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Prog Folk • United Kingdom

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Karnataka biography
Founded in Swansea, Wales, UK in 1997 - Disbanded in 2004 - Reformed in 2005 - Suspended activity in late 2017

Following in the wake of MOSTLY AUTUMN, Karnataka aim to synthesise traditional Celtic music with melodic Progressive rock. Formed in the mid 90's, the original line-up of the Swansea based band included Rachel Jones (vocals), Ian Jones (bass), Jonathan Edwards (keyboards), Paul Davis (guitars) and Gavin Griffiths (drums), with Steve Simmons guesting on Saxophone.

Their eponymous debut demonstrated the bands capability in creating romantic, melodic, Camelesque and Floydian soundscapes, laced throughout with strong folk and Celtic influences (enhanced through the use of flute). These often atmospheric ambiences provide a backdrop for the beautiful, haunting voice of Rachel Jones; again reminiscent of Mostly Autumn's Heather Findlay, both in terms of her range, and in the harmonies she is able to create. The consequence is that Karnataka may be compared favourably with bands such as Enya, Clannad & Iona, and would be recommended for fans of those bands.

After two further studio albums; The Storm (2000) and Delicate Flame of Desire (2003), key members of the band broke away to form or work with other projects. By the time Rachel Jones (Cohen) had joined 'The Reasoning' in time to add her vocals to their 2007 debut Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, Paul Davis and Gavin Griffiths had already broken away to form PANIC ROOM with Anne-Marie Helder, who had performed backing vocals on Delicate Flame.

Sole survivor Ian Jones however has recently resurrected Karnataka with a new line-up consisting of Lisa Fury (vocals), Ian Harris (drums), Gonzalo Carerra (keyboards) & Enrico Pinna (lead & acoustic guitars). Having recently started touring together, the new band are also writing material for a new studio album, 'Chasing The Monsoon' which is set for a Spring 2009 release, and will include an appearance by Troy Donockley.

:::: Bio written by Jared, aka Fandango, Herefordshire, UK ::::

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Delicate Flame of DesireDelicate Flame of Desire
Immramma Uk 2003
$9.18 (used)
Secrets of AngelsSecrets of Angels
United States Dist 2015
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Gathering LightGathering Light
$11.99 (used)
Secrets Of Angels LiveSecrets Of Angels Live
Immrama 2018
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Immramma UK 2003
$22.04 (used)
New Light: Live in Concert [Blu-ray]New Light: Live in Concert [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
Immrama Records 2012
$19.33 (used)
New LightNew Light
Immrama 2015
$20.47 (used)
Strange Behaviour LiveStrange Behaviour Live
Immramma UK 2004
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In ConcertIn Concert
Classic Rock Legends 2002
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KARNATAKA discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

KARNATAKA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 31 ratings
3.44 | 51 ratings
The Storm
3.33 | 76 ratings
Delicate Flame Of Desire
3.53 | 152 ratings
The Gathering Light
3.75 | 84 ratings
Secrets Of Angels

KARNATAKA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.37 | 20 ratings
Strange Behaviour
4.10 | 10 ratings
New Light Live in Concert

KARNATAKA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.33 | 6 ratings
In Concert
4.28 | 9 ratings
Live In The USA
4.38 | 8 ratings
New Light Live in Concert

KARNATAKA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KARNATAKA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Gathering Light by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.53 | 152 ratings

The Gathering Light
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars In the dim and distant past I travelled to a Sleeping Giant gig, intrigued to see what the ex-So & So's were doing, and aware that Steve Rothery would also be appearing. But they weren't the headline, that honour belonging to Karnataka. To be honest, I wasn't exactly impressed with what they were doing, and spent more of their set outside chatting with Dave Foster, and wasn't overly surprised when I heard that they had broken up a while later. But, bassist Ian Jones kept hold of the name while others departed to The Reasoning and Panic Room, and eventually put together a brand-new band using the same name as before. The first time I heard this 2010 album I was amazed, as here was real power and depth, a vibrancy and passion that immediately made an impact. Lisa Fury has a great voice, while the rest of the guys (Ian Harris (drums), Gonzalo Carrera (keyboards, piano) and Enrico Pinna (guitars)) are wonderful musicians.

There are obvious similarities to bands such as Mostly Autumn, and when listening to their use of uilleann pipes, I had a little smile to myself and thought "There's Troy Donockley", and yes it was. They also use a "real" string section as opposed to synthesised, and I note that one of these is Hugh McDowell who I first saw on TV playing with Wizzard more than forty years ago, but is probably best remembered for his years with ELO.

