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The Thar meets the Sahara: A report from the Amarrass Desert Music Festival

We are still recovering from the fabulous performances at last year's Amarrass Desert Music Festival held at Delhi’s Siri Fort Auditorium on November 26 and 27. The festival was a musical journey that spanned the deserts of Rajasthan to Mali in west Africa and brought together the Manganiyars from Rajasthan, with Vieux Farka Toure and Madou Diabate from Mali -- two musical traditions that had never shared a stage before. Over a dozen artists performed over the two days, with the shows culminating in all-star jams both nights.

Dim lights

The evening began with Lakha Khan playing the Sorath on the folk or Sindhi sarangi. Sorath, a raga that belongs to the cold season and is performed in the first quarter of the night, set the mood for the evening and was followed with a devotional song in Raag Bhairavi on Meera, love and longing. Lakha Khan, an acclaimed sarangi musician and craftsman, from village Raneri in district Jodhpur, makes his own sarangis. Perhaps the last of the Manganiyar sindhi sarangi players, he is a magician with the Sarangi. There was pin-drop reverential, even contemplative, silence in the auditorium, as if a magic carpet had transported everyone to the desert dunes of Rajasthan. 


Bombino in Agadez, Niger

Omara "Bombino" Moctar, a young Tuareg guitarist and songwriter, was raised during an era of armed struggles for independence and violent suppression by government forces. His electrifying jams capture the spirit of resistance and rebellion while echoing with guitar riffs reminiscent of fellow Africans Tinariwen and Ali Farka Touré not to mention rock and blues icons such as Jimi HendrixJohn Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page. Already a superstar in the Tuareg community, with the release of Agadez on Cumbancha Discovery Bombino's stature as one of Africa's hottest young guitarists has been revealed to the world.


 BUY ALBUM (For sale in India only)

 CD = Rs. 500 Add to cart/Checkout

 LP = Rs. 1500 Add to cart/Checkout

Limited edition run of double vinyl (180 gram) to commemorate Bombino's debut album featuring a hi-quality deluxe gatefold jacket. Includes immediate download of 14-track album in your choice of MP3 320, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.


DJ SPINCYCLE, is label co-founder, music producer, recording engineer and radio jockey Ankur Malhotra. An avid musicologist, he explores, engages, and connects with musical traditions from around the world. Decades of crate-digging esoteric records from around the world meld with a love for global grooves and the club sounds of Detroit, Chicago, Berlin and beyond infusing his DJ sets with deep, dark, dubby techno, house, and funk. Always vinyl, always groovy! Featuring two turntables and a mixer, delicious wax and layers of sound - music to make you dance.

Ankur's first forays behind the decks began in the early 2000's, also when he adopted the moniker 'DJ Spincycle' for his popular New Year's Eve parties. DJ Spincycle has since performed at various clubs, street parties and festivals around the US Midwest and in India including Techno Tuesdays@The Frequency, Fela Kuti launch/afrobeat party at High Noon Saloon, DJ residencies at The Fountain and Dobhan, La Fete de Marquette 2011, Middleton block party, and Spaight St. Rib Fest in Madison; and at Lodi, The Toddy Shop, TCs, Manajsa and Escape Festival in New Delhi.

The evolution in sound continues with his latest project, featuring a live collaboration with the folk-roots trio Barmer Boys. The 'Barmer Boys + DJ Spincycle' dub-meets-roots project fuses Barmer Boys' folk percussion instruments such as the morchang (Jewsharp), bhapang (plucked single string drum), dholak (double headed hand drum) and vocals with turntables, digital effects and filters to create a contemporary, cutting-edge dance-floor sound. Watch out for DJ SPINCYCLE with BARMER BOYS on their first Canadian tour in July 2015 when they perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival!

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