An Indian Summer with Barmer Boys, Tritha Electric, The Lakha~Madou Project and more..
Greetings! It's been a busy summer here at Amarrass, criss-crossing continents with our artists, making music, making people dance, and cry (in a good way!). From shows with Barmer Boys in Canada, Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, and Ziro Festival in India, to a WOMEX 15 showcase with Tritha Electric in Budapest, Hungary, and a week of concerts and recordings with The Lakha~Madou Project in New Delhi, including a performance by Madou Sidiki Diabatè at the President's Palace! Do not miss the next edition of Amarrass Nights on NOV 4 2015: details here and a preview below:
The Lakha~Madou Project: Tripping Strings (from the Amarrass Records Terrace Sessions, Gurgaon India on November 2, 2015)
Tritha Electric: Nizamuddin (from the WOMEX 15 showcase at Palace of the Arts, Budapest, Hungary on October 24, 2015)
Barmer Boys at Feito-a-Man (Man Made Festival): Mast Qalandar (from Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain on August 5, 2015)
Barmer Boys + DJSpincycle: Allah Hu (from Winnipeg Folk Festival 2015, July 11, 2015).
Scenes from a Painted Caves summer in Wisconsin
Painted Caves: You Don't Own Me (from Alverno Presents 'Jones Uncovered - A re-interpretation of the music of Quincy Jones', Alverno College, April 11, 2015)
Painted Caves: Najma (from Westown Presents 'River Rhythms', June 10, 2015). Voted by 88Nine RadioMilwaukee as one of their 'Favorite Summer Concerts of 2015'. "Huge Vibes.. The energy had a quick crescendo into a dance party." - Jordan 88.9RadioMilwaukee
Painted Caves: The Jaws of Life (from Summerfest 2015, July 2, 2015).
JUST ANNOUNCED!!! TRITHA ELECTRIC SHOWCASE ARTIST AT WOMEX 2015 in Budapest, Hungary - TWIN STAGE B 23:15 SAT OCT 25 2015
"A music activist" - BBC
"Lady with a golden voice" - HT City
"An artist who knows how to mix tradition and modernity" - Canal+
"The sweetness of Indian classical sounds fused with the bad boy reputation of punk" - The Sunday Express
"Lyrics that deal with women's liberation, social oppression and sexual exploitation" - Hindustan Times
Tritha Electric is a psychedelic/fusion rock band from Paris and New Delhi, formed in 2010 by Tritha Sinha (vocals) and Paul Schneiter (drums), with the later addition of Tony Guinard (bass) and Mathias Durand (electric guitar). Playing an explosive blend of psychedelic rock, inspired by German “Krautrock” of the 1970s and by Indian Classical and folk melodies, the band has played over 100 concerts across 3 continents. A versatile, plummy richness of sound, featuring Tritha’s dusky tones and throbbing intensity, that packs an emotional punch that has audiences entralled, on their feet, wanting more.
Born in Kolkata, Tritha started training in North Indian classical music at the age of five. As a child, Tritha won numerous singing competitions, including the famous national television show Close Up Antakshari on ZEE TV in 2001. Starting her career as a Bollywood singer, she decided in 2010 to focus on her own music and compositions. She continues her Indian classical training under the tutelage of guru Santanu Bandhopadhyay from the Bishnupur Gharana.
Their debut album PaGLi was released digitally in 2014 (on Sony Music). PaGLI is about the metamorphosis of the classical Indian woman into a free, modern global individual ready to meet the world. It is also the story of an Indian classical voice finding solace in madness and sometimes, rather punk moods! ("pagli" in Bengali, the mother tongue of Tritha, means ‘mad woman’). The album was recorded between Paris and New Delhi and mixed by legendary producer Miti Adhikari (Radiohead, Nirvana, John Peel BBC Sessions). The band is currently working on their next album.
Since their inception in 2010, the band has toured extensively with performances at festivals, workshops and education projects across India, the Indian Ocean and Europe. Notable appearacnces include Ziro Festival of Music 2011, Ragasthan 2011, Amarrass Music Festival 2012, Gulmarg Winter Festival 2012, Asia Music Festival 2013 (Borneo), Satourne Festival 2013/14 (France), Festival Les Nuits Couleurs 2014 (France), Kaloobang Festival 2014 (Reunion Islands) and more.
