jamaica Plain who base their music on ancient sounds and chants. Their beautiful enchanting music is wonderfully unique and they have kindly given us a few exclusive tracks from an cross-platform project and collaboration that they have just completed with an architect, an EP entitled "The Architecture of Utopia". This sound would give The Incredible String Band a run for their money on outer dimensional ideas in folk.

- London Institute of Contemporary Art : The Experiment

"SXSW 2009 Live Review"

Prince Rama was, undoubtedly, the weirdest, most compelling show I saw all week. Two drummers playing a part that could have easily been done by a lone, competent percussionist? A spacey, autoharp strumming neo-flower child operatically moaning into the microphone? A dirty-moustached, head-banging, keyboard mashing teenager opposite? And when the power blew - as it would several times at Treasure City Thrift over the course of the afternoon - a stomping, clapping, a capella gospel number? Wait, what?
Of the thirty-odd bands I saw at SXSW, Prince Rama also has the songs that stick most clearly in my mind. Processional, noisy, distorted lamentations and proclamations about God-knows-what make Prince Rama a band that one is compelled towards and mesmerized by like Odysseus to his sirens. I have a strange feeling that I’ll be seeing them again.

- Impose Magazine

"ALBUM REVIEW: Threshold Dances"

The only description that fits is: psychedelic devotional freak-folk noise. The band - Taraka Larson, Nimai Larson and Michael Collins - came out of a Hare Krishna farm and started playing in Boston, linking with Cosmos Recordings through a shared appreciation of arch-psychedelicists Skygreen Leopards. They combine influences from the Incredible String Band and Kate Bush to Coco Rosie, Devendra Banhart and an ashram’s worth of South Asian music. Eclectic isn’t the half of it- there’s chanting, werewolf howls and Indian opera, together with Native American ritual songs. You’re always afraid that it’s all going a bit New Age – and they’ve been known to hand out bells, hand drums and conch shells to audience members – but it never gets quite that indulgent. Taraka Larson’s voice is discordant and has a Marmite quality – one moment off-key wailing in ‘Gita Nagari’, another singing operatically on ‘Skipping Stones’ - but the songs have a solid construction with a loud/soft dynamic and a way of making surprising musical juxtapositions. - SoundsXP alternative music webzine

"LIVE REVIEW:Prince Rama and Psychic Ills at the Pierre Menard Gallery"

Prince Rama handed out little noisy instruments to all the people standing in the front and the four of them started chanting, conjuring up a lovely dancer from the depths of the gallery’s basement. Once she arrived, the band members stationed themselves at their proper places and went to town while the princess danced for us all. It was a wonderful way to start a show, especially for a band like Prince Rama, who’s music is deserving of such a sight. After the first song, the dancer retreated to the basement and Prince Rama continued their exuberant and fun filled set with dual drum pummelers, plenty of exotic electronics, and more chanting. These guys are simply amazing live and if they ever come near you, it’s certainly worth a trip to see them.


"LIVE REVIEW: Belgium"

While Animal Collective starts to sound like Faithless and Joanna Newsom bought a luxury yacht in the Cote D'Azur, American hipsters are feverishly seeking new hippies to pitchfork. If you think of it, Prince Rama of Ayodhya have everything they need: They sound like Kate Bush on peyote, backed up by Lexie Mountain Boys and a circle of Chikasaw Indians. They met in a Hare Krishna temple and they wear purple leggings, tie dyed yoga shirts and healing stones. Moreover, they sure know how to start a decent party. -

"Prince Rama merges Krishna, pop music"

Until now I thought that for all intents and purposes, the drum circle, chant combo was the extent of Krishna music, that even George Harrison at his most spiritual moments was as close as I would come to hearing the synthesis of Krishna and pop music. Prince Rama of Ayodhya then pried open the lock on my brain, and answered the mystery.

The trio, based out of Boston, formed somewhere in a Florida swamp at a Hare Krishna farm. Taraka Larson, Nimai Larson and Michael Collins quickly grew in the Boston scene and eventually toured Europe. Now, they're coming to Gainesville for a Saturday show at Wayward Council, a venue with a growing reputation for booking ultra-alternative, national acts.

Prince Rama's music has mysticism, spiritualism and heavy Eastern influences. But for all the beauty that rises out of the dense mixture of guitars, synthesizers, tribal drums, conchs, bells and chants lies the reality that most listeners don't really get it.

