The sounds of Eastern instruments, their softness and intensity, have always amazed me. Hypnotized me! When I arrived in Kathmandu, I shared the stage with South Asian Eastern players for the first time. An eagerness to play more and more with them welled up inside me. Their sound, their way of communicating, their scales and rhythm structure all sounded so complicated and at the same time so familiar. It seemed I had already heard and been a part of their music. Eventually I understood why. I realized that many years prior I had researched and written on the beginnings of Flamenco music, all the way back to Rajasthan, India, the part of the world where my own path in life had taken me.
I started practicing with some of these musicians and learning their art; the idea of creating a fusion of my personal musical background with these sounds started flowing in my head. After opening the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory and the Katjazz Recording Studio, it was a bit easier to put the sound I had in my head together because I had a place to practice and record.
Thaís Por Tangos is the result of this experiment: a mixture of Western and Eastern instruments and sounds; a fusion of musical concepts and experiences of each of the band’s members.
In 2009 we had the opportunity to take this group on a tour to Finland; and everything fell into place. It’s taken a long time to put this recording on the right track. We’ve struggled to get, in the studio, the energy we have playing live. As the great Billie Holiday put it: “People don’t understand the kind of fight it takes to record what you want to record the way you want to record it.”
In Sanskrit, Urja means energy, power, life. UrJazz describes who we are – a fusion of what we know, of our lives, of our cultures, of our friendships.