Prince Fatty

THIS PEICE WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON RHYTHM PASSPORT

http://www.rhythmpassport.com/

Prince Fatty

As a producer, Prince Fatty is eclectic, working across the board; his collaborations read like a who’s who from the mid-90s to now. However, perhaps Prince Fatty is best known for his presence in the Jamaican diaspora music scene. Still churning records out now, the latest release Be Thankful For What You’ve Got featuring reggae singer Earl Sixteen is a beautiful prequel to those happy summer days to come.

We took the opportunity, with his Record Store Day release, to catch up with Prince Fatty.

Rhythm Passport: How did you get the name Prince Fatty? Was it given to you, or did you choose it? Were you following the likes of Prince Jazzbo?

Prince Fatty: It was a quick decision, as it all started with what I thought would be a one-off record for Stüssy Records called ‘Ninas Dance’ – a Jackie Mittoo-inspired instrumental organ work out. It was a limited edition, so I figured Prince Fatty would be too, but it didn’t work like that. The fat thing came from all the musicians always saying my sound was fat!

RP: Who inspired you musically, before you considered yourself a musician? 

PF: My older brother gave me Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland when I was 8 years old, and that blew my mind, then Burning Spear at 13 years old, when I discovered dub and playing bass.

Did you have a patron who taught you the ropes? 

PF: Yeah, many old sound engineers taught me how to record; not one in particular, but all combined gave me much knowledge. If I had to pick one, then Graham Dickson, who was the in-house engineer at the Hit Factory and was Gus Dudgeon’s engineer for many years.

Have you ever had a music nemesis/rivalry? 

PF: Sure, but usually it’s imaginary and thus virtual. I have a make-believe beef with Quincy Jones, because he always had a bigger budget than me! Competition is healthy in my opinion, so that’s every soundsystem show we do. Dub-wise, touring with Mad Professor was the closest I felt to a rivalry vibe, but it was friendly after all. The goal is always to give people a good show.

Of all your collaborations, is there one that you consider as surprising to your fans? 

PF: The Last Poets album Understand What Black Is took people by surprise, as on paper you wouldn’t imagine the combination geographically possible between Dub Judah, Horseman, the Nostalgia, 77 jazz musicians and myself, with The Last Poets via the Bronx. Through the universe and its random chaos theory, it happened very swiftly and smoothly. We are now working on a follow-up.

You’ve worked with literally everyone in the contemporary dub/reggae scene, from Mungos Hi-Fi, Hollie Cook, Gentleman’s Dub Club and the greats like The Last Poets and Dele Sosimi. Is there an act that you have yet to work with that you aspire too? 

PF: A new singer called Shniece McMenamin is my latest discovery, and we have been doing much work together in preparation for her debut release. A real soul voice for the 21st century. My collaboration with Monkey Jhayam from Brazil was big for me. Living in Sao Paolo last year was inspiring, and I recorded a lot. Brazil is special, and it felt like a re-birth.

You have a new release just out for Record Store Day – Be Thankful for What You’ve Got. It’s setting the summer scene for sure! Are you performing anywhere this summer? 

PF: Yes, we are, but this summer we are in the studio a lot, so I kept the shows to a minimum.

What equipment did you start producing and learning to dub on? 

PF: I learned on big analog mixers and tape machines via the traditional tape op/assistant engineer when I left school at 17. I was there for the start of the digital domination that followed. I resisted as much as possible, and have always believed in recording live and all together to get a vibe; looking for good performance and sound in combination. Art is often not a consideration for sound engineers, as they tend to be just technical. I try and find a mix between art and science. I am lucky, I have worked in some of the best studios in the world, like Townhouse, Olympic and the old Air Studios on Oxford Street.

RP: We are big believers that the music listened to by your parents shapes your own personal musical taste. What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Is it the same kind of music you produce?                  

PF: I grew up in Italy, so they were 20 years behind everybody else. They were still listening to TheDoorsJimi HendrixBob Marley, big Italian love ballads and plenty of disco. My mother loved BoneyM, and my father, being Italian, preferred Latin sounds like cumbia, salsa and samba. I liked it all. I started bootlegging at a young age, selling cassettes at school.

