Water Lily Acoustics

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Official logo of Water Lily Acoustics


Water Lily Acoustics (WLA) is an American record label based in Santa Barbara, California. It primarily releases recordings of Indian classical music and cross-cultural collaborations between musicians from around the world. The label was founded by the producer Kavichandran Alexander, a Tamil originally from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

From its inception, WLA emphasized Eastern world performers—espousing the belief that great Eastern musicians had seldom been recorded properly, with care and attention placed on sound quality. Water Lily Acoustics strives for high quality sound and faithfulness to the music source. WLA pursues this goal by using proper microphone techniques, state-of-the-art recording equipment, and selecting acoustically suitable recording venues.

WLA pairs musicians from diverse cultures who normally might not perform together. Water Lily Acoustics was the first to pair and record Indian musicians of both Karnatic and Hindustani schools with their Persian, Arab, and Chinese counterparts.[citation needed]

Kavichandran Alexander is known in the audiophile community for a purist approach to recording and his love of analog electronics and tape machines.[citation needed] He records almost exclusively using the Blumlein binaural or Stereosonic method invented by Alan Blumlein, which involves two bidirectional microphones in a coincident 'crossed pair' configuration. Some believe this approach yields the most natural musical balance and the proper ratio of direct-to-reflected sound. The 1993 album A Meeting by the River (featuring Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt) won a Grammy Award.[citation needed]


Water Lily Acoustics has recorded the following Indian master musicians:

WLA has also recorded younger musicians, including:

  • V. Balaji
  • Pandit Ronu Majumdar
  • Sukhvinder Singh Namdari
  • Abhijit Banerjee
  • Druba Ghosh
  • J.G.R. Krishnan
  • Thiagarajan Ramani
  • Shweta Jhaveri, Viji Krishnan
  • Sangeetha Shankar

Many master musicians listed above have been honored by the Indian government.[citation needed]

Water Lily Acoustics has recorded South American, Asian, and African musicians, including:

  • Ustad Salamat Ali Khan
  • Sharafat Ali Khan
  • Shafkat Ali Khan (Pakistan)
  • Dom Un Ramao
  • Flora Purim
  • Airto Moreira
  • Jose Neto (Brazil)
  • Alex Blake (Panama)
  • Jie Bing Chen, Wu Man (China)
  • Saug-Won Park (South Korea)
  • Drepung Loseling Monks (Tibet)
  • Hamza el Din (Sudan)
  • Papa Bunko Susso (Gambia)
  • Simon Shaheen (Palestine)
  • Kim Sinh (Vietnam)
  • Abdellattif Belharrat (Morocco)
  • Mevelavi Ensemble (Turkey)
  • Usted Hossein Alizadeh
  • Arshad Tahmasebi
  • Madjid Khalaj
  • Haj Ghorban Soleimani (Iran)
  • Jorge Strunz (Costa Rica).

Water Lily Acoustics has recorded a number of symphony orchestras:

  • The Philadelphia Orchestra (Wolfgang Sawallisch)
  • The Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Yuri Temirkanov)
  • The Saint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (Alexander Dmitriev)
  • The Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra (Zoltan Kocsis).

Water Lilly Acoustics has also recorded many North American and European musicians:

  • Ruggiero Ricci (US)
  • Brooks Smith (US)
  • Grant Gershon (US)
  • Garry Woodward (US)
  • Roger Lebow (US)
  • Emma Lou Dimer (US)
  • Jacky Terrasson (France)
  • Chico Freeman (US)
  • Ry Cooder (US)
  • Taj Mahal (US)
  • Bela Fleck (US)
  • Jerry Douglas (US)
  • Edger Meyer (US)
  • Jon Hassell (US)
  • David Hidalgo (US)
  • Larry Coryell (US)
  • James Newton (US)
  • Martin Simpson (UK)
  • Teddy Tierup (Denmark)

Many of these musicians are multiple Grammy Award winners.[citation needed]

Water Lily Acoustics recordings have been nominated twice for Grammy Awards, with one win.[citation needed] Two other recordings by Kavi Alexander, one for a major label and another for an independent label, were also nominated for Grammy Awards, with one of these also winning.[citation needed]

Movie Scores[edit]

Water Lily Acoustics recordings have featured in the sound tracks of these films:

See also[edit]


Books that refer to recordings by WLA:

- 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die (1,000... Before You Die Books)[1]
- World Music Volume 2[2]
- The Complete Guide to High-End Audio[3]
- Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples, Shorter Version[4]
- Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll[5]
- New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia Of Rock & Roll: Completely Revised And Updated[6]
- Classical Music: Third Ear: The Essential Listening Companion[7]
- World Music: The Basics[8]
- Custom Enrichment Module: Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples[9]
- 2000 Years of Dick Fiction: Selected Stories from Two Millennia[10]
- Women Called to the Path of Rumi: The Way of the Whirling Dervish[11]
- Guitar Cultures[12]
- Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s[13]
- Rough Guide to World Music Volume One: Africa, Europe & The Middle East[14]
- Taj Mahal: Autobiography of a Bluesman[15]
- Philadelphia Maestros: Ormandy, Muti, Sawallisch[16]
- Physical Theatres: A Critical Reader[17]
- The Arab Lands in the Ottoman Era[18]
- Bamboo: Webster's Timeline History, 3000 BC - 2007[19]
- Barber: Webster's Timeline History, 1991 - 2005[20]
- Music Lust: Recommended Listening for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason[21]
- This Life of Sounds: Evenings for New Music in Buffalo [22]


External links[edit]