May 17, 2012: Sakar Khan and The Train
How much of folk music is owed purely to tradition? And how much of it is a work in progress? Does their immediate environment inspire folk musicians? Or do they just rely on retelling the stories handed down? Sakar Khan, nearing 80, a Sangeet Natak Academy award winner and Padma Shri (there’s a small picture of him receiving the award from the president on his wall) answers all these questions at once—with his kamancha as usual.
You hear a slow train moving out of a little station—like Hamira, Jaisalmer, say, where Sakarji lives—feel its locomotive breath with every movement of his bow. It gathers pace, acquires rhythm. A journey has just begun. The train service to Jaisalmer began only in 1967. It was felt, after the 1965 war with Pakistan that this great town on India’s western frontier was too strategic to be cut off. A line was thus extended from Pokhran. When it was inaugurated, Sakarji, already established as the finest exponent of the kamancha—that ancestor of the violin from central Asia that Rajasthan’s Manganiyars have made their own—was there to receive the first train.
'Global Beats' featuring Barmer Boys - BBC World Service Radio, Nov 8, 2015
"Latitudes: The Global Music You Must Hear In June" - NPR Music, June 30, 2015
"Creating a maximum groove with minimal means" - MixedWorldMusic.com, May 2015
“Incandescent Sufi voices that incite ecstacy” - Songlines, Sep 2014
“Barmer Boys steal the show.. with their unique folk tunes, truly stood out at the festival” - IBNLive at NH7Weekender Festival, Nov 2014
“Mangey Khan’s voice needs to be heard to be believed” - Hindustan Times, Feb 2012
"The music rose above the repetitive tunes we hear in today’s clamorous folk market and was like a whiff of fresh air" - Indian Express, Nov 2012
"Definitely near the top of my list of personal all-time favorite radio sessions" - Robert Weisberg, Transpacific Sound Paradise, WFMU 91.1FM
(Listen to the session online at the WFMU Station archives)
Barmer Boys are the next generation of performers that carry forward the centuries-old musical traditions of the Manganiyars and are the global ambassadors of contemporary Rajasthani folk and Sufi music. The trio meld traditional Sufi and celebratory songs with the acid twang of the morchang (Jewsharp), the staccato rhythm of the dholak (two headed Indian drum) and beatboxing, creating a sound unique to the band! The band's versatility of styles and bubbling energy infuses each performance - from soulful Sufi kalaams to uplifting wedding and celebratory songs, songs of love and remembrance, to boisterous jams with beat-boxing and live DJ sets.
The group formed in 2011, and has performed with a host of world renowned artists including Vieux Farka Tourè, Bombino, BaBa ZuLa and Madou Sidiki Diabatè. They have performed at the Amarrass Desert Music Festival (2011, 2012), The Elders Conference, Escape Festival, Bhakti Samaroh and more. The group made their international debut in 2014 with shows at Roskilde Festival ’14, Borneo World Music Expo ’14, a US debut with a coast-to-coast tour in April ’14, and have been wooing audiences on television screens, cinema halls and festivals in India including MTV CokeStudio Season 3, NH7 Weekender ‘14, IIT Mood Indigo ’14 and Jaipur Literature Festival ’15. Barmer Boys have since toured Canada, Europe and Hong Kong, and featured on BBC Radio's Global Beats program.
- Barmer Boys were featured artists on Season 3 of Coke Studio at MTV India (August 2013)
- Debut album "At Home: Barmer Boys" released in Dec 2012 on Amarrass Records (4 Stars - Songlines)
- Performed at Roskilde Festival 2014 with their set between shows by Outkast and The Rolling Stones!
At Home: Barmer Boys (AMAR 008) CD | mp3
Single take recordings at home in Ramsar, Rajasthan
Featured on Season 3 of Coke Studio on MTV India, Barmer Boys represent the next generation of folk from India. Folk with attitude. 21st Century folk.
| INDIA ORDERS
- Sangeet Natak Akademi award for his contribution to Rajasthani folk music, Marudhara Foundation (Kolkata) recognition
- Performed at the 2011 Edinburgh Folk Music Festival, The Amarrass Desert Music Festival (2011 2014), Sensational India Festival at the Peabody Essex Museum (2013), Old and New Dreams Festival, Chicago (2014)
- Featured artist on ‘Mitha Bol’ (2011, Amarrass Records), nominated for 'Folk Album of the Year' at the Global Indian Music Awards 2012
- Two coast-to-coast US tours in 2013 and 2014.
Lakha Khan, 67 is a sarangi player and vocalist, and perhaps the greatest exponent of the sindhi sarangi. He was born in the village of Raneri in Jodhpur district, Rajasthan, India into a family of traditional musicians from the Manganiyar community. He was trained at an early age by his father Tharu Khan and later, by his uncle Mohammad Khan, in rendering the compositions of the Multan school of Manganiyars. His first public performances were in the late 60's and 70's under the guidance of the late Komal Kothari, a highly regarded Indian historian and ethnomusicologist. Today, Lakha Khan is one of the last remaining Manganiyars to have mastered this complex instrument and to carry forward the centuries-old musical tradition of Rajasthani folk and Sufi music. He has performed extensively across Rajasthan and India, and internationally in the U.S. and Europe. In 2011, he performed at the Edinburgh Folk Music Festival and The Amarrass Desert Music Festival.
"In the master's hand, the Sufi-influenced melody he coaxes from it (the sarangi) is transformative" - Michael Sullivan on National Public Radio (NPR) Weekend Edition.
4 Stars for Lakha Khan: Live in Nashville - Songlines#106
"His songbook contains the roots of India's national popular music" - Aaron Cohen, Chicago Tribune
"At Home is a superb set of field recordings" - Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader
"Lakha Khan’s At Home documents the master musician’s art with a series of field recordings." - Edd Hurt, Nashville Scene
Lakha Khan: Live in Nashville (AMAR009) CD | mp3
The album features sindhi sarangi maestro Lakha Khan's Nashville concert from his debut US tour in 2013, and includes renditions of popular folk classics such as Kesariya Balam and Mast Qalandar, Sufi kalaams by the 19th Century poets Ghulam Farid and Bulleh Shah, Kabir bhajans and classical ragas. Lakha Khan (vocals, sarangi) is accompanied by his son Dane Khan (dholak).
| INDIA ORDERS
At Home: Lakha Khan (AMAR 007) CD | mp3
Single take recordings at home in Raneri, Rajasthan
Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Lakha Khan, from the village of Raneri in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district is one of the foremost proponents of the sindhi sarangi, or Indian folk fiddle.
| INDIA ORDERS
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