RP: Do you have a favourite music route? A soft spot for production, so to speak? 

PF: Reggae and soul are my natural reference points. I like musicians to sound like musicians and machines to sound like machines.

Can you give us five killer albums you listen to on repeat?

PF: Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus by Charles Mingus; the dub album of The Same Song album by Israel Vibration mixed by FatmanJorge Ben’s AfricaDub Judah’s Babylon is a Trap; and Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix.

RP: What’s next for Prince Fatty?

PF: I plan to record more in Latin America, and I am planning the next follow up for The Last Poets, which will have an Afro-feel, as I am planning to use Tony Allen (Fela Kuti’s drummer) for the beats. The Bronx meets Lagos, Nigeria in a political-poetry style. Stay tuned.


Cymande

Cymande

THIS PEICE WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON RHYTHM PASSPORT

http://www.rhythmpassport.com/

There are some bands in music that become established after they have been on the scene for a number of years, say one decade. Then there are other bands that become established through sheer genius and ingenuity. This was the case from the beginning with British funk band Cymande, who were uniquely popular in the United States, as well as Britain, in the 1970s.

Cymande derives from the calypso word for dove, which in turn symbolises peace and love. The band’s demographic represents the legendary migration of people from the Caribbean to London from the 1950s, with members from Guyana, Jamaica and Saint Vincent. I believe that it was this particular flavour of rhythms that they brought with them in their musical ideology that made Cymande as irresistible as they are, mixing reggae, beautiful funk, afro and jazz into innovative catchy tracks.

It’s fun to note that Cymande are also one of the most sampled bands in British history, touching every corner of music – such as hip-hop innovator’s recovery of Cymande post ’75 by DJ Kool Hereand Grandmaster Flash, onwards to De La Soul and The Fugees, to French-based Senegalese MC Solaar. The message their music produces is that of the black experience in ’70s racist London, through Brixton-based poly-rhythms, Caribbean inspired reggae, all smoothly jazzed through funk and soul.

The band left the road back in the mid to late ’70s, leaving behind three albums for the world to depict for the coming decades. However, low and behold, the collective reformed in 2014, and now in 2019, they are coming back to play in Ronnie Scotts, London on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th of March.

Ronnie’s is a legendary venue, one of the few in London worthy of hosting such an illustrious group.

We took the opportunity, knowing the guys were on the scene again, to shoot a few questions their way. Read on for the opinion and evolutions of Cymande’s music and members.

How would you introduce the music of Cymande to those that don’t know?

Our music is an original blend of funk, jazz and soul with an undercurrent of poly-rhythmic structures from the Caribbean and Africa.

How many members were initially in the band, and how has that differed to now?

The band started with six original members, which we refer to as the core members. They are SteveScipioPatrick PattersonMike RosePablo GonzalesDerrick Gibbs and Sam Kelly. We expanded the number over time to include an additional saxophone player Desmond AtwellRay King and Joey Dee(deceased). Following the second tour of America in 1973, we reverted to the original six structure, and that was the core of the band which returned in 2014, to which we added pianist Adrian Reid, vocalist RaySimpson, and Ray Carless tenor and soprano saxes.

Can you describe the first time you all played together as a band, where and when and why?

If memory serves us well, our first gig might have been in 1971, at the Oval house in London, which was a prime music and arts venue at the time. There is no one reason for the formation and creation of Cymande music, but the aim has always been to play original music that combines elements of funk, jazz and soul, with our own special rhythmic Caribbean sensibility with a pronounced undercurrent of Rastafarian drumming.

How has Cymande’s music evolved in the years since it started to present day?

The music evolved a lot from the band’s formation in 1971 to when it came off the road in 1975. This is evident from listening to the musical progression in the three albums recorded over that period. Of course, there was the hiatus of some 35 years before the band reformed around 2010 to start planning the recording for the album, A Simple Act of Faith, but its core poly-rhythmic sense and original approach has remained constant. The evolution is probably best seen by comparing the nature of the songs, music and blend in the albums.

