"EAST MEETS MIDDLE EAST" PLAYS INDIA - 2017
I can't even begin to describe how inspired I am after this trip to India! We arrived in Kolkata, had a few days to practice, see some sights, meet a few amazing musicians, and then we were off to Jaipur to play at their literature festival.
Above: Our morning show at JLF. Everything about this festival was amazing, the stage, the staff, the audience, the decor, the food, the books .... I only wish we had more than one day to hang out, listen to lectures and buy books.
We had a few hours to spend at the festival before the night time concerts at the authors' ball, and saw an interesting lecture about Usama ibn Munqidh: Warrior Poet of The Age of Crusades by Paul M. Cobb.
Then, being excited about all things related to food, I bought a book about the spice trade called "Nathaniel's Nutmeg"
After that it was on to the after-party. EMME played along with 2 other great bands, the Aga Khan All Stars, and Rahasthani Josh.
EMME on stage at the Authors' Ball. The backdrop, with hundreds of candles mounted on it, and a palace behind it created a magical atmosphere.
The traditional Rajasthani music uses the Khartal, or musical bones as one of their percussion instruments, and Rajasthan Josh had me mesmerized from their first song. They asked us to join them on stage for the final encore of the night! At that point it was a total free for all, so I got out my camera and made a movie.
After playing at the party in an encore that seemed to go on for hours, we got back to the hotel in time for one hour of sleep before we had to get up for a 6am flight to Delhi. Deciding that we would sleep back in Chicago, we had a full day in Delhi with the founders of an amazing music school called "One World - College of Music" Then they took us out to a local open mic where Ronnie and I played a few songs as a duo.
Through a mutual Chicago acquaintance, we met some new friends who own a record label called Amarrass Records and they also were full of information about Rajasthani folk instruments like the Khartal and the Bhapang. ( I now have enough info and will build my own Bhapang soon!)
The next day in Delhi, we played a Republic Day concert with 3 amazing Carnatic musicians. Ronnie and I played classical and folk tunes from the Middle East, then they played classical and folk tunes from India. We ended the night by combining forces and played a set that mixes both these styles. Again, I was awed by the amazing musicianship!