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
Show.

 

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

Hoka Epic Journey for Nahko and His Music

Hoka Epic Journey for Nahko and His Music

Hoka Epic Journey for Nahko and His Music

 

 

Hoka is an epic Journey from Nahko and Medicine for The People. The album is complex diverse full of intrigue and interest it is an eighteen track epic musical voyage of discovery combining rock, pop, world music and spiritual chants. It is not surprising that Hoka has a feeling of a voyage of discovery and journey of finding self in a complex world since Nahko’s back story explains this spiritual wandering, the incessant searching for texture to the beat on many of the tracks. He was adopted by a white middle-class American couple as a baby, learning the piano and always respecting music. Then disillusionment set in, captivated by vagabond life and the story-telling tradition of Americana musicians he left home in search of adventure and self-discovery. He had in his arsenal stories, guitar, determination and a gritty desire to bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche. The track All Can Be Done encapsulates the drive with horns, dancing carnival instrumental chorus and piano, an anthem for shaping all our destinies. Via the internet he found his mother learning his true ethnicity of Puerto Rican, Native American (Apache) and Filipino descent. His self-branded ‘real talk music’ is the result of the personal journey of healing and acceptance that followed.

The video released with the album of San Quentin is the forgiving the man responsible off murdering his biological father. A surprisingly upbeat number full of positive energy and freedom of thought and letting go in the process of forgiving. Nahko ventured on the visit so he could get some closure after spending the majority of his life unravelling the truth of his childhood. With his father murdered and his mother forced into human trafficking.

Nahko’s story is immense. The album opens with the title track; Hoka. The Native American chanting and spoken vocals give the start of the journey context and shape. And as for the album title? “Hoka is a Lakota word, it is a call to action. It’s what Crazy Horse would say when he went into battle, ‘Hoka, hey!’ My call is to put action to the words that I speak and the lyrics I sing. Not just to talk, but to do.”
Then we are into a piano intro and his distinctive emotionally charged vocals with Directions and so the album journey begins. Everyone will have a track that deeply affects them, personal favourites. What the album is not is a dirge of self-pity and misery; it is finding yourself and accepting who you are. The musicianship is eclectic and at times fiery but always bedded in western tradition of music for folk with a story/purpose. Intertwined in traditional cadences is a mix of hip-hop and rock beats. Joining Nahko are Chase Makai (lead guitarist), Justin Chittams (drums), Pato (bass guitar), Max Ribner (horns) and Tim Snider (violin).

The album Hoka is full of texture and tonal interest and is medicine for the people. Stand out tracks for me are Love Letters To God with the clapping beat and horns you are drawn into the lyrics. Who can resist a track called Tus Pies, a stripped down acoustic number. Inspired by Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda. “It’s about friendship and being an anchor for someone. ‘Pies’ is the Spanish word for ‘feet.’ At the end of one of his poems, Neruda says a line I cherish: ‘I love your feet for how they walked on the mountains and through the rivers and through the valleys until they found me.’ Closing with The Wolves Have Returned a lyrical number celebrating nature, the power of nation and the need to find ones-self and tread gently as we journey across the planet.

Nahko has successfully weaved a tapestry of sound, reinforced by lyrics that have something to say. This is music for our times celebrating diversity, celebrating the planet and how we need to nurture each other and look after this fragile world and its complex relationships.

Nahko and Medicine for The People, have much to say and the journey is long, the album works as there is light and shade a musical exploration of emotions and hurts unraveled and put back together a vocal novel or film. Hako has validity giving Nahko’s life experiences and place to be heard.

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

Nahko and Medicine for The People – Hoka- SideOneDummy Records
–  Out 10th June 2016

Track Listing 

  1. Hoka
  2. Directions (feat. Joseph)
  3. It Is Written
  4. All Can Be Done
  5. San Quentin
  6. Two Wolves
  7. Great Spirit
  8. We Are On Time
  9. Love Letters To God
  10. Heart Forward
  11. Tus Pies (Your Feet)
  12. Backbone
  13. Ku Kia’I Mauna (fest. HAwane & Pua Case)
  14. Build A Bridge
  15. Make A Change (feat Zella Day)
  16. Give A little, Get A Little
  17. Runner
  18. The Wolves Have Return

CD Review: Delta Ladies ~ Refugee

Scan0001Delta Ladies
Refugee
Independent

 

Delta Ladies the combination of Vicky Martin, Vocals, Bouzouki, Kandela and Guitar that is dipped in the blues and Diana Stone, vocals, Keys and violin, on Refugee they have been joined by invited musicians with style to ensure the delivery of this fusion of music styles has uniqueness in the waft and weave of every track. Refugee is twelve original and distinctive tracks that explore the tonal shapes of the instruments as they intone hints and musical shadows from across the world. The violin has hints of Hungarian folk on Last Train on a track that is inspired and drenched in the delta blues, as the train sways and takes you on a journey deep into your personal thoughts. Rising Sun is a take on House of the Rising Sun that truly has stretched and explored the instrumentation, with the heat of the Kandela a handmade instrument cross between an Appalachian Dulcimer and an old English Psaltery, Rising Sun is slow and mysterious with the Udu from Danny Bryan giving the track a breeze from the Bombay Delta.
Paranoia once again using one-off instrumentation combined with honky tonk piano and Parisian violin from Mathieu Werchowski combining to create a fog of intensity. The interplay of the violin and Alan Glen harmonica playing makes Zen Hoe-down have a quality of its own intense, hypnotic and full of a dark patination. The title track is, as is this album, so difficult to describe as the music bends, shapes and expands around the blending of world music again the music has the feel of the mysterious east, almost an instrumental with words sung like a poem appearing to add the context and shows the inspiration for the album. Closing with an English traditional sound with vocals from Anita Mazzotta, Flamborough Bay is a true story from incident that occurred in the early 1920’s you are left with a tonal experience that is explorative, imaginative and challenges many pre-conceptions.

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

Track Listing

1. Devil Calling Out My Name
2. Last Train
3. More Trouble
4. Hellbound
5. Rising Sun
6. Sometimes the End is just the End
7. Paranoia
8. Devil On the Street
9. Brown Water Everywhere
10. Zen Hoe-Down
11. Refugee
12. Flamborough Way