The album starts with an emotional, atmospheric prelude, where held-down keyboard chords provide the backdrop for Troy to place his magic. "State Of Grace" commences with some beautifully clear guitar lines, and then the band start to build and really project. This album is a delight from the start to end with elements of folk combining with symphonic progressive rock to create something that is quite special indeed. The band seem to be just at home playing light and gentle or over the top bombast, and it is this contrast that highlights the different aspects of their music. The opening prelude, "The Calling?" is an instrumental, as is "State Of Grace", which is nine minutes long, and it is only a minute into "Your World" that Lisa finally makes an entrance, as the band move into a more syncopated style. Up to then the listener things that can there be no room at all for a singer as the music is so complex, and after that one asks why were they not using her previously?

I may not have been a fan of Karnataka in their previous incarnation, but I like these guys, a lot.

 Secrets Of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 84 ratings

Secrets Of Angels
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Formed back in the mid-Nineties, UK band Karnataka originally earned attention with their second album `The Storm', fronted by Rachel Jones who would later sing for The Reasoning. Not as complex as other female-fronted prog-related groups such as White Willow, as overtly `retro-prog' as Magenta sometimes were, nor as gutsy as Mostly Autumn could be, Karnataka always had a more streamlined, straightforward yet classy pop/rock/ballad sound with light progressive qualities. The group are now on their third singer and a reworked line-up, and although the exquisite Hayley Griffiths has been performing live with the group for a few years now (initially brought in to replace singer Lisa Fury from their fourth album `The Gathering Light' who jumped ship pretty much by the time that album was just released!), this is her official studio debut for the band. It's great to report that `Secrets of Angels' is their best work yet that should see the status of the band raise even higher on the strong results they deliver here.

While the previous CD started to liven things up a little, in comparison `Secret of Angels' is bold, confident and delivered with great power and conviction, and although still very much song based, Karnataka's music sounds more sophisticated than ever before. Symphonic synths and dramatic orchestration is plastered over much of the album that even brings hints of gothic touches, more muscular guitars never resort to lazy metal riffing, big soaring choruses are memorable without being obviously commercial, and Hayley's vocals thankfully stay on the right side of musical-theatre without ever becoming cringe- worthy.

`Road to Cairo' is a punchy opener with middle-eastern tinged orchestration, and `Because of You' is the sort of goth-lite hard rocker with a massive chorus that would have made Evanescence a fortune at the peak of their popularity, and it's just as likely to appeal to younger female listeners as well. `Poison Ivy' is breathless and bombastic, the tip-toing melancholic piano verses of `Forbidden Dreams' are lifted by a gutsy chorus, and the more up-tempo `Borderline' stomps with purpose. Two more ballads then pop up - `Fairytale Lies' is highlighted by Hayley's sumptuous multi-layered harmonies and delicate harp throughout, while the deeply romantic `Feels Like Home' should be destined to soundtrack weddings around the world, as well as appealing to devoted couples. Awwww, dat's love, baby!

But the band finally truly stretch their prog legs with the seven-part twenty-minute epic title-track, and after a run of verse- chorus structured pieces, the extra running time allows more longer instrumental sections and less straight-forward passages. It reintroduces some of the light Celtic touches from their earlier albums, and it's unsurprising to find Troy Donockley contributing Uilleann pipes and whistles. There's a strong folk element throughout the piece with powerful symphonic roars, ghostly and ethereal siren calls over harp and plaintive acoustic guitar, cinematic orchestration swells and heroic guitar solos rising in victory. Best of all, some moments not only have a haunting Loreena Mckennitt-like old-world storytelling quality, but some surprising Fish-era Marillion-style Neo Prog glistening synth diversions as well! `Secrets of Angels' is far and away the most enchanting, complex and lavish work from the band yet, a truly defining piece for the group, and they would be wise to attempt even more of these kind of grandiose journeys on further discs!

Despite the album having consistently strong material, the band should definitely play the `prog card' a little more. Many of the earlier songs push the five-six minute mark, yet those are crammed full of vocals the majority of the time, when a few extra choice keyboard/guitar solo breaks would break up the pieces a bit more. But Karnataka have delivered a superb album with plenty of crossover appeal, big melodies and great playing in `Secrets of Angels', and their fans should be more excited than ever at the promising future of the current incarnation of this talented group.