What was behind the decision to take the band off the road in the late 1970s?

There were a number of reasons, probably the most important was that, although we had been accepted and appreciated by American audiences in a wonderful way (which was unique for a UK black band playing funk and jazz), we found that when we returned to the UK, we were back in the land of the unseen and unheard, which was the place to which black music and black musicians had generally been confined in the UK music industry. It was dispiriting and devoid of dignity, and we all had other options, so we took a little respite. We prefer to describe the extended absence as a sabbatical. We took the band off the road, but never really split, and we have always remained connected and friends, working together on various projects over the years and discussing the idea of returning when the time was right.

You are one of the most sampled British bands in history: Why do you think the musicians in Cymande were capable of creating such innovative and desirable music?

It is difficult to point to any single factor that explains why the music developed in the way it did, but obviously, our background as Caribbean people and our experiences as second-generation immigrants in the UK served to create something unique and influential, with a great rhythmic sensibility that was infectious.

What do you think is the most important thing that happened to Cymande in the 40 years out of the limelight?

The recognition of Cymande as a historically important band in black music and the appreciation of our music, particularly by hip hop, rap and other audiences. Also, the fact that the band has managed to sustain a wonderful following by a knowledgeable and discerning audience.

As a band, who are some of your favourite artists to listen to and why?

We all have different favourites, players, bands and singers; Herbie HancockMiles DavisStevie WonderGladys Knight etc. The attraction they hold for us would be because of their musicianship, artistry and longevity. Most of these musicians (Miles Davis in particular) also put creativity and originality above commerciality, which was also the ethos followed by Cymande.

Is there anything that surprises you about the longevity of your band’s popularity?

The fact that the music has sustained itself, not simply in the United States, which is where we had our principal success but has spread far and wide to Europe and other places. Also, it was the modern younger generation who found something in our music that they could relate to.

What’s been the most rewarding part of getting on the road again?

The opportunity to be playing to great and wonderfully receptive audiences and making music for a new time period.

Yara Lapidus & Amira Kheir

THIS PEICE WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON RHYTHM PASSPORT

http://www.rhythmpassport.com/articles-and-reviews/interview/interview-yara-lapidus-amira-kheir-scents-of-cedars-and-acacias-november-2018/

Who would have thought that mixing roles, letting musicians wear the clothes of journalists, would have been so stimulating…

In view of their upcoming double-bill show (at Rich Mix London on Friday 23rd November), organized by Arts Canteen and part of the 2018 edition of the EFG London Jazz Festival, we had the pleasure to host Amira Kheir and Yara Lapidus (who reached us over the phone from Paris) at the SOAS Radio studio.

We were meant to have a conventional chat with the artists about their music, influences and career, but then we thought, why don’t we let them do our job and interview each other? The outcome is an interesting and expansive conversation between two engaging persons even before being talented musicians.

Tracks played:


LISTEN BELLOW

In Conversation With: Bombino

Bombino

WOMAD FESTIVAL 2017 - Saturday 29th - Main Stage

 

Who is Bombino? 

In the North of Africa the great Sahara Desert spans across Northern Mali, Niger, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Morocco and plenty of North East Africa too. The Tuaregs are a nomadic people who have roamed the Sahara with their cattle since pre-colonial times.

In recent decades civil unrest has made life for the Tuaregs hard and has resulted in years of violent conflict. 

However, the social and political unrest gave way for a new genre of music hailing from the exiled Tuaregs. Ibrahim Ag Albabib, band leader of Grammy award winning Tuareg musicians -  Tinariwen, is accredited with creating ‘al-guitara’ music, so named for the addition of the electric guitar. They played the electric guitar in a blues style inspired by the likes of Malian desert mega star - Ali Farka Touré. Al guitara, or Saharan desert blues as it can be referred to by, mixed these virtuosic guitar solos with the traditional music fo the Tuareg cultures inspired by musical gatherings called ‘aggiwin’s. The songs are based around cyclical patterns and continuous characteristic grooving rhythms played on calabashes and clapping. All while with, predominantly male vocals in multiple harmonies. 

