Eastern Shades of blues tonight fills The Convent in Stroud
Starting 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