Debashish Bhattacharya/Bob Brozman: Mahima (2003)

 |   |  1 min read

Debashish Bhattacharya/Bob Brozman: Maa
Debashish Bhattacharya/Bob Brozman: Mahima (2003)

The late American guitarist and raconteur Brozman was one of the unexpected delights at the 2003 Womad, where he appeared with Takashi Hirayasu playing Okinawan folk songs which they took off into the realms of Delta blues, soul funk, punk and boogie.

Brozman was one of those irritatingly gifted performers who seemed to acknowledge no boundaries between cultures and styles and immerses himself in all with delight and uniformly excellent results.

He's an equal opportunity global explorer and here teams up with Indian slide guitarist Bhattacharya for an album which exists at the crossroads of devotional Indo-rock and Hawaiian pop

It's a kind of full circle album, too: Brozman's Hawaiian guitar tutor introduced the instrument to India in 1929 and lived in Calcutta for six years in the Forties, recording with local musicians. He taught the teacher who taught Bhattacharya's teacher.

So, here are keening Indian vocals over slack key guitars and slides with tabla drums burrowing away at the bottom.

And as with his Womad performance, Brozman pulls the music towards the blues and other world music influences while keeping an ear reverently on the raga tradition and folk (dhun) melodies from which the tunes have come. There's an African influence on Bana Mali, and Digi Digi Dom Dom is as silly, poppy and childlike a tune as any you'll hear this side of Top of the Pops.

There is delicacy (the haunting Maa, the seaside folk of Sujan Re) alongside rapid fire fretwork and slithering slide (the Spanish-flavoured Sur-o-Lahari and Tagore Street Blues), while Konkani Memories is as perfect a marriage of Indian and Hawaiian as you could imagine, and the final piece is a wistful lullaby.

The man who said never the twain shall meet should have lived long enough to hear this album.

These Essential Elsewhere pages deliberately point to albums which you might not have thought of, or have even heard . . .

But they might just open a door into a new kind of music, or an artist you didn't know of. Or someone you may have thought was just plain boring.

But here is the way into a new/interesting/different music . . .

Jump in.

The deep end won't be out of your depth . . . 


Share It

Your Comments

Mike - Jul 5, 2018

I Have a copy of Bob's Lumiere album which was recorded in 2007. He plays something like 20 stringed instruments on his own. Its quite an album and he has a huge range and styles of music that he plays. Quite a guy. I belive that he even makes most of the instruments that he plays as well.

post a comment

More from this section   Essential articles index

Max Romeo: War Ina Babylon (1976)

Max Romeo: War Ina Babylon (1976)

When Max Romeo's Holding Out My Love to You album was released in '81 it came with heavy patronage: Keith Richards was a Romeo fan and had produced some of the tracks . . . so there was a cover... > Read more

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

Musical innovations can happen by accident or out of necessity: a stoned John Lennon allegedly spooling the tape of Rain into his player the wrong way and discovering the sound of backwards guitars... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Whiplash (Blu-Ray)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Whiplash (Blu-Ray)

When this gripping drama about an aspiring young jazz drummer and his emotionally abusive tutor was released in cinemas last year Elsewhere warned that "jazz people" -- protective of... > Read more

Savoy Brown: Voodoo Moon (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Savoy Brown: Voodoo Moon (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Many years ago Pete Frame would produce books of meticulously drawn family trees of rock bands. His Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tree filled two tightly written gatefold A5 pages and traced Black Sabbath... > Read more