This new platform of music that was mainly decimated throughout the desert for years on home made cassette tapes that musicians would record their songs onto. This helped spread the music of al’guitara, and the ideologies of the Tuareg activists. 

Bombinos live album Agamgam released in 2010, is a good introduction to the life of the Tuaregs, opening the first track Ténéré opens with sounds from cattle. Considering the Tuaregs are a nomadic people of cattle, these sounds are idiosyncratic with the movement of nomads and their live stock. The second tune ‘Imuhar’ then opens with (I assume) is a Islamic citation, thus representing the religious ideologies of the Tuareg nomads of the desert. 

Bombino was raised a Muslim, and therefore taught honour and dignity, themes that run throughout his al’guitara music. Since starting to play, and traveling the world with his music, Bombino has played at all and any worthy festival, a favourite at WOMAD’s, this year playing at Coachella, and many many more. 

Furthermore Bombino now has three studio albums: Agadez, Nomad and Azel. 

I personally have found myself rather immersed in Bombinos long melodic guitar riffs, infectious rhythms and soft grooving vocals for a number of years, and find myself ecstatic to finally see him play at WOMAD 2017 Festival where he will be headlining the main stage.

It was a beautiful moment to find out I would have the chance to talk to one of my musical heroes….Here’s what happened. 

 

WOMAD Festival 2017

In a beautiful rush, I found myself being swept behind the Main Stage to the artist press area, awaiting outside the white tent labelled ‘Bombino’. Stood outside the tent keeping to themselves were two men in fine Tuareg attire. As a fan, I knew I was looking at Bombino.

I stood whilst a translator was being organised, after exchanging a smile and laugh I offered the gentleman a drink and they accepted. Without communication I enjoyed sharing a pleasant beverage with Bombino whilst we patiently waited for Bombinos English speaking bassist to be located. 

After a few minutes we off inside the tent, all communications go. I directed my questions to Bombino whilst our friend relayed two and forth between us.

Bombino sat most humble and spoke with an almost silent soft voice. I was taken aback given the  energy Bombino carries on stage to see that behind the shining lights and curtains stands an extremely humble, almost shy character, who speaks quietly, tends to not look up too much, and has an incredibly kind energy. 

After making ourselves comfortable and getting to know each other a little, I began to ask some questions…. 

 

Sophie Darling (SD): For people who aren’t familiar with your music and know if it as the Tuareg desert blues, is this how you would describe your music through your eyes and ears? 

Bombino (B): It’s universal music you know, it’s like the desert, the desert is big, it is open. But I am Tuareg and the bass is still Tuareg and then I mix with other colours and other things you know, so for me it’s universal music for everyone everywhere. 

SD: I’d like to know how you first picked up the guitar?

B: I started to play guitar very young, this is why I was called Bombino, because I was a baby, and with a friend, a brother… in African everyone is your brother, we say brothers. So when I see my brothers play guitar, I come, I take a guitar and I try. And I take again and I try. So also I don’t have a professor, I am self taught, and then I develop my style. 

SD: I read that you were inspired by Jimi Hendrix… my question to you is there a one particular song that resonates most with you? 

B: *laughs* For me it is not just one song I love, I love them all. But this isn’t the point. The point is when I see Jimi Hendrix play his guitar, you see this connection between Jimi Hendrix and his guitar, you feel it, between him and HIS guitar, they are connected.

I am very very fond of this, this is what I want, this is what I try to be. This connection is very important to me, the connection between me and MY guitar. 

SD: Where do you call home? 

B: Niger. The Desert. 

SD:Have you been looking forward to playing WOMAD Festival (2017)? 

B: WOMAD is not the first time I have played here, but the first time it was so so special. This is my second time and it is still so special. I play a lot of big festivals like Coachella Festival and other big ones in the USA, but WOMAD will always be very very special. It is like the connections with the other artists and other musicians and the spirit here is different. 

And then we play another WOMAD in New Zealand and Australia, WOMAD is always an extra special show. It is true, all the artists want to play WOMAD.

