After a great run this morning in the snow through the river valley its hard to believe that a few short days ago I was walking the streets of Jodhpur , ingesting the plethora of sights, sounds and smells that can only be described as sensory overload....the brilliant colors of the clothes and the various shades of blue on the houses , hence the blue city... the horns of the cows turning to hook you a little if you walk too close... the constant motorcycle horns in the market...(I loved the ones who had decided it was too much effort to lift the thumb off the horn and kept a constant honk going !) smell of chai and milk boiling , open sewers, calls of the street vendors, hot sun beating down,exquisite desert music distilled through a thousand years of sand and heat and the constant sea of humanity that makes India a fascinating place to visit!
My primary purpose for this trip was to meet up and do some recording with some of the musicians I had met before on previous trips and also to see who else I might find interested in recording on some of my compositions. To this end , the trip was a great success in spite of encountering some technical and personal limitations which simply means that this is an ongoing project!
A few highlights : in Turkey,there was the crew at the Kurdish underground cafe in Istanbul, including a French clarinet/accordion duo fresh from a 5 year stint in Mexico, and a reunion with Sadat Kemenche , the Roma violin player I had studied with last year . In Serbia there was the recording with Akesh,a great Indian percussionist and Sinan, a wonderful Roma clarinet player in a Belgrade apartment (thanks Ana!) and playing with Filip Krumes and the Hot Club of Belgrade.... in Macedonia, hanging out in the mahala with the Cherkezi Orkestra... in Greece ,meeting all the Swedish musicians at the Womex festival and in Bulgaria, jamming in the old town of Plovdiv with Anton and Sofia , brother and sister team of amazing violin!
There were the festivals in Deli and Dehra Dun, my sense of the contrasts that is India was heightened by my stay in the Shangri La, an ultra deluxe hotel in the heart of Delhi...great to meet and travel with Hans Vermersch,a great Belgian composer and violin player, jam with Danish Ali, a Delhi based classical Hidustani violin player....more lessons with Johar Ali Kahn, and travels to Jodhpur to record with some Manganier musicians....Shakoor, a brilliant morchang player and and Shadam, a lovely serenghi player.
There were many more encounters and inspiring moments, but for now its great to be back in Edmonton! I am inspired by the many great musicians I met and listened to on this trip and also managed to produce a few new compositions while on the road. Thanks to the many people who helped me out along the way and special thanks to Marianne for all her support and love from home!