OCT 02 - Paris, France
OCT 24 - WOMEX 2015 Showcase at Budapest Hungary
Video: Fish Market - Tritha Electric (The «Fish market» music video has been censored on television in India for drawing an analogy between the Indian parliament house and a Bengali fish market, while calling for a renewed fight against corruption in Indian politics.) (Live in Paris at Point FMR 2014)
Video: Nizamuddin - Tritha Electric (Live in Paris at Cabaret Sauvage, August 2012)
Video: Saajan - Tritha Electric (from 'Music Mojo Season 3' on KAPPA TV, May 2015)
Mohan Lal Lohar, blacksmith and woodworker
Mohan Lal Lohar is folk music’s equivalent of a polyglot---but with an added dimension. Not only can he play every wind, string, bow and percussion instrument native to his Rajasthan, he also makes them. His surname, ‘lohar’ (one who works with iron) denotes his caste and occupation: he is a blacksmith, from a family that has traditionally plied the trade.
But Mohan Lal is different. He combines a talent for music with his craftsmanship. At his workshop in Jaisalmer, the rhythmic beating of a piece of metal gives way within hours to the refined percussion of a freshly made morchang — just cool enough to play. The workshop itself belies what is produced in it. In one of the town’s many open-sewered lanes, it is just a portion of a small courtyard, under a shed that leaks; as much a play area for his goats as it is a place of work.
Lakha Khan, Sarangi maker
Lakha Khan is an acclaimed Sarangi craftsman and musician from the village of Raneri in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. It takes him ten days labouring away on a single block of wood to just carve out this complex musical instrument - a testament to the decades of craftsmanship, persistence and passion for music.Purchase a hand-crafted Sindhi Sarangi
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Speciality: Sarangi. Lakha Khan has four sarangis, each from a previous generation in his family. This instrument is in his blood. Contact us to find out how you can get a Sarangi handcrafted by the master.
Shankara Ram Suthar, Kamancha maker
There is a reason why the kamanchas on view at Manganiyar performances have a charming antiquity about them. They often come stained, patched up, with bits of inlay work missing—all signs that they are in regular use. But they are, almost without exception, also very old.
This is where Shankara Ram Suthar’s story as master kamancha-maker begins. In the early eighties, academics—and musicians—found that no one was making kamanchas any more. They imported a batch of about 16 from Pakistan, where artisans evidently had a bit if stock, and these made their way to collectors and musicians. But with no local craftsmen, there was a problem.
Like the one Sakar Khan had. Sakarji, the greatest living exponent of the instrument (Amarrass will release an album of sessions with him soon), discovered that the mango wood belly of his kamancha had developed a crack. But with no artisans making the instrument, there was no one competent to carry out repairs either. Shankara Ram Suthar, the carpenter by trade and caste, lived near Sakarji in the little village of Hamira, Jaisalmer. The instrument was taken to Suthar, who, knowing it belonged to a master, carried out the repairs meticulously. Sakarji’s kamancha was good to play again.
The fact that the carpenter’s work had passed muster with the redoubtable Sakar Khan drew other musicians to Suthar. He carried out repairs for them, but there seemed to be few fresh orders. This, despite the efforts of government officials sensitive to the fact that the art of making kamanchas was dying: Suthar produced some excellent prototypes for them, but that was about it. If you were just making kamanchas, you were not making a living.
Suthar fell back on carpentry. He would travel to Pune to make furniture for a contractor, as half-made instruments languished in his little workshop in Hamira. He still does what he has to to earn a living, but we are happy to report that he has received fresh orders through the Amarrass Society for Performing Arts. A discerning British collector of stringed instruments (and pensioner), received his kamancha last month and said he was delighted. A second piece will shortly be on its way to the United States. And a third one makes its way to Germany this summer. We are, we hope, seeing the beginnings of a renewal of interest in this unique instrument. (below: our first kamancha sold!)
The kamanchas that are produced in Hamira are special not just because of the high level of craftsmanship that goes into making them. They are also the product of a secular collaboration. The Suthar crafts the wooden portions of the instrument - the sound box, the bow, the neck and so on, but his Hindu religious beliefs forbid him from working with animal hide or gut. Once the skeleton is finished, the Muslim Manganiyars take over, attaching the hide, adding the gut strings and, of course, tuning the instrument to ensure it is perfect. When Sakar Khan is within earshot, nothing less will do.
Shankara Ram Suthar's speciality: Kamancha. This is the instrument that is at the heart of the Manganiyars's music. And the Suthar is the finest maker of it. All he needs is a block of wood of his choosing. To order this unique instrument, write to us or order online:
Amarrass Records India Pvt Ltd
301 Skipper Corner, 88 Nehru Place
New Delhi 110019 INDIA
US Office: Amarrass Records
2124 E. Main St., Madison, WI, 53704
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