Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at the Convent

Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at the Convent

Eastern Shades of blues tonight fills The Convent in Stroud

Sometimes life just doesn’t go to plan. Friday 10th June was one of those days. Thanks to netgig, I didn’t have to miss out on the much anticipated Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at The Convent


Opening - Convent - copyright - Mark Jarvis - Apr 2015 - 5 - _0021Starting off with a tune using Eastern and Western approaches to slide guitars as Michael & Mannish showcase their respective slide skills with Sweet Heart Darling from the album Call Of The Blues. The hauntingly sweet sound from Manish Pingle echoed by the deeper hue of Michael’s resonator. The instrumental floated and glided across the stage in front of the alter, as the two styles spoke to each other and found harmony in the music. As Michael re-tunes he effortlessly chats to the audience about how he met up with Manish when at Mumbai Blues Festival. He has had a long ambition to play slide guitar blues with a Hindustani guitar. It was a collaboration of musical understanding, playing gospel blues and they connected. Tonight, the convent audience was treated to country blues melded with an Eastern essence of spiritual understanding with the Tabla adding a percussive beat thanks to the skills of Gurdian Rayatt. This is blues textured, controlled and played with immense feel and lightness of touch portraying deep dark emotions of the Blues. Yes! You Got The Blues tonight in The Convent.

The lights shimmered with a deep blue resonating with this unique take on traditional country-blues from the delta including Fred McDowell, Michaels’ vocals sang the blues along with the beats and musical textures and shapes from Manish and Gurdian, blending and at times leading the resonator we are used to hearing accompany country-blues. This is sitting on a porch listening to blues in a totally new and exciting context. The instrumentals show the melding of cultures, I love Michaels phrasing as he sneaks in Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. The informative interaction as Gurdian explains the complexity of the Tabla provided a fascinating insight into a new percussive instrument. We heard the simple sounds, phrases and then sentences and showed it was like a language as Manish spoke the Tabla language then Gurdian played the increasingly complex phrases, informative and entertaining as the two spoke to each other in Tabla and music was made. The commonplace, well-known tunes became uplifted being explored again with a compilation of Rollin’ & Tumblin; If The River Was Whiskey it was fun. The added technology with the use of a loop on Luck Charms, you know when it is live when there is a technical hitch on stage. This was soon resolved and Son House’s County Farm Blues followed. With a track played for Matthew Roberts who could not be at The Convent the music flowed across the venue and further afield like this music crossing continents and artificial divides. Sweet Baby Mine? Manish turn to explain it is a modified guitar. The Indian slide guitar with its many strings first three strings the melody and the others are drone strings This is a new instrument first played in the 1960’s and is being modified giving an Indian sound. Now they swap guitars essentially a three stringed guitar says Michael gave demo that it doesn’t sound Indian as they play Steel Guitar Rag. Whereas, Michael’s takes on the spice of India showing music is interpretation and feel. What a collective thrill the music was blues with a twist of spicy intrigue. The encore Bluer That Blue summed up the evening of music with every shade of blue shaped by textures and timbre’s connecting East & West through the soul of blues.

Tonight’s, performance shows that music of the folk has an integrity that is understood by all and transcends boundaries laid-down by treaties and geography books, It is the music, beat and the truth within the lyrics that speaks to all and makes for a better place, listen to music and connect to humans on a basic and wonderful level. Thank you, Michael, Gurdian and Mannish for refreshing display of blues with feeling and respect.

Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at the Convent
Eastern Shades of blues tonight fills The Convent in Stroud available on Netgig

Bluesdoodles review of Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call Of The Blues HERE

Pick of the Albums Reviewed – 2016: January – March

Pick of the Albums Reviewed – 2016: January – March

Bluesdoodles listens to music recorded and live from across the genres. Bluesdoodles reviews all albums received with an open-mind and will always look for the elements that make the music stand out from the crowd!. The albums we award 10 doodle paws too, for us have a special connection, and acknowledge like all reviewers our scoring is subjective. Between 1st January and 31st March 2016 Bluesdoodles reviewed 49 albums that reflect the depth and breadth of music being recorded in studios around the world. Remember albums not included on the lists are still excellent; definitely worth listening to and purchasing especially go see music live at venues near you support music and the artists who travel the roads so we can hear music full of passion and the special ingredient of a live performance..

