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Dhola Maru
Dhola Maru
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Rajasthan, in northwestern India, has a unique mix of cultures that has continually enriched not only its own music, but that of much of Asia and Europe over the centuries. Gypsies, Muslims, and Hindus have all contributed...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Musafir
Title: Dhola Maru
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Sounds True Direct
Original Release Date: 9/28/1999
Release Date: 9/28/1999
Album Type: Import
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
Styles: Europe, Eastern Europe, Far East & Asia, India & Pakistan, India
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 600835011426

Rajasthan, in northwestern India, has a unique mix of cultures that has continually enriched not only its own music, but that of much of Asia and Europe over the centuries. Gypsies, Muslims, and Hindus have all contributed to a potent blend of sounds and influences that have grown into a ceremonial music of rare sensuality. Musafir's members reflect this fusion of religions and cultures and by working together have generated a new energy that is all of the above and none. If you know the various sources, you can identify the complex ragas, the ecstatic qawalli voices, the incessant swirl of the Sufi, and the physicality of Gypsy songs, but they are merged into a new sound in the hands of these musicians, singers, and dancers. The nine tracks include mesmerizing love songs, frantic dance tunes, powerful ensemble and imploring solo vocals, accompanied by harmonium, dholak, sarangi, and a host of other instruments that represent the region's diversity. Musafir are uniquely equipped to translate these many cultures into an important cooperative of sound. --Louis Gibson

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CD Reviews

A modern folk masterpiece ... not musty ethnomusicology!
Devi Bhakta | Boston, MA USA | 06/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I enjoyed Musafir's appearance in Tony Gatlif's brillant 1994 film, "Latcho Drom;" I was blown away by their excellent first album, "Gypsies of Rajasthan;" and catching a stop on their 1999 U.S. tour clinched it: These guys are fantastic!So it's great to see them back with a new album; and, yes, it's a good one. Musafir's music is an unorthodox mix of Muslim and Hindu musical traditions from the Thar Desert region of Rajasthan, India's vast northwestern state. The result is fresh, exciting and invigorating -- rather than yet another ethnomusical "field recording" of some insular performing caste of the region, this is a messy, organic, totally vibrant 21st century creation that's totally authentic, yet completely new. Musaafir is a breath of fresh air bursting from the bonds of India's oppressive and dangerous communalism. They're a lesson in the possibilities of cooperation rather than mutual hatred and distrust ... and a damn good party band to boot. "Dhola Maru" (the name of a folk tale that is Rajasthan's answer to "Romeo and Juliet") is a nice follow-up to the band's first CD, "Gypsies of Rajasthan" ... it is immediate (recorded at a home studio in Belgium at all hours of the day and night), passionate (these people are truly in love with what they're doing, and it's apparent in every track), and engaging. As a previous reviewer wrote, it's also demanding -- this is not relaxing background music: It's wild, raucous, loud, and sometimes trascendently estatic.I give the album four stars rather than five only because I think it tries to do too much in too little space. Musafir's lineup has expanded since the last album (it now includes a classical female vocalist, a transvestite dancer and other oddities that add to the group's already spectacular stage show). But it's too much to showcase on one album, I think.Having so enjoyed the band's sound on "Gypsies of Rajasthan," I was especially disappointed to see the role of dancer/vocalist Sayeera Sapera significantly reduced due to the excess of new members. Her charming vocals graced much of the first CD, but appear on just a couple of tracks on "Dhola Maru." Sapera is a prodigiously gifted performer -- a breathtaking dancer, a deeply emotive singer; the real star of Musafir in my opinion (then again, I've been hopelessly in love with her since seeing their live show, so my opinion may be biased) -- so I would call her more "back seat" role on this album its only real liability."
M.Burt | DC | 03/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you like Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn you will probably enjoy this release. The voices are decidedly younger and more aggressive, filled with an authentic passion. Mostly male vocals with 2 tracks female. There are a variety of tempos, some very soft and some forward and festive. I don't consider this light listening for background. It demands attention and is extremely rewarding for such. I also really appreciated the thorough liner notes included, which give an interesting history of the group and the backgrounds of the individual players."
A skillful, sensuous blend of styles
Joe Sixpack -- | Middle America | 09/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Even more stunning than their previous album ("Gypsies Of Rajastan"), this disc delves deeper into more overt "world fusion" territory, but not in the icky way usually associated with that phrase. This is a gorgeous, glorious, earthy and expansively rich, Asian-based exploration of culture, sonic texture and musical spirituality. It's really quite lovely, one of the best albums of its kind. Highly recommended."