SD: Your songs are sung in Tamasheq, the language of the Tuareg people, can you tell us a little bit about your people? 

B: So Tamasheq is the language of the Tuareg people, and the Tuareg people they are in African in Niger, Algeria, Mali, Libya, Burkina Faso, so all across the desert, so it’s a large language, you can write it’s own scripture. 

SD: Was there ever a temptation to sing a more universal language, such as French? As a lot of the Malian musicians do for example? 

B: They are not the same, all the songs are written in Tamasheq because it is my mother language, the English people for example, they do not think in French, it would be, confusing? Why you think in French? So it is the same, I am Tuareg, and my mother language is Tamasheq, and so if I can sing in Tamasheq, it will be easier and it will reach a lot of people from home, from my community, so if I were to sing in English or French then a lot of people in my community would not understand, so it is an easy decision. 

SD: So, in closing, do you have any pre or post gig rituals for good luck? 

B: Oh no, we are not superstitious, before we go on the stage we do… *high fives each band member* Boom. That is all we need before and after the show *laughs*

SD: Will you be coming to England on tour? 

B: Yes of corse!


SD:…and how about another album?… Please?

B: Of course. 

 

 

Moments after we concluded our interview, with friendly hugs and goodbyes, I left Bombino to get ready for his big show, which he was due to stage in half an hour. 

I left the artist area, and with great excitement ran around to the front fo the main stage and stood in the middle of an already heaving crowd, awaiting the humble quiet man I had just spoken too. 

What happened next blew my mind, like the caterpillar blossoming into a stunning butterfly, this tranquil character who had just been so reserved exploded onto the stage in a flurry of unstoppable guitar riffs, like Hendrix on stage, Bombino played his guitar with such rock’n’roll muster I could barely believe it was the same man I had just spoken too. 

The entire gig’s energy sky rocketed, with dancing, singing, even screaming from the audience, the whole performance was stunning. The musicality was genius. Watching Bombino play endless cyclical guitar riffs, whilst singing, dancing, and hyping was immense. Truly one fo the best guitarists I have ever seen, the whole ensemble worked to perfection. A friend I knew in th crowd hadn’t heard of Bombino before however found himself bewildered at the musical talent, and found himself somewhat addicted to the Sahara Desert guitarist. 

 

In Conversation With: Ganga Thapa

GangaThapaC

SOAS University (Islington)

16.03.17

 

On the second of February, I went to the Rich Mix to see the band Namlo, fronted by Ganga Thapa, perform at their album launch. Namlo is the only Nepalese touring band in England. I was taken aback by the versatility of their tunes, spanning from their opening bass driven funky song, totheir more serious emotive slower songs. Knowing very little about Nepalese music, I decided to ask Ganga if he would mind meeting with me to have a one on one chat about his music, Nepals music, and his journey to the Rich Mix. Sure enough, an efficient week later, we met at SOAS University for a one on one conversation. Here’s what happened that day….. 

 

A Sunny (but windy) Thursday….     

I was working in the SOAS radio station when everyone abruptly dropped what they were doing to rush downstairs to the SOAS steps. I was alerted that the King of the Yoruba people (Southwest and North Central Nigeria) was to be arriving at SOAS within half an hour with twenty of his court musicians. The reason for this was apparently to make stronger alliances with the SOAS research department. I happily left what I was doing, grabbed my notebook and camera and ran with the crowds to see what all the fuss was about.

 I was here to be meeting Ganga Thapa, leader and front man of all-Nepalese band; Namlo. I asked him if he would mind taking our meeting outside into the sunshine and explained the added drama of the supposed royal visitor. Also rather excited by the prospect of seeing a King, we agreed to set up outside in the beautiful sunshine. We each first grabbed hot drinks; a coffee for me, and hot chocolate for Ganga. 

We firstly exchanged pleasantries, and I told Ganga how I had been at his album launch in the Rich Mix, how enjoyable I found the evening and how I found the versatility of the music amazing. It was immediately apparent how easy it was going to be having conversations with Ganga, friendly and chuckling, Ganga was open to sharing and also open to laughing. 

Together we sat outside for over an hour awaiting the royal arrival and chatting about all manner of things. 

S.D: Let’s talk firstly about your time before moving to London and before Namlo…

Ganga Thapa (G.P): Growing up in Nepal you’re surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan mountains, and so, that’s what everyone automatically thinks about. I found no-one thinks about the music there.

I studied Ethnomusicology in our capital city Kathmandu. I enjoyed it, but decided to carry on my studies elsewhere, somewhere a little more versatile. That’s why when I was twenty two I moved alone to London, England. Here I continued my studies in Ethnomusicology at degree level at the University of SOAS (otherwise known as, the School of Oriental and African Studies). Ethnomusicology is the study of music and cultures. I realised that there was very little focus on the musics of Nepal.

 I was very lonely at first. The cultural change was crazy, London is such a big busy city, it made me feel very lonely. The adjustment period for me never quite seems over. I dearly missed the open spaces of Nepal, and found it hard in London with the lack of sunshine. Sunshine energises you and there is very little of this in London. I think perhaps how much I missed Nepal effected a little of my studies. I would sometimes miss class’s, and had the teachers emailing me to ask where I was. 

 When I was studying in Nepal, I had picked up playing the Sarod, which second to the sitar, is the most played instrument in traditional Indian music and classical Hindustani music. I also learned to play classical guitar, something I continued in England, and now offer classical guitar lessons also. 

A great deal of the musical focus in Nepal is on Indian music. I therefore started off learning Indian Ragas’s (Indian melodic modes). I found myself more interested in the folk melodies coming from the classical Nepalese musicians. This became important to me. The radio will always be playing new ‘pop’ music. Indian pop is most prominent on the radio’s in Nepal, other forms of music are somewhat discouraged and less important. This fed me further into the desire to play the traditional folk musics from all over Nepal. I have childhood memories of the folk musics played, and it is these memories that I wanted to remember in my music.

S.D Have you faced any difficulties?  

G.T: It has not always been easy in England, being from Nepal, it is sometimes hard to travel around, and consequently I have had a lot of distressing issues with living in England. I am sure these are not unique to me, but they are not easy. It is when facing these difficulties that music really becomes the driving force behind not just my creativity, but everything. It’s music that keeps me happy, healthy and able to continue through the tuff times. Sometimes these unfair things that get thrown at us, sometimes maybe they help. Maybe sometimes we need a little pain. 

S.D Can you tell me about your musical inspirations? 

G.T: My primary inspirations came from the folk melodies in Nepalese music. This is something that I wanted to present in my music; all the Nepalese folk areas of music. In England, the Nepalese music is very bad, terrible, I wanted to make sure that the subconscious cultures from all over Nepal are being played and represented. 

However saying that, in Nepalese music, the vocals are technically very very good, this is something I wanted to harness, however the vocals can also be very boring, there is too much happening in their music, and they stay within the melody all the time. Very boring. Also Nepalese songs tend to have very long lyrics, in my songs, the overall structure of the lyrics aren’t as long.Itake the technicality of the vocals and make it my own, make it interesting. 

I also very much like African tonality. That’s why I take some inspiration from West Africa as well, such as from Mali. 

Many Malian artists inspire me, I particularly love mystros Bassekou Kouyate and Toumani Diabate, as well asAli Farke Toure and Habib Kouyate. Habib Kouyate actually has the guitar that I had always wanted, and finally got for myself. The guitar is a Godin guitar and has a midi output built in, very cool indeed. 

S.D What is your song writing process?

G.T:  Inspirations for me songs come in all places. When I write my songs, the melody will come to me first, perhaps I will play something on the guitar, then the lyrics will come second. This is how I write my music. Very often inspirations will come randomly when I am travelling, and I will need to write a song there and then, but always I will mainly be inspired by the folk traditions, the rhythms and melodies of Nepal. From the North and the South, all over, I want to take the little differences in their cultures, and play them all.

S.D Can you tell me about your music and Namlo? 

G.T: I was originally in a band in England called the Yak Attack when I first moved, but now I am playing with Namlo. I am also a teacher in classical guitar. However Namlo is what I am doing full-time. 

Together in Namlo we represent all of Nepal, with four of us directly from Nepal, our double bass player is from Wales, and our clarinet player is Australian. We recorded the percussion on our debut album in Nepal. Another of my inspirations if of corse Bisso Shahi whose produced our album. He has been a constant influence to me and Namlo as a band. I feel our sound would be rather different without his inspirations. He has guided me very much so.

Namlo in Nepal is actually the name we call to the strap. A strap that holds our ‘Doko’ baskets. It is a very strong strap that is used in everyday life, it is an integral part of out lives, and everyone from Nepal knows exactly what a Namlo is. It helps us to carry things easily. I like it because it represents what we are doing with our band. The basket you see is weaved together for strength. Just as we are weaving our cultural bonding together in support of the Nepalese community worldwide. 

We want to create cross cultural global music. From all the different folk scenes and melodies from different parts of Nepal, to London UK. I want to fuse these Indian and Nepalese and Western influences in order to raise the profile of Nepalese music in a global context. I want to represent our diverse community.

When there was the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, we knew we had to show our solidarity and try and help our people. Therefore we arranged 10 gigs all around England, and all the money we made went straight to those effected by the earthquake. It was very difficult for us to see the suffering, so we had to do something to help.

S.D: Do you have help organising your schedule?

G.T:  To help us tour and play gigs everywhere, we managed to get some Arts Council funding. This helped us dearly, as we have no band manager. I book all the concerts myself, which can be very challenging. Also keeping our social media up to date is also a task I find sometimes difficult asI feel my English is not always the best. Never the less, we find venues, promoters who want cross cultural performances, and we travel around the country playing these gigs. 

S.D: Where can we listen to your music?

G.T: Our Debut album self titled Namlo is now available after our album launch in the Rich Mix on the second of March (2017). It has been produced by my good friend and guide Bisso Shahi. The launch at the Rich Mix was one of my favourite concerts. The sound in the venue was really good, same as when we played in Union Chapel. As our music has a story, it is nice to have venues that have good quality sound as we can really feel as though we are portraying our message and our story to the audience. You can also listen to my catalogue of music on my website: gangathapa.com

 

After a good couple of hours of chatting, we decided to call it day. For those wondering, we did manage to see the King of the Yoruba people during our conversation. He arrived with all the gusto and grandeur expected of Royalty. with twenty musicians playing and singing for his as he walked fro his limo to the SOAS steps under a large umbrella propelled by two of his men. After witnessing this arrival, we made our way inside to warm up from the bitter London ‘summer’ weather. 

Having listened to the Namlo album, I found it hopelessly catchy and infectious. I listened to the album for the first time back to back. It is certainly a product of fusion. The beautiful sounds such as the flutes playing Nepalese melodies, and the voices being used sometimes as just harmonium drones. With up-beat feel good songs such as ‘Kauda' with more obvious Indian influences and the stunning voice of Shreya Rai, to the more emotive ‘Pida’ (translated Grief) taking us on a journey, and using near to no lyrics in doing so. The whole album from beginning to end captures the fusion Ganga speaks of so desperately of wanting to portray. 

When times are tuff I listen to the Namlo album, it’s soft and pulsing groove allows me to travel to a happy musical space. I can listen to the album from start to finish with ease and pleasure. It’s lovely to hear and recognise the wonderful Nepalese rhythms and melodies spoken so highly off. I would buy this album for my nan and also for my best friend. Truly a beautiful piece of work, it has an appeal to the great majority. 

Conducting this ‘one on one’ with Ganga was an absolute pleasure, we laughed and smiled and talked of all things good and bad. His honesty and openness was an absolute pleasure to work with. I like to think I found a friend in Ganga that sunny Thursday afternoon. 

You can catch Namlo play on: May 26th at the Southbank Centre (London), July 6th at the Folkestone Festival and July 9th at SOAS for the South Asian Festival. You can also buy the album ‘Namlo’ on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. Be sure to follow them on all media platforms to follow Ganga and Namlo on their journey to spreading Nepalese music globally.