Sheffield folk-fusion collective Mishra bring to the fore a celebration with Samaroh
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To give a little background here, global folk band Mishra recently collaborated for a rather special new project with the renowned international fusion-vocalist Deepa Sri Shakthi.
Mishra along with Shakthi have called their new show ‘Samaroh’ after the Hindi word for ‘celebration’ and will be touring venues in England this April with funding from EFDSS and Help Musicians.
Ford Collier gave us a little insight into how Mishra came to be:
“Mishra is a Sheffield-based band, Kate and I met at Sheffield university and started playing music together, gigging together. We started out in a folk music background, Kate was mainly American folk and I was more so into Irish folk music and we had wide interests in learning more about Indian classical music.”
Mishra are Kate Griffin (The Magpies) on banjo and vocals, Ford Collier (The Drystones) on low whistle and percussion, John Ball (Rafiki Jazz) on tabla and santoor, Joss Mann-Hazell (Auka) on double bass, and Alex Lyon on clarinets and vocals.
“We sort of expanded from a duo to a five-piece, and last year we started working with Deepa Shakthi, who is an amazing Indian classical music and sufi singer” adds Kate.
With over 30 years of studying Indian music and working across genres under the banner of ‘world music’, Deepa Shri Shakthi (formerly Deepa Nair Rasiya) has forged an international reputation as a vocalist and composer, receiving awards and acclaim both in the UK and India. She has worked with artists including Kuljit Bhamra and is currently touring with Opera North’s production of Orpheus.
“We had a commission to write some new music, which kickstarted a project and now we are releasing singles and touring.”
You can listen to the interview in its entirety on the Chris Talks Music podcast, which you can currently subscribe to for free at: https://anchor.fm/chris-talks-music
The project, Samaroh, takes the soul-stirring euphoria of Deepa’s sufi singing as a starting point, and weaves in the threads of Mishra’s UK folk and Indian classical influences to create what can genuinely be described as a captivating cross-cultural sound. It’s truly a treat for the ears.
“One of the things that we are keen to avoid, is that when you listen to music that kind of plonks this element of another culture into music. That kind of boxy fusion is what we’re trying to avoid”, notes Ford.
“We had an opportunity to learn about Indian classical music, it was really exciting and important to us. We just wanted to reflect our own inspiration and excitement within the music we were making.”
All signs point to a successful incorporation of musical and cultural fusion, without a hint of being disingenuous or oblivious to the multifaceted layers that have combined so well.
Their joyous performances are a journey of contrasts, from hand-clapping trance-like sufi songs to spacious stillness and reflection with lyrics in Hindu, Urdu and English.
This broad-ranging eclectic musical vision encompasses so many things that represent the populace of a forward-thinking and distinctly modern-day Britain, while also retaining an element of awareness and respect to the origins of each layer that envelops their collective sound.
If anything could be so indicative of the rich diversity present within our communities and music Samaroh is the result of that respect and reverence for embracing the perceived differences and delivering an aural treat many will surely enjoy — a celebration in the truest sense.