As I developed this music, I oriented toward voice and movement as new modes of expression, expanding my musicality and perspective. I’ve shared the depth of these explorations in my PhD dissertation: Time, Virtuosity, and Ethics Otherwise: Queer Resonances for Diasporic Play (2021). The album documents a live studio performance recorded on January 12, 2021, permeated by the magic of sharing music amidst great stillness and uncertainty. This music has offered deep connection and catharsis for me, and I hope that it resonates with you.
A project I started a decade ago, this ensemble has carried me through profound shifts in perspective and moments of uncertainty. Since its inception, RAJAS has featured musicians whose endless curiosity and openness have taught me a great deal. I am immensely grateful to Miles, Stephan, and Ganavya, who have guided me with their studied sound and wisdom over many years. In fact, this album was made possible by Ganavya, who consistently believed in and advocated for this music to be shared with the world. I also extend my deep gratitude to Utsav, Anna, and Adam, who joined the ensemble more recently, finding their way seamlessly into this music and expanding its horizons. The Sanskrit word ‘rajas’ refers to the human drive for creativity, action, and transformation— it is ultimately a collective effort to keep moving and dreaming forward.
original compositions by Rajna Swaminathan (Srotovaha Music, BMI) / “altitude” co-written with Ganavya (ASCAP)
Rajna Swaminathan - mrudangam, voice
Ganavya - voice
Utsav Lal - piano
Miles Okazaki - guitar
Stephan Crump - bass
Adam O'Farrill - trumpet
Anna Webber - tenor sax
co-produced by Ganavya
recorded at The Bunker Studio by Aaron Nevezie
mixing/mastering by Ryan Renteria
Photographs and performance film stills by Adrien H. Tillmann
CD design by Rajna Swaminathan & Kaya Marks
Apertures was commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Program, with generous funding provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Harvard University Music Department.