Four stars.

 Delicate Flame Of Desire by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.33 | 76 ratings

Delicate Flame Of Desire
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by sinslice

4 stars There is also a time to enjoy this kind of music.

One of those rare gems that I initially heard without much enthusiasm some years ago and grew in importance to go appreciating the compositions and performances, good taste, and the distinctive, warm voice of Rachel Jones, perhaps the main protagonist here .. with some timely flute contributions, and guitars and keys perfectly accompanying emotions to be transmitted.

Itīs true that "One Breath Away" is almost irritating, out of place here. "Heart of Stone", which beautifully and with great class closes the work, the title track (with an exciting solo guitar), "After the Rain", "Out of Reach" and "The Right Time", are essential tracks.

From progressive rock standpoint, I understand that it has not generated recognition in general. Still, it contains the required dose for progressive rock lover interest. This is rock, with Folk and Celtic Folk ingredients. A good amalgamation of Iona, Mostly Autumn, Renaissance and Clannad.

 Secrets Of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 84 ratings

Secrets Of Angels
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I hadn't bought a Karnataka album since 2003's Delicate Flame of Desire. It's Celtic infused prog folk was pleasant enough but left me a little underwhelmed. However on a recent Classic Rock magazine freebie Cd my attention was caught by the powerful Road To Cairo with its middle-eastern vibe, strong melodies and latest singer Hayley Griffiths crystal clear expressive tones.

Secrets Of Angels turns out to be a pretty good album but Road To Cairo is its best song. I'd question whether much of this music can be classed as prog, symphonic pop would seem a better description for the most part and there's certainly not much trace of the folk elements anymore. It's not complex music but all very slick and well played with a lush production. When I listen to Secrets Of Angels I could imagine a lot of this music sitting comfortably in a west end musical or in the soundtrack to a Walt Disney film like Frozen or Beauty And The Beast. Partly down to Hayley Griffiths classically trained background no doubt but sometimes the music gets a bit too sweet and twee for my tastes, especially the sugary ballad Fairytale Lies.

I did say Secrets Of Angels is a pretty good album though and it certainly does have its moments. Apart from the previously mentioned opener Road To Cairo, Poison Ivy and Borderline hit with a bit more punch. We're not talking metal here of course but the guitars do cut through the symphonic wall of sound a bit more. The album closes on a high with the 20 minute title track, which is a bit more along the lines of my pre-conceived expectations. It shifts from a Celtic flavoured opening into more bombastic orchestral flavoured parts and has plenty of dynamics with more instrumental interplay than the rest of the album put together, but still giving attention to some strong vocal melodies. At last I'm hearing some prog!

Overall then Secrets Of Angels is a pleasant listen with some strong melodies but unlikely to appeal to those who prefer their prog on the more adventurous side. A few more songs like Road To Cairo could have really raised the level considerably. As it stands a worthy 3 stars.

 Secrets Of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 84 ratings

Secrets Of Angels
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Karnataka released a rather momentous album in 2010, the stunning 'The Gathering Light' that garnered rave critical and fan plaudits, and after a rather long hiatus (5 years) that saw them slightly alter once again their line-up with the departure of the sassy lead singer Lisa Fury, drummer Ian Harris and keyboardist Gonzalo Carrera, they are back with a fine effort indeed. New lead vocalist (and quite ravishing lady) Hayley Griffiths, French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi and Turkish keyboard master Cagri Tozluoglu add to the tradition of sensational voice, booming percussion and sweeping ivories, keeping the Ian Jones-led Karnataka ship in fine form. Guitarist Enrico Pinna is also back to provide some blistering leads and never disappoints. Again, they opt for another extended epic (as with the preceding album title track 'The Gathering Light', which clocked in at 14 minutes+), the whopping 20 minute opus 'Secrets of Angels' seeks to stamp the proceedings with unmistakable prog-rock credentials.

