JWQ Showcase 2017

Saturday, April 9, 2016

USA: Sriram Gopal-The Fourth Stream(2016)

Sriram Gopal | The Fourth Stream 
I started performing with the name, The Fourth Stream, back in 2008. There has never been a set lineup due to the vagaries of musicians’ schedules, but there has been a consistent aesthetic. I aim to play music that incorporates any and all influences while retaining a strong commitment to melody, improvisation, and accessibility.

When it came to conceiving a Fourth Stream recording, I initially envisioned it as a love letter to Washington, D.C., the city I’ve called home since 2006. That concept went by the wayside for a number of reasons, but a couple songs from that period remain. "Como Pod’a Groriosa" is a liturgical piece with roots in 13th century Galicia, and was to represent D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood around Catholic University. "Bengali Dhun" honors Subcontinental Drift, a District-based, South Asian community arts organization in which I was deeply involved from 2007 to 2014.

My vision for the album evolved in a more personal way that seems fitting given that 2016 marks 10 years of living in D.C. and my 40th trip around the sun. Some songs represent moments and times in my life where I experienced significant growth as a musician. For example, Geoff Rohrbach’s "Sink" is a tune we used to perform regularly as a duo during the mid-Aughts. "Almost Spring" was the first of my own compositions to see the light of day. Other tracks made the recording simply because their melodies have imprinted themselves on my inner jukebox over the years, as is the case with "Something Good", "Zarafah", and "Nadia".

The recording process was an opportunity to work with some of my favorite musicians from the DMV, most of whom I became acquainted with through my work as a jazz writer for DCist.com. I’m proud that collaboration has led to genuine friendships with these fine artists. To that end, Rob Coltun generously gave me permission to record "Bapuji" and Bobby Muncy contributed two gorgeous arrangements. My appreciation extends equally to all of the other musicians who lent their talent and enthusiasm to this project: Kevin Pace, Kris Funn, Michael Bowie, John Lee, Sameer Kadri, and Janel Leppin-Pirog. Mike Reina and Mat Leffler-Schulman can twist knobs with the best of ‘em and captured some wonderful sounds.

I would also like to thank the community of family and friends that has consistently supported my creative ventures. Finally, I must recognize my parents and sister, who spent years dealing with a racket coming out of the basement without ever telling me to quiet down.

-- Sriram Gopal