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Kavichandran Alexander (Kavi)

The FIRST SRI LANKAN to Engineer & Produce multiple GRAMMY award winning RECORDINGS

Kavichandran Alexander (Kavi), is a Sri Lankan Tamil record producer/engineer and the founder of Water Lily Acoustics, a small, independent, record label based in Santa Barbra, California.

Born on 03rd May 1949 in Batticaloa, Kavi moved to Paris in 1968 and ended up playing in the French production of Hair. He then moved to Brussels to study at the Mudra School of Dance.

In 1984, Alexander started the Water Lily Acoustics record label based in Santa Barbara, California. He named the company in honour of his mother, Lily.

In the Murugan and Valli Amman temple complex in Kathirkamam 1968
Just before leaving Sri Lanka in 1968

Four recordings, either recorded and or produced by Kavi, have been nominated for the Grammy Awards, with two of them winning the prestigious award. Two among those four recordings, were released on his own label Water Lily Acoustics.

Grammy winner for Best World Music Album, 1993
In 1972
Recording with Ry Cooder
Recording with Ry Cooder
Recording with Padmabushan Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
Grammy nominee for Best World Music Album, 1996
Kavi with Jie-Bg Chen, Padmabushan Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Béla Fleck and Sangeetha Shankar (front), Pandit Ronu Majumdar and Poovalur Srinivasan (back)

Further, he has recorded some of the greatest master musicians of India, such as Padmavibushan Dr. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (son of the guru of Pandit Ravi Shankar), Padmabushan Pandit V.G. Jog (Guru of Pandit Amaradeva), Padmavibushan Pandit Jesraj, Padmabushan Dr. N. Ramani, Padmabushan Dr. L. Subramaniam, Padmabushan Pandit V.M. Bhatt, Padmashri Kadri Gopalnath, Padmashri Ustad Rashid Khan, Ustad Imrat Khan, Ustad Zia Mohinuddin Dagar, Pandit Ronu Majumdar and N. Ravikiran.

Recording with Padmavibushan Dr. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan at Christ the King Chapel, Saint Anthony's Seminery, Santa Barbara, CA
With Carnatic legend of the Saxophone Padmashri Kadri Gopalanath, Poovalur Srinivasan and Jazz legend of the flute James Newton

Kavi has also produced and recorded master musicians from Pakistan, Palestine, Iran, China, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Tibet, Mongolia, Turkey, The Gambia, Sudan, Panama, Costa Rica and Brazil.

With The Mevlevi Ensemble of Turkey
With Padmabushan Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Palestinian virtuoso Simone Shaheen
Jazz guitar legend Larry Coryell with Dr. L Subramaniam
Blind virtuoso from Vietnam Kim Sinh

Prominent American artists that Kavi has produced and recorded include: Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Larry Coryell, James Newton, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Edger Meyer, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas and Jon Hassell. Amongst these nine musicians, six are multiple Grammy winners.

At the home of legendary Hungarian composer Bela Bartok
Recording with Maharani of Jaipur (once considered among the ten most beautiful women in the world by the Vogue magazine, Paris)

Kavi is the very first Asian to both produce and record major symphony orchestras, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, The Saint Petersburg Symphony and the Hungarian National Philharmonic.

Mestro Yuri Temirkanov of the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic
Maestro Alexander Dimitriev of the Saint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra

Music produced and recorded by Kavi and released on his label Water Lily Acoustics, have been featured in 6 Hollywood films. ‘Dead Man Walking’ (Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon), ‘Two Days in the Valley’ (Danny Aiello, Charlize Theron), ‘Primary Colors’ (John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton), ‘Angel Eyes’ (Jennifer Lopez), ‘One Hour Photo’ (Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen), ‘Meet the Fockers’(Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand) and the Bon Jovi documentary ‘The Circle’.

Kavi has been an audio engineer and record producer for over 40 years, with a world-wide reputation for making excellent recordings, which accurately capture the tonal purity and render the proper spatial perspectives of the music recorded.

As his association with music and musicians from around the world reflects, Kavi is a man passionately in love with all forms of classical music, be it of the east or the west period. He certainly is the only Sri Lankan of this stature.

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