Vivid pieces like the cinematographic opener 'Road to Cairo' set the mood from the get-go, introducing unpretentious, highly melodic nuggets that have all the elements to please, solid drums pushing and egging all the others forward, the melodies that infect you the very first time you perceive them, a bit like being smitten by love at first hearing, light yet resonatingly profound. From that moment on, each track seems to flow into the next, like riveting chapters in a racy romantic novel, further intoxicating the listener into a miraculous emotion- drenched fantasyland. After returning from Egypt, a delicate piano and orchestral drama on the emotionally heavier 'Because of You', slashed by a monster axe solo awaits the longing listener. A gorgeous love song. Contrast that with the slick 'Poison Ivy', a raging and tempestuous lullaby, led by a choked Griffiths vocal and diseased love lyrics. The swirling symphonics and choir elevate this to a palpitating level, tossing in a venomous verse, just to remind all of us that humans can veer from sweet to bitter in a nano-second. Both the insistent and persistent 'Forbidden Dreams' and its companion, the stormy 'Borderline' offer up instantaneous airs that do not meander in molasses-like slosh, quite the opposite really as the bombastic melodies, mammoth choruses and penetrating verses resonate with power and emphasis.

'Fairytale Lies' is a stunning little jewel, served by a classic melody, sung by a siren-like a voice that would make you feel 'reborn from the ashes' and underpinned by a Pinna solo (hihihi, as Kati would say!), a soulful Griffiths vocal that sears the skies. On a delicious track like 'Feels Like Home', the ingenuity of simplicity comes shining through, a soulful, honest internal reflection on the myriad little mosaic tiles that form our daily routine. The massive title track is deliberately kept at the end, a majestic and grandiose finale that leaves a huge impression of contentment. Brilliantly constructed with recurring Celtic themes (under the leadership of Troy Donockley) , seasoned with delicate pipes, whistles, harps and strings, and garnished with colossal orchestrations, titanic choral effects and opera-like vocals from Hayley , owner of a spectral voice that will raise the hair on your back. It's all there, folks, a heady mixture of expert playing, buzzing bass in tow, tectonic drum blasts, shimmering guitar phrasings and overpowering keyboard colorations that will leave one breathless and content. This is easily one of the finest epic pieces that one will enjoy in 2015.

As with the entire Karnataka catalog, this is not technical wizardry or complex multi-suited symphonies that many demanding progressive fans are constantly searching for but a delightful prog-folk that serves as a meticulous stargate into the prog world for the uninitiated. Accessible yet superbly orchestrated, the feminine style is ideal to woo the gentler sex, propelled by the sultry and passionate lead vocals and founded on compact melodies that will adhere to your soul forever. If you enjoy bands like Panic Room, Mostly Autumn, Harvest and a slew of similar female vocal fronted bands, Karnataka is definitely a pioneering band in this style. Team players they remain firmly, there is never a feeling of overt show-off tendencies that may be offensive, as every note is a slave to the spellbinding melody. Every song is a highlight, a lithesome pearl shining in the emerald waters of sound, gliding over well-beaten rocks like a vivid stream searching for some outlet to the faraway sea. Their best effort yet.

5 Clandestine cherubs

 Secrets Of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 84 ratings

Secrets Of Angels
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by huge

3 stars Not quite the seven year gap between albums this time - just the five... as I noted on my last review for KARNATAKA. Though in their defence the group had all moved on (as they had done previously!) but this time the phoenix has risen faster - perhaps they have learnt from the experience...

This is a good album; a very good one if the previous one were not taken into account, which was (imho) a far superior album, this one is too 'samey' and hasn't really progressed, as a result a sense of d'j' vu pervades.

Ian Jones and Enrico Pinna have managed to maintain the status quo and the shrewd addition of Hayley Griffiths cements this, as she has a very similar style to her predecessor, Lisa Fury. We even have the uilleann pipes making a return.

Whilst this all might sound overly negative, I do feel that after THE GATHERING LIGHT this group would struggle to surpass this epic. And I stand by this; but any group having gone through the transition that KARNATAKA has been through would inevitably struggle, but here they have done something that is close to being miraculous - the sound, the direction and the feel is identical - in fact was it really a lapse of five years?

I just hope this reincarnation remains stable and can make the natural progression to their next release...

However, like the predecessor, I will play this a number of times and hopefully it will grow on me.

 Secrets Of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 84 ratings

Secrets Of Angels
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by Thandrus

5 stars Karnataka has been around for more than a while. As with other bands orbiting around the Celtic folk-influenced mellow prog aesthetic, this band has been doing their work at a steady pace - releasing very pleasant, if not very pretentious albums once in 3-4 years, getting the response of their small but quite loyal fan base...

