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KARNATAKA

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Karnataka biography
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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Buy KARNATAKA Music


New Light: Live in ConcertNew Light: Live in Concert
Import
Immrama Records 2012
Audio CD$12.27
$11.34 (used)
Secrets of AngelsSecrets of Angels
United States Dist 2015
Audio CD$18.98
StormStorm
Import
Immramma UK 2003
Audio CD$12.20
$9.76 (used)
Gathering LightGathering Light
Import
VOICEPRINT UK 2010
Audio CD$18.66
$25.00 (used)
Delicate Flame of DesireDelicate Flame of Desire
Import
Immramma UK 2003
Audio CD$19.43
$23.44 (used)
New Light: Live in Concert [Blu-ray]New Light: Live in Concert [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray · Import
Immrama Records 2012
Blu-ray$22.57
$66.00 (used)
Strange Behaviour LiveStrange Behaviour Live
Import
Immramma UK 2004
Audio CD$26.98
$243.48 (used)
In ConcertIn Concert
Classic Rock Legends 2002
DVD$44.40
$55.55 (used)
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KARNATAKA shows & tickets


  • Karnataka at Islington Town Hall, London on 9 May 2015

KARNATAKA discography


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

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

3.42 | 22 ratings
Karnataka
1998
3.51 | 43 ratings
The Storm
2000
3.31 | 64 ratings
Delicate Flame Of Desire
2003
3.51 | 136 ratings
The Gathering Light
2010
3.74 | 40 ratings
Secrets of Angels
2015

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

4.41 | 13 ratings
Strange Behaviour
2004
4.00 | 7 ratings
New Light Live in Concert
2012

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
In Concert
2002
4.27 | 7 ratings
Live In The USA
2003
4.00 | 3 ratings
New Light Live in Concert
2012

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)

KARNATAKA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Secrets of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 40 ratings

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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.

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 Secrets of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 40 ratings

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Secrets of Angels
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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

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 Secrets of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 40 ratings

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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.

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 Secrets of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 40 ratings

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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.

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 The Gathering Light by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.51 | 136 ratings

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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.

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 Delicate Flame Of Desire by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.31 | 64 ratings

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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.

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 The Gathering Light by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.51 | 136 ratings

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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 £43 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.

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 The Gathering Light by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.51 | 136 ratings

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The Gathering Light
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

1 stars It's that time when I start thinking about albums of the year but ''The Gathering Light'' won't be making my shortlist that's for sure, unless it's as the most disappointing release of 2010. After reading a number of reviews across the internet I had great expectations of this album being a bit of a modern classic, blending Celtic elements with progressive music. Also, a couple of my friends here at ProgArchives have already rated the album highly but I'm afraid I don't share any of this enthusiasm for it. Sorry, guys.

I haven't heard any of Karnataka's other albums but the prog quotient on this one seems to be borderline at best and the folk influence is pretty well non-existent into the bargain, unless you count the intermittent use of uillean pipes and whistles.

Camel seems to be an influence but Karnataka's melodies just don't cut it. Several songs actually remind me of the Evanescence ballad ''My Immortal'' and that's another problem here, the lack of any great variety between tracks. To me this sounds like an insipid collection of songs with formulaic arrangements, fairly rudimentary drumming and incessant piercing guitar solos.

If it's New Age/ Celtic folk you're after then I'd recommend Enya. Titter ye not, Enya is a wonderful musician and songwriter. If you need convincing just listen to ''Watermark'', a truly progressive and groundbreaking album from 22 years ago! ''The Gathering Light'' sounds like muzak in comparison.

The running time of this disc is a bit over an hour but, honestly, listening to this seems longer than spending a week in the jail. My first 1-star rating, 'nuff said?

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 Karnataka by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.42 | 22 ratings

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Karnataka
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars Now that also Heather Findlay has left the Mostly Autumn I was looking for a band able to replace them in my preferences and thanks to PA I discovered this South-Welsh band. My first impression with this debut album was that they are closer to neo-prog bands like Marillion than to Mostly Autumn. Of course Rachel Jones can remind to Mostly Autumn, but there's not that obstinate attempt to sound like David Gilmour that's typical of Bryan Josh. They also don't have the celtic riffs of the first MA albums.

In brief they are different.

Try to imagine Steve Hogarth singing instead of Rachel and if you don't consider a slow song like "Until Next Time" that's effectively very close to Mostly Autumn,they could be the Marillion of the first Hogarth's period.

Said so, is this a good album? I think yes. It's a debut, it's well played and it's promising.

I need to listen to more of them but this CD makes me wishing to try more.

3 stars by now.

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 The Gathering Light by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.51 | 136 ratings

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The Gathering Light
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by Theo Verstrael

4 stars It was a long wait, as this album was announced as far back as the start of 2009, but at last we can enjoy it. Or undergo it, it just depends if you like Judy Tzuke. Judy Tzuke? Well, for me Liza Fury is an good choice to replace the unreplacable Rachel Jones and she really delivers very good vocals on this album, but she simply sounds like Judy Tzuke. And that does not fit in quite well with Karnataka's spherical music, to my taste. And I really liked Judie Tzuke back then! But let's start from the beginning. The album opens with a short track that has no other meaning than to set the stage. In fact it is really superfluous, it does not add anything new neither does it irritate. Then the band really bursts out in 'The state of grace', a beautifully crafted instrumental. Well, it could have been if the band had decided to split it in half and record two shorter instrumental pieces. Because the break halfway the song is so horrible, so ugly, so non-melodic, it is unbelievable that they recorded it this way. Before this horrendous break the song is gentle and slowpaced, after the break there is some loud guitar playing that really caresses the ears. It could have been a classic, it is not now. 'Moment in time' is one of my favourites. The vocal line is beautifully crafted and strongly sung, the chorus is touching and it has the perfect length. The long pieces are a bit too long as they are quite repetitive in some parts, especially the end section of the title track. All other tracks on the album are actually quite beautiful and rather quiet, although the guitar playing can be loud in times. The overall sound is slightly more dreamy, even more symphonic than 'Delicate flame of flowers' which makes sense now that a fully new band is playing. The addition of Donockley's pipes is absolutely superb and gives the music the folky element that is probably not very necessary but yet very nice to listen too.

All in all I really like this album but I can't enjoy it as much as I did 'Delicate'. I discovered the band by that last-mentioned album and was completely blown away. This rendition of Karnataka is promising, especially in its symphonic moments, but it should never play those ugly breaks again as in 'State of grace'. And they do have a new lead singer as Liza Fury left the band after recording this album. 4 stars

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