What is a poet?
A wretched man,
harbouring agonies in his heart,
whose lips , however so fashioned
that the sighs and screams
issuing from th em
into exquisite music .
BALBIR KUMAR´S FLUTE IS FULL OF SUFFERING. IT IS PREGNANT WITH THE PAIN OF THE DESTITUDE PEOPLE OF INDIA.
BALBIR HAS LIVED A HARD LIFE IN POVERTY. AND THE EXTREME BEAUTY OF HIS FLUTE IS ROOTED IN THIS SOIL.
HIS MUSIC IS NOT "NEW AGY". BALBIR WENT TO JAIL FOR SMOKING HASH. BUT HIS FLUTE TOOK HIM BEYOND PRISON WALLS.
1 DEEP TRAIN TRAVEL
TRAIN SOUNDS FROM NEW DELHI RAILWAY STATION. A VOYAGE INTO MYSTIC INDIA, CHAOTIC AND BEAUTIFUL.
IN THIS TRACK YOU WILL HEAR A TRAIN STEWARD SING A SONG YOU CAN HEAR IN ALL INDIAN TRAINS: “BREAKFAAST! COFEEE!”
2 "I LIVE OUTSIDE WIMPY”
Sam Harley: Bottleneck blues on Indian instruments
Hampi - Musical Stone Pillar Temple
WHEN I FIRST ASKED BALBIR WHERE HE LIVED, THIS WAS HIS ANSWER. WIMPY IS A BURGER CLONE ON CONNAUGHT
PLACE IN NEW DELHI. BUT ACTUALLY THE TUNE IS FROM THE HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS.
BALBIR SAYS: WHEN I GO BACK TO THE MOUNTAINS, I PLAY THIS TUNE. AND THEN THE VILLAGE WOMEN CRY.
THE STONE PILLARS OF A TEMPLE IN HAMPI, KARNATAKA WERE USED FOR MUSICAL PERFORMANCE DURING RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE CITY OF HAMPI. IN THIS TUNE THE MUSICAL PILLARS AGAIN SHOWER THEIR VIBRATIONS, THANKS TO THE MODERN SAMPLING TECHNIQUE.
3 FREE IN PRISON
Vocal: Mrs. X
THIS TUNE WAS INSPIRED FROM AN OLD HINDI FILM THEME. THE TITLE REFERS TO BALBIR´S EXPERIENCE IN A PRISON
IN NEW DELHI. THE PRISON WARD CAME TO HIM: "YOU ARE NOT EATING, SO YOU WILL SOON DIE. THAT IS NOT GOOD
FOR OUR PRISON. WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE YOU EAT?" BALBIR ANSWERED: "JUST GET ME A FLUTE".
THE MASTER TO THE LEFT ONCE SAID ABOUT MRS X: "THE WORLD NEEDS CRAZY PEOPLE LIKE YOU TO BE HEALED."
4 LINE OF MASTERS
Vocal: Mrs. X - Shennai: Bhim Singh from Kullu Valley, Jhari.
IN GRATITUDE TO THE SPIRITUAL MASTERS I HAVE MET.
5 BLISS PAIN
"I DON´T LIKE HAPPY MUSIC" - BALBIR KUMAR - VEDANA - THE PAIN OF BLISS
6 FULL OF EMPTINESS
Vocal: Chandrakant Govekar (Goa - Pernem) - Ravanatha: Birbal Ji (Rajastan)
ONE NIGHT IN ARAMBOL, GOA - IN BETWEEN THE RYTHMS OF THE WAVES - I HEARD THE MOST WONDERFULL STRANGE SINGING. AND I THOUGHT IT WAS TAPE MUSIC, BUT MY FRIEND ATTILA SAID: "IN ARAMBOL EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE". SO WE CHASED THE SOUNDS IN BETWEEN MOON RAYS AND PALM TREES ENDING UP IN A PRIVATE VILLAGE HOUSE.
THERE WE SAW AND HEARD THE MAN NOW SINGING ON THIS TRACK. THE RAVANATHA PLAYER YOU CAN HEAR IN A RESTAURANT IN HOUSE KHAZ IN NEW DELHI. INDIA IS FULL OF EMPTINESS. AND THIS EMPTINESS CAN CONTAIN EVERYTHING, EVEN WESTERNIZATION. THE TUNE STARTS IN A PEACEFUL CLASSICAL MOOD WITH INDIAN TABLA.
A DESTITUDE 10-YEAR-OLD BOY PLAYS THE CASTAGNETTES.
7 TRIBAL VOICES
Bas: Bo Stief - Vocals: Women from Shilla - Unknown instrument. Tribals from Bastar
DIGITALLY THE MAGIC BASS PLAYER, BO STIEF, IS VISITING FEMALE SINGERS FROM HIMACHAL, VILLAGE
SHILLA, MANIKARAN. THE VILLAGE PEOPLE RESPOND SPONTANEOUSLY BY SINGING:"SOOCE" WHICH MEANS:
"WAKE UP!" THE STRANGE KIND OF SAXOPHONE SOUNDS THAT YOU HEAR WERE PLAYED BY TRIBALS IN THE AREA
OF BASTAR, MP. THIS INSTRUMENT IS MADE OF BAMBOO AND PALM LEAVES.
Vocals: Attila Michi & wandering Ghazal Singers.
ATTILA, A GERMAN ROCK MUSICIAN (TO THE LEFT) SINGS THE DEEP DRONE NOTE. IN THIS VINTAGE TECHNO INSPIRED TRACK. YOU WILL ALSO HEAR GENUINE GHAZAL SINGERS. I MET THESE HAPPY GYPSIES WHEN THEY TRIED TO EARN A
LITTLE MONEY BY SINGING IN HOSHIARPUR, PUNJAB. THEY SING:
"ONLY FEW KNOW THE STREET OF LOVE. I DON´T CARE FOR ANYTHING EXCEPT THIS
STREET." AND YOU WILL NOT KNOW IF THE SONG IS DEDICATED TO GOD OR TO A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.
9 ALONEALLONE - INNERSTANDING THE WU!
Solo flute - Balbir Kumar
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE DANISH SAINT SUNYATA, EMANUEL SØRENSEN, WHO LIVED
MOST OF HIS LIFE IN INDIA. FOR MORE
ALL THE INDIAN MUSICIANS ON THIS CD ARE FROM THE LOWER STRATA OF SOCIETY. NOONE FROM THE ESTABLISHED MUSIC-SCENE CAN PLAY AS HEARTFELT AS THE DESTITUTE B. KUMAR. THIS CD IS DEDICATED TO THESE DEPRIVED ARTISTS WHO INDICATE THE HUGE UNUSED (OR EXPLOITED) POTENTIAL OF THE MASSES OF INDIA. AS LONG AS I MANAGE TO STAY IN CONTACT WITH THESE MUSICIANS THEY WILL GET A SHARE OF THE PROFIT MADE ON THIS CD.
PEOPLE MEET AND SWEET MUSIC ARISES
But the only place the musicians on this CD ever meet is at the electronic crossroads of a computer. And when they hear their own tunes in electronic and westernized rebirth they smile and say: Is this me playing? And actually it is no longer their tune. The themes have been cut into small motives and put together as new post modern melodies including both modal and classical functional harmonic chord-structures. Thus a stronger feeling of the western classical concept of cadenza has been added in the sense that the theme will find a home on a tonic chord (followed by a energetic release).
The Indian musician tends to play his tune without the dynamic force that leads a melody from A to B (and back to ‘home’ to A again). He will play his tune in a way that does not have any particular longing to go anywhere. The movement is from A to A1, ever deeper in the A - here and now - moment.
The Indian tune does not lead to the promised land in the next bar and the next bar like in Beethoven’s music with its great sense of drive and longing for future notes to release and dissolve the energy-tension of the moment.
This CD seeks to unite the eastern timeless vertical and the western time bound horizontal movement.
This is of course not the first project of its kind but it is a contribution to a digital Multi-ethnic platform where one can sit in peace and ease. Anywhere in the tune you can stop and relax. You are free from the search of a future paradise - and yet there is a movement in time, celebrating the fact that you don’t have to go anywhere.
This is for me true meditation. - time free ’innerstanding’