The aural pleasure in their music is present, and it will certainly pique the interest of world music fans and Hare Krishnas, but the ritualistic arrangement and performance of the songs, which has been known to include werewolf summings-up and Sanskrit invocations, may get lost in translation for a first time listener, or even a 100-time listener.
The simplicity of the lunch-time drum circle is comforting, but the expansion of sound and the way they compartmentalize long "jams" into four-minute structures is what has warranted a cult following for Prince Rama.

In trying to find a reference point I can offer only one band, and that is Dead Can Dance, and even then I am probably thinking in terms far too Western. There is a sensible and admirable charm in playing music that sounds modern and 4000 years old at the same time, and Prince Rama surely will deliver it

- Scene Magazine

"ALBUM REVIEW: Threshold Dances"

“ **** ”
Here's a rum business: an album of freak-folk clatter and acid- psych thrum by a Boston-based trio who seem designed for gigs lit by midnight bonfire. Wolf howls and some dark banjo business bustle as freeform vocals undulate wildly over wax-cylinder crackles, handclaps and vigorous melodies.



Threshold Dances- (LP split release by Oregan Records (US) April 2009 and Cosmos Records (UK) December 2008)

Haunted Aquarius- (7" EP single, self-released May 2009)

Divine Journey (12" split single, released by Spookytown Artifacts June 2009)

Zetland (LP split release by Irma Vep Tapes (US) October 2009 and Cosmos (UK) January 2010)

Architecture of Utopia (LP 12" vinyl only ltd. edition release by Animal Image Search, February 2010)

Various tracks from all of the above releases have had airplay on a number of European, American, and Australian radio stations, including WFMU (NYC), and the BBC (UK)



Spawned from the vernal heat of the Florida swamps amidst swirling patterns of pine orchards and pre-Columbian artifacts, Prince Rama of Ayodhya was whispered into the ears of Taraka Larson, Nimai Larson, and Michael Collins in the summer of 2007 by the clanging of prayer bells and goat-skin drums. They left the Hare Krishna farm where they were staying and formed a creative nucleus in Boston, MA where they gained a cult following in the underground art and psychedelic folk and noise circles who were mesmerized by their captivating blend of campfire surrealism and transcendental anthems of every cosmic order.

Taraka studied experimental film in art school, and her songwriting reflects an almost cinematic quality, taking listeners on labyrinthine sonic safaris with sparkling lyrical imagery intensified by Nimai's tribal drumming and elevated to the astral plane by Michael's sci-fi synth lines; the result is a sonic experience that takes the listener through celestial residue and archaeological constellations of a timeless civilization pining for self realization, while conjuring lingering anthemic melodies that haunt the fringes of the collective psyche. At times, one can hear echoes of eclectic influences stretching from weird folk and hallucinatory operas set to thunder drums to a plethora of ethnographic recordings of Native American and Southeast Asian rituals; yet, the culminating holistic sound is one that is strikingly unique.

In a short time, the trio was picked up by the British-based psychedelic label, Cosmos Recordings. After sending them a handmade tape with a few dozen tracks recorded in forests and candle-lit bedrooms Cosmos released a collection of these lo-fi recordings as "Threshold Dances" in August 2008 and flew them out to England to tour, play a radio session for the BBC, participate in the Stockton International Fringe Festival and Greenman Festival and record a second album, “Zetland”, which Prince Rama self-released in June 2009 to coincide with a series of extensive US tours.

In their young lifespan, Prince Rama has toured the US and UK several times over, traveling with Teeth Mountain and sharing stages with Caribou, Wooden Shjips, Magik Markers, Psychic Ills, Indian Jewelry, Pocahaunted, and Kurt Vile and playing festivals with Pentangle, Spiritualized, Iron and Wine, Clinic, Black Mountain and many others. Their engaging and often unpredictable live shows reflect their eclectic pool of mysticism; amidst collective chants, werewolf summonings, and Sanskrit invocations, they have been known to distribute hand drums, conch shells, bells, gongs, and other various percussion to members of the audience to create the ultimate communal ritual experience.

They are currently working on their latest record, “Architecture of Utopia” which is a unique collaboration with the internationally acclaimed visionary artist, Paul Laffoley, that explores the act of mapping utopia through the means of a one-sided vinyl record that traces the journey from the far reaches of the cosmos to the center of the earth via the mandalic architecture of the record. They performed the project at the opening of Laffoley’s solo exhibition at the Kent Gallery in New York in January 2009, and are preparing to give another performance of it at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in late November, in conjunction with a European tour with Amen Dunes. In response to the project, the London Institute of Contemporary Art deemed Prince Rama “a group not of this planet”.