Riley’s talent obvious on new CD |

Riley’s talent obvious on new CD

It is said that everything in life happens for a reason, even if by chance, and perhaps it was that sort of reason that led Gyan Riley to win a classical guitar and lessons at age 12 from a Grass Valley music shop.

The will of the cosmos can be speculated on endlessly, but listening to Riley’s playing, it seems inevitable that he found the guitar as his instrument – his music is a natural, innate form of expression.

Flamenco, Gypsy jazz, and West African rhythms, as well as Indian classical music and the minimalist influences of his father, are all evident in Riley’s latest release, “Melismantra.”

A crossroads of diverse musical traditions, the album presents a unique juxtaposition of acoustic and electric, global and personal. The title track is a meditation on the interplay between instruments – double voices of guitar and electric violin punctuated by tabla – as well as between the artists who play them.

In addition to Riley’s superb acoustic and electric guitar playing, “Melismantra” features the talents of electric violinist Tracy Silverman, drummer Scott Amendola and noted tabla player Zakir Hussein.


Julia Boorinakis-Harper writes and photographs and is a DJ for KVMR.

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