Take Five: Sachal Studios-Style

You know how I like the jazz… Above, a Lahore-based wonder currently going viral (h/t Frederick N., who sent to a list I’m subscribed to). I love the above, as I love the original. What a great synthesis of tabla, sitar, guitar, strings… My favorite parts: the guitar stuff around the two-minute mark, plus the sitar on the main melody.FN also pointed me to this, and on the Sachal Studios site itself, you can read a little bit about their philosophy. (Go to About Us. I can’t link directly to it.) I didn’t realize this, because I’m not a big Bollywood watcher, but there’s much about this orchestral presentation that harks back to filmi scores of old. As their website suggests, this music is pleasantly human and live and the video is full of actual people playing instruments, which is a far cry from many music videos I have recently seen (yes, it’s true, I have recently also been deciding what I think about Lady Gaga).

This also made me think, my parents would like this Sachal Studios version, Take Five being a perennial favorite in all its incarnations. I also remembered my father regaling Little Sugi with tales of seeing Duke Ellington play in Sri Lanka back in the day. Lo and behold: the Google and other sources say that the Duke played in Sri Lanka a coupla times. Cool pictures! 1963 and 1972, and you can see that the Far East Suite has (no kidding!) Kandyan imagery on its cover.

The single above is on iTunes and the full album is supposed to be out later this spring. (Bonus: from the Sachal homepage, you can click on Desafinado and hear bossa nova, Sachal-style.)

Related posts:

In Conversation With Vijay Iyer, Part I

In Conversation With Vijay Iyer, Part II

5 thoughts on “Take Five: Sachal Studios-Style

  1. Remarkable. Lahoris are a very cultured bunch of folks. After all, Lahore was the cultural capital of Punjab for like 800 years. This piece is actually quite natural in this Hindustani arrangement, since Dave Brubeck’s Take 5 is in 5/8 time signature, which is a common beat in Hindustani music and tabla playing.

    The guitarist is really good! He’s a very technical guitarist, and plays in a Spanish style. Ironically, Spanish music is also like Indian music, since Gypsies/Roma (who originated from NW India [probably Punjab area]) influenced Spanish music with their Phrygian modes. So this Desi guy is playing Desi-inspired music. This is sort of like a Nigerian guy playing blues music (which was inspired by African rumba beats).

    The tabla’s tone is very much the backbone of this piece, and although the ustaad was a bad ass, the producers may have been better off subduing his volume just a bit. Just my Rs.2. That being said, I must watch this video again. That tabla player is a total bad ass – actually he’s much better than that…he’s a Horrifying Ass.

  2. I was very pleased that “Indian” classical music still survives in Pakistan. I used “Indian” very deliberately. It may be disingenuous and intellectually outright dishonest to call it “South Asian.” The music as much belongs to Pakistan as it belongs to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.

    I hope the traditional music based on raaga and tala will find wider audience and encouragement within Pakistan.