This is the first list of 2016 and all of these will be in with a shout for the Bluesdoodles Dozen of 2016..

Jeff Healey – Heal My Soul
Kyla Brox – Throw Away Your Blues
Joe Bonamassa – Blues of Desperation

Monster Truck – Sittin Heavy
Red Dirt Skinners – Behind The Wheel
Mumbo Jumbo – Sonic Gumbo

Ben Poole – Time Has Come
Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus – Wayward Sons
Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call of the Blues

Stevie Nimmo – Sky Won’t Fall
Big Boy Bloater & The LiMiTs – Luxury Hobo
The Temperance Movement – White Bear
Danny Bryant – Blood Money

Call Of The Blues Filled With Eastern Spice and Magic

Michael Messer's MitraCall Of The Blues

Filled With Eastern Spice and Magic



Michael Messer has re-shaped the blues with a melding of southern spices and those of the Indian sub-continent. Two great rivers Ganges and Mississippi are powerful forces and have shaped the music. This debut album of Michael Messer’s Mitra works. The strength and integrity of blues is never lost as the fusing of blues slide guitar with Tabla for rhythms and classical Hindustani slide guitar. This is a fusion that fits, there is nothing forced in the seamless melding of the tones and textures of traditions. The Tabla’s tone blends with the guitars and creates a percussive beat, whilst the Mohan Veen adds a sharper tone, together bending into the tonal shape of Indian dance. This textural dimension weaves into the sonic range of Michael’s resophonic steel guitars.

Mitra is the Hindu god of friendship so the album is Michael Messer’s friends, this friendship is apparent in the stripped back blending of cultural diverse music. The sound created is unique and with the best of fusion of cultures the mixing is subtle nothing is lost but everything is gained,

Anyway the Wind Blows includes feet tapping rhythms from Piano and this is Eastern Blues a box of surprises but every note is blues that shimmer like sari silk. This album is a success due to the melodious delivery of the lyrics from Michaeal. Plus the grounding of his resophonic guitar skills keeping the blues rooted in the soul. The Tabla and Mohan Veena add texture and tone and twists in the beat and cadences of the blues. Following on from a unique rendition of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ with its Eastern derived lead break, we have the most eastern infused track Bhupali Blues, with the interaction of the Tabla’s rhythmic tones created by complicated fingering and the distinctive chords and tone from the Mohan Veena. As this instrumental track unfolds Michael’s resophonic guitar picks up the music and the Ganges and Mississippi flow as one. Blue Letters, not to be confused with Fleetwood Macs Blue Letter. This is a Michael Messer composition bringing us back to Mississipi with a hint of spice and rolls and flows like a lazy summer’s afternoon. The title track of Michael’s album Lucky Charms, is given the eastern treatment and it is given a fresh lease of life with the intricate beat of Gurdian Rayatt’s Tabla.

Closing with Sweetheart Darling, captures leaving, farewell, sadness and the feeling of the sunset that closes a chapter. The instrumental has a reflective flow that allows the instruments to speak for themselves in a celebration of diversity of the blues the essence that adds spice to call Of the Blues.

Having travelled to Indian to perform in a festival in Mumbai Michael Messer met and jammed with Manish Pingle ( (pronounced ‘Pinglay’). Manish easily transferred his skills from Hindustani music to the country blues style of Michael he was hearing for the first time. The rapport between them was natural and this is heard throughout Call Of The Blues. Now the music has been shaped and recorded in an album that is ten tracks that makes Blues imaginative and definitely innovative. Once again demonstrating the power of music rooted in a culture can transcends borders and take flight with integrity, Call of The Blues is a mighty voice.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call Of The Blues  Release date 29th January 2016 Purchase HERE release date – 5th February 2016

Track Listing

1. You Got To Move
2. Anyway The Wind Blows
3. Rollin’ and Tumblin’
4. Bhupali Blues
5. You Gonna Be Sorry
6. Blue Letters
7. Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
8. I Can’t Be Satisfied
9. Lucky Charms
10. Sweetheart Darling

Michael Messer, Vocals, Slide & Lab Steel Resophonic Guitar
Manish Pingle, Mohan Veena (Indian Slide Guitar)
Gurdian Rayatt, Tabla
With Richard Causon, Piano, Organ

Sweetheart Darling