... until now, I hope. I have to admit, Secrets Of Angels is a smash. Being familiar with Karnataka's music yet still having other favourites in this scene, I expected an atmospheric, mellow album with discreet folksy nuances - what we get here is much, much more than that. Of course, we still get most of Karnataka trademarks, like excellent vocals and a nice atmosphere, but boy, what an energy!

Ever since Road To Cairo kicks in, songs bombard us either with sheer energy, or in their calmer moments, with very beautiful vocal melodies that catch your breath anyway. Music is all very colourful, never succumbing to the snooze factor which hangs upon many such releases. Besides the opener, Poison Ivy, Forbidden Dreams and Fairytale Lies seem the brilliant highlights of this very strong selection of songs. They all utilise the same weaponry of killer melodies, but when things work so well, there's no need to change.

And at last, we have the title epic - this in all honesty, is one of the best new music pieces I've heard in recent years. Here's everything Karnataka is about - Celtic intro, haunting harp sequences, achingly beautiful, versatile singing melodies, brilliant performance... And it all is connected by elaborate composition skill that goes from mood to mood, dynamic to dynamic.

To put it short, this is an exceptional, near-perfect release from Karnataka. Very accessible (could even be used as toe-dipper into prog for Celtic music crowd), but very refined, flowing with creativity. 4,5 stars from me, rounded up to 5 and I think we have a very strong contender for the-best-album-of-the-year throne.

 The Gathering Light by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.53 | 152 ratings

The Gathering Light
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The gathering light is the forth album of this UK act, released in 2010 with an almost completly new line-up. Sole survivor Ian Jones recruted new musicians and they compose and performed this album taht is to me almost same as previous one, in manner of composing, only that is some sections, some arrangements are little more up tempo and with more electronic keyboards added in the mix. Still is very melodic, pleasent and accesible kind of prog. This is no better no worse then Delicate, I like both albums almost equaly. Pieces like State of Grace or The Serpent and the Sea are instanly catchy and has all the ingredients to be great tunes, both are excellent performed, with top notch musicianship. Some fantastic keyboards and guitars on State of grace, maybe the best track of the album. The new voice who appears here, of Lisa Fury is more then ok, but I like more Rachel, she had a more deeper profound type of voice then Lisa, but in the end this is more then ok vocal lines. All in all decent towards great in places, Karnataka proved with each album, despite the line up problems, that is a band to watch in the future, they had enjoyble, pleasent and warm music to offer. 3-3.5 stars. For fans of Iona, Mostly Autumn and alike.
 Delicate Flame Of Desire by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.33 | 76 ratings

Delicate Flame Of Desire
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Karnataka is a progressive folk/celtic band from UK with 4 albums released so far. Delicate flame of desire is their third album and I think , at least for me their best. Also this is their final album with original line-up, the female vocalist Rachel Jones will join The Reasoning on the first album, the rest of the musicians minus Ian Jones - the keyboardist Jonathan Edwards and the drumer Gavin Griffiths will form later on the band Panic Room. As the title implies the album is very delicate, gentle with many melodic lines, the voice of Rachel Jones being quite intresing and catchy specially on Time Stands Still. The music is moderatly complicated with celtic and folk passages, remind me of Iona or Mostly Autumn. A pleasent album with enough memorable arrangements to be intrsting for most of the prog listners. Nice instrumental sections combined with dreamy vocal lines Delicate flame of desire is a good album for sure. 3-3.5 stars for this one.

 The Gathering Light by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.53 | 152 ratings

The Gathering Light
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by Starhammer
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Waiting and waiting (and waiting) for the tide to fall...

After the band's dissolution five years ago Karnataka regroup with a lineup built almost from scratch.

The Good: If you are looking for an introduction to the world of modern Progressive Folk then this is a good place to start. The album kicks off with a short instrumental, sounding like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Braveheart, before moving onto the main event, State of Grace. For me, this is the highlight of the whole album and flows effortlessly, with brilliant guitar and keyboards combining throughout in a style that is as symphonic as it is folk. Other standout tracks include The Serpent and the Sea, The Gathering Light and Forsaken which features some excellent drumming from new member Ian Harris.

The Bad: The lyrics are very basic and incredibly repetitive. To put this into context; if I had a pound for every time I heard the words "into the gathering light" then just listening to the title track would make me exactly Ģ43 richer! Clocking in at the just over 68 minutes the album is also far too long and a bit of quality control (read: ditch Your World and Moment in Time) would not go amiss.

The Verdict: As warm and welcoming as its artwork.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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