Groove Tunes

Friday, 20 May 2011

Debashish Bhattacharya and Bob Brozman - Mahima

As a student of sitar I listen to a lot of Indian classical music so, for me, coming across Mahima wasn't too surprising. What was surprising, however, was the content of the album. I had heard of Bob Brozman many times and had always been slightly intrigued by him; a slide guitar musician who has collaborated with many artists from around the world in a variety of different styles.

The first thing to say about Mahima is that it is one crazy album. I mean crazy in the sense that I have heard nothing else like it and that it is so full of influences that it is just astonishing that it comes together.

Of course, there is a bit of a blues sound to all of this, as it would probably be impossible for a song to contain slide guitar and not sound bluesy, but it goes further than that, the riffs of the non-slide guitars do little runs and arpeggios that are very reminiscent of standard blues. But then they, and the rhythms, have so many influences. There is a definite nod to gypsy music and folk music, I would imagine that these two styles are closely linked and they go hand in hand on this album.

It starts of with tablas and a slightly unusual riff that hints at the diverse influences used on the rest of the album. Then the stunningly beautiful vocals of Debashish Bhattacharya come in with Bob complimenting her lines with some simple slide action. Her vocals are pitch perfect and she has a very strong voice, using typical Indian style in the melodies and singing in what I presume is Hindi. Then we have a nice little slide guitar solo and then a tabla breakdown before it all comes back in with Debashish leading everyone along back the main theme of the song. Towards the end we hear Debashish's vocals layered with multiple versions and some other singers while the rest of the music fades out to leave her (and her backing) to sing that beautiful line just one more time.

The second song starts with a lead line from Bob which is almost Spanish sounding. There are no vocals on this but there is a definite hint of flamenco and other Latin styles, in fact it is packed full of Latin influence.

The next song comes back to the Indian influences but still remains quite bluesy, as the title suggests, Tagore Street Blues.

The rest of the album continues with its wide range of sounds and styles, somehow sounding consistent all the way through. There are sounds of North Africa, Cuba, Spain, deep south USA, and of course India. But this would be simplifying the sound of this album and probably doesn't do it justice.

I would recommend that you get hold of this album and see for yourself. I can't imagine you being disappointed. The album has something for almost everyone, with quite amazing guitar work, impressive and diverse drumming and percussion, stunning vocals, and influences from all over the world incorporated in to a strong and weirdly consistent album.


I usually don't listen to Indian music (other than Dalhir Mendhi) but this was pretty awesome =)

Like Pete said I haven't really listened to sitar music, but this was nice.

for some reason i like it, though can't hear it the whole day.

I really liked this actually, which i found quite surprising.

The variety you describe is astounding! I want it now.

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