I’m back in the recording studio after almost five years, planning ‘Ragas Relax 2’. Blog: My ‘Journey to the East’ 1972-84. Drone views of our homestead.
My New Zealand project ‘Mystic Poets Cycle’. Here we are doing a live instrumental interlude I composed: ‘As Far As the Ear Can Hear’. Wonderful solos from Basant Madhur (tabla) and Oliver Kraft (guitar).
Shastro and I in concert last year at the Auckland Mehfil. An improvisation on some basic chords I am calling “Light Touch”.
Here I am in 1972 at home in Kent. Felt like childhood had just ended. A fascination with India that will last the next forty-six years is just beginning. Read on below.
Journey to the East1972-84
How did it all begin, this abiding connection of mine with India that by now has lasted for approaching half a century? My earliest hint of it was an old yellow hardcover book ‘A Guide to Fourteen Asiatic Languages’ inexplicably discovered on my parents dusty bookshelves. Out of this, at the age of seven or so, I equally inexplicably chose (could it have been inspired by Disney’s ‘Jungle Book’ perhaps?) to pick Hindustani. ‘Tum ho magr, tum ho hathi ‘ (you are a crocodile, you are an elephant) I ungrammatically cooked up from its word lists.
Contributing perhaps was a little card given to me a couple of years later by my Christian aunt that I treasured for years. On it was M. Louise Haskins poem ‘God Knows’, two lines of which always gave me the chills: “And he led me towards the hills And the breaking of day in the lone east”
As I entered my teens there were the Beatles of course, but George Harrison sitar playing meant little to me, and I was too young to follow the events with the Maharishi. It was the early seventies, when I was given a tiny book (‘Springs of Indian Wisdom’) by a sophisticated London Jewish girlfriend, before a second glimpse of India’s future impact touched me consciously. In amongst quotes from the Gita and Upanishads to which I couldn’t really relate was Rabindranath Tagore’s poem: “…..Tired I slept on my empty bed In the illusion that the work had an end In the morning i awoke to find That my garden was full of flowers’
It resonated with a wisdom that was much more approachable than gods and goddesss or high-flown philosophy.
Read on here
Drone footage over our homestead.
A path down to the river I constructed using river stones.
Almost twenty years together!
Koyal in class
The Incredible String Band “The Circle is Unbroken’. Fifty years old now, yet Robin Williamson’s mystical lyrics and arrangement still give me the chills every time.