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News |  23 Oct 2019 15:12 |  By RnMTeam

Sarod maestro Soumik Datta to release new EP, 'Jangal'

MUMBAI: London-based musician, composer, television presenter, and sarod maestro Soumik Datta releases a compelling new EP, Jangal, inspired by the global environmental crisis that engulfs the world.

Bridging the world of Indian classical and contemporary music, Jangal is a vibrant tangle of musical influences and styles with the planet at the centre of it. The soundtrack crackles with a defiant energy, and meshes ancient, digital, vocal and electronic rhythms and melodies.

Jangal (the original Urdu word for jungle) is unruly, full of life and cinematic in its scope. Angry and in parts aspirational, Soumik’s orchestrated collisions of Latin percussion, analogue synths, Swiss hang drums and Indian sarod lament the wreckage of our planet. They howl, roar and protest over our inability to stop the social and ecological collapse.

The EP features the veritable who’s who of the global music scene – apart from Soumik – Austrian percussionist Manu Delago on hang; London-based musician, Al MacSween on piano, Moog, synths, harmonium; frequent Soumik collaborator and rhythmic visionary Bernhard Schimpelsberger on percussion; Ayoze de Alejandro Lopez on bombo and Latin percussion and Indian percussionist Pirashanna Thevarajah on the ghatam and morsing.

“Caged within phone frames, those burning branches in the Congo, in Peru and India feel so distant. But these trees, like gentle giants, tall, shooting skyward are the lungs of this planet. And they deserve our protection,” says Soumik of his inspiration to create the EP.

“As an artist, I have to believe that we have a duty to rage on, to create, against all odds, against resistance, to play and create. I’ve never had the courage to make music in protest of anything before. But these melodies were raging in defiance, simmering under my skin for months on end, until I had to manifest them: songs that celebrate the jungles of our planet and the beasts that live within. A year later, here is this EP,” he adds.

The title track, ‘Jangal’, opens unexpectedly, with a rhythm played on the Latin American Bombo drum, an ancient instrument traditionally used by Amazon tribes to celebrate nature and the rainforest. Layered with this raw beat are Rhodes, moogs and an array of analogue synths that evoke not just the real jungle but also a concrete one. Holding these two worlds of nature and man together is the hook, played on the sarod. Drawing from the traditional Indian melody, Mian ki Malhar, Soumik’s custom-built sarod weaves a rich tapestry of raga, rhythm and roaring synth.

On Wildfire, the frenetic music builds crescendo like the racing flames in a forest underlying its title, while ‘Beast's simmering tempo reigns you in. This track also features Soumik playing a rare bamboo flute, the ‘bamhum’, originally from the jungles of Nagaland.

The haunting vocals on ‘Myth’ with its folkish, seductive melody is a sweet exercise in hope as is the beseeching ‘Plantations’.

But beneath the nuanced, virtuoso playing there is seething anger against our deforestation, rage against our extermination of biodiversity, against our displacement of indigenous people and politicians’ nonchalant egocentricity.

Jangal will release on November 13 and will be available on all streaming platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Vevo among other platforms worldwide.