NPR logo Viking's Choice: Tashi Dorji, 'Karma Lata'

Viking's Choice

Viking's Choice: Tashi Dorji, 'Karma Lata'

Tashi Dorji. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Tashi Dorji.

Courtesy of the artist

If there's a secret world inside the guitar, Tashi Dorji wants to find it. Raised in Bhutan and based in Asheville, N.C., for the last 15 years, Dorji plays solo guitar music that's at once frenetic and tranquil, as his fingers flick across and hammer down strings; tiny sparks ignite the next move. He comes from a long line of creative and improvising guitarists like John Fahey and Derek Bailey, but Dorji tends to zero in on a melody or a riff or a tone and work it into another realm.

After several cassette and vinyl releases, Dorji has been paired with guitarist Marisa Anderson on a split LP. Both seek out the possibilities of their instruments in different ways, but complement each other thoughtfully. In a first taste of the record, Dorji's "Karma Lata" is a rolling and meditative five-minute track that cycles its way around an abstract melody with clipped harmonics and stuttering fret work. "So all the tracks are named after my friends, actually... my very close friends from Bhutan growing up," Dorji writes via email. "I think it's a good way of letting them know I think of them."

Tashi Dorji / Marisa Andersen is out Nov. 10 on Footfalls.

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