by Lukas Mantel

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KOLAM KORVAI is a personal approach to carnatic percussion from my perspective as a drumset player. Using Konnakol to translate the phrases, I intend to enrich the possibilities of both, the carnatic and my own musical culture, by adapting the melody of the korvai in a personal way.
Realized during a residency in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, from November 2016 until January 2017, with the kind support of Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

A korvai is a rhythmical composition created by South Indian percussion players (mrdangam, kanjira, ghatam & moorsing) to delight the audience, the musicians on stage and the gods. A korvai is played solo or in unison as a part of an extended percussion solo (thaniavartanam) during the main composition of a concert. It should sound natural, should have a strong musical expression and at the same time it must fulfill certain mathematical premises. Some Korvais become standards, some vanish after just one performance.
By isolating the korvai from its original context its compositional potential and its qualities as an independent artwork are emphasised. Some korvais are recorded twice, but with different textures.

Kolams are geometrical drawings made with white rice powder on the floor, found at many front gates in India. They are made to prevent evil spirits from entering the house, to bring prosperity and in older days even to distract ants by offering them a meal. Kolams may be mathematically intricate and highly abstract or very mystical, using philosophical and religious symbolism. They are made with natural intention, in a short time and last for only one day.

The creation of a korvai as well as of a kolam requires intuition, every day practice and creativity. Once displayed to the public, both become common goods, instantly absorbed and transformed into new forms. KOLAM KORVAI shall be a raw and imperfect attempt to represent some of their magical beauty and to connect these two familiar rhythmic expressions to each other.
By downloading the album you ll'get a individual KOLAM together with every KORVAI


released February 1, 2017

Lukas Mantel: drums, drawings
Korvai composers: Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer (12), Kumbakonam Rangu Iyengar (16), Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman (8,14), Karaikudi Mani (13,22,23) Umayalpuram Mali (6),
Dr. S. Karthick (18,24), B.Shree Sundarkumar (2,5,17)

Recorded at Academy of Western Music, Chennai,
January 9-13, 2017
Edited & mixed in Zürich, January 23-25, 2017

Thank You: B. Shree Sundarkumar, Umayalpuram Mali, Dr. S. Karthick, Sumita Chesetty, Pro Helvetia India & Switzerland, John Sudhakar & AWM Chennai Team, Vinay, Naresh & Ramesh, Ronan Guilfoyle, Leo Blanco, Audiomedia Chennai, Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music, Saulo Bortoloso, Muriel Pérez

Review by Dæv Tremblay, CanThisEvenBeCalledMusic:

Lukas Mantel is a Swiss drummer and percussionist, and he released Kolam korvai this week. A korvai is a percussions-only, mathematically interesting composition from South India. The EP thus comprises eighteen short tracks that are musically and technically impressive yet flow naturally – as a good korvai should. It’s something different, but also interesting, challenging, and fascinating!


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Lukas Mantel Zürich, Switzerland

drummer & composer based in Zurich, Switzerland

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