It was while South African musician Guy Buttery was on a concert tour of India, as part of a trio with highly acclaimed Indian classical musicians Mohd., Amjad Khan and Mudassir Khan, that the seed was sown for “One Morning In Gurgaon”.
Remarkably, the three musicians had never met before, let alone made music together, and before their first concert they had “practiced” via vocal recordings and exchanged texts somewhere between the Hindi and English to break down the different parts of the set.
In the end, it was the one-stop approach combined with the inauspicious nature and 11th hour of their first meeting that provided stardust for the collaboration.
âTowards the end of 2019, I had the chance to work with tabla player, Mohd. Amjad Khan and sarangi master Mudassir Khan on a concert tour of India.
âDue to traffic in Delhi, our scheduled dry run was reduced to 60 minutes, which gave us just enough time to shake hands, share a cellar and tune our instruments.
âAs a result, we went totally blind on our first gig, but what happened on stage over the next hour left me in total awe,â Buttery explained.
The recording of the album was done by chance.
The inspiration was more about finding paths and meeting points between cultural lines and not planning it too much with an overhanging creative vision.
âAmjad, Mudassir and I just exchanged messages, discussing the music and the ambiance rather than organizing everything together from a distance.
“Shortly after, I was contacted to do a national tour through India and immediately jumped at the opportunity to work with these guys.”
There was no clear idea what the trio wanted the end product to be. All the music you hear on âOne Morning in Gurgaonâ is the result of singular takes.
The weather did not allow more.
âAmjad chose the songs we played. For example, our rendition of ‘Raag Yaman’ featured here was the first and only time we performed it together. Mudassir gave me a schematic idea of ââthe raga in speech and what happened is what you hear here. Everything else was almost certainly telepathic, âexplained the star guitarist.
The sound of the album is described as the meeting of two worlds.
âMohd Amjad Khan and Mudassir Khan are renowned masters of their respective instruments, steeped in classical Indian traditions, from an early age.
âGuardians of their musical heritage, ‘One Morning In Gurgaon’ highlights their desire to push the limits of their instruments, cleverly highlighted by Amjad whose tabla playing is marked by a disturbing intuition and a masterful improvisational dexterity. .
Likewise, Mudassir harnessed the improvisational potential of the rare and notoriously difficult sarangi, an instrument whose sound most closely resembles that of the human voice.
âTogether with my acoustic guitar and my mbira playing, the album culminates in a pure and uninhibited example of empathetic collaboration.
âThe entire record is a musical conversation between the three of us, exchanging our ideas on the spur of the moment and exploring the crossroads with curiosity and intrigue.
âThe music kind of escaped on its own,â he said.
When creating the album, the biggest obstacle for Buttery was the language. T
hat and a glaring lack of time. Having studied Indian classical music primarily as an area of ââgreat interest rather than as a serious scholar, he was familiar with many structures, movements and associated terms commonly used in the Hindustani raga school of musical thought.
âAs a result, we relied heavily on the language of music as our primary form of communication, which was a wonder to share and shape together,â he said.
Buttery explained how the name came about.
âMy tour of India started in Delhi before moving to various other cities in the country.
âI had exactly one free morning between my next concert in Pune, Maharashtra, and Mudassir had an afternoon scale for a concert that evening.
âWe literally had a handful of hours to capture the full album before we all went off in different directions.
“It all happened one morning in the city of Gurgaon just outside New Delhi.”
Buttery said he was well aware of the intuition and openness in the room that morning in Gurgaon and felt incredibly humbled to have shared the sound with two masters.
âI am eternally grateful to them both for their deep musicality, their warm heart and their spontaneous spirit. You can bury me with this one.
âWhat people take away from it is and always will be their own experience.
âHowever, I suggest openness and a sense of vulnerability when listening. But I would probably say that for all music.
When prompted to pick a favorite track from the album, Buttery said, âOur rendition of my previously recorded track ‘December Poems’ is the best version yet.
âWhen I first heard the music through the headphones, I felt like we had played it 1,000 times together.
“The feeling of freedom in this improvised performance will stay with me for many years to come.”
âOne Morning In Gurgaonâ is available on all digital platforms.
No Comments Yet