Suisa Stephan Rigert's Talking-Drums : Between (CH/IND/BF/ML/JAM,2002)****
Talking-Drums not only is a band. It also is an agency consisting now of 5 different World Fusion bands, with masters and musicians from different parts of the world. ‘Between’ is a project with members of India (flute, tabla), Burkina Faso (djembe), Mali (balafon), Jamaica (bass) and Switzerland (guitar & composition, percussion & arrangements). The group hangs together very well. But immediately I noticed the talent of the Indian flute player, Rupak Kulkarni, who plays lightly fluently and vividly, a bit like Malherbe with an Indian touch, ranging from Indian flute playing to jazz flute, playing with a freedom and melodic range that is inspiring. Fitting with that energy is the balafon or wooden xylophone (Lassana Diabeté) with its own vividness, adding exotic colours in the rhythmic range of the band, which is already alternated with hand rhythms on jembe by Adama Dramé and tabla by Anindo Chatterjee.
Some themes were clearly led by guitar compositions, but are performed by flute, or in duet with guitar (Marc Liebeskind). There are jazzy flavours, small funky elements in bass, and exotic world music themes (Indian, African and others) with some rhythmic solos in rich chromatic sounds (Stephan Rigeet). Even when one track starts with rhythm also, the group sound succeeds with a language of its own to create even from this something rich and vivid with melodic themes within its range of a way expressing the handed themes. Very good !