The project, “Eight Ragas” was based on documented, historical contact in the late 18th Century between the colonial European administrators of North India’s plantations, who brought the instruments and music fashions of London and elsewhere with them to India, and the local Hindustani nobility with their highly-trained musical retainers. Although Indian and western instruments were sometimes played together in private concerts, these fusion experiments were never recorded.
Barry Phillips’s research, writing, and improvisation with the Lux Musica culminated with a 40-minute intercultural fusion that re-imagined this historical East-West encounter. Premiered at the 2010 Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, the finished work was performed on early European instruments (flute, violin, viola da gamba, harpsichord), together with Barry Phillips on cello, accompanied by tabla (traditional Hindustani drums), tambourine, and finger cymbals.
In addition to his extensive activities with Indian music, including a dozen years touring with Ravi Shankar, Barry Phillips has worked as a composer, arranger, and performer appropriating Celtic, Shaker, and Scandinavian music sources and toured with a variety of world-heritage level performing artists.
The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival produces and presents concerts of early music—including work from the medieval period through the 20th Century. It aims to cross barriers to insure the relevancy of its art and has premiered a number of innovative performances.