SPRUCE RITUAL is a dance between Western Classical and North Indian Classical: Ancient yet living traditions which have made deep and profound impressions on my life.
Violin, viola, and cello — the signature strings of chamber music — are at the foundation of my compositions. Their harmonies and dynamic interplay are characteristic of chamber music in the early Romance Era.
I use sitar and tabla (both common Indian instruments) extensively, while also occasionally singing on selected tracks. There are no lyrics in this album, just sounds such as “ahhhs,” “oohhhs,” sargam (singing the notes of the composition), and syllables commonly found in North Indian Classical music. I gravitate towards using “raga” (an Indian melodic framework of musical phrases), though only flirtatiously and not strictly, and “taal” (Indian rhythmic structures), the latter of which is very evident in the tabla playing. I’ve also been deeply influenced by compositional elements of the North Indian Classical tradition, taught to me by Bruce Hamm (a senior disciple of the late and great Ustad Ali Akbar Khan).
Combining all of that, swirling it around with my own life experiences of devotion, love, loss, melancholy, and excitement, and you have what I consider the best expression of my internal landscape thus far. I do hope you enjoy this album.
–Lucian Kano Balmer