After what feels like a long time, I’m excited to be sharing new music with you.
This rendition of afternoon raga Bhimpalasi is the first known collaboration between the 20-stringed Indian slide guitar and the jori:
The jorī traces its origins to the 18th-century dukkar baaj (a style of playing developed around the kettle drums used in folk music) and developed further in the Punjab region of south Asia. The drums gained favor in the royal courts and darbars of maharajas as it was able to effectively accompany a wider array of genres than that of the pakhawaj.
The jorī gave birth to what has now become the most popular form of Hindustani percussion, the tabla. Due to the tabla’s great versatility and popularity, the jorī has declined in popularity during the modern era to the such a rarity that its intricacies are maintained by only a few artists.
Here, the jori is played by one of today’s leading exponents and researchers of the instrument: Jasdeep Singh. Singh has published numerous papers on the history of the drums and their usage (www.jasdeep.co.uk/publications) and also builds the drums himself.
Jasdeep Singh and Joel Veena connected over social media during the end of the year in 2020 and started discussing the possibilities for collaboration. In particular they were inspired by the historic early performances of Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and tabla maestro Sukhvinder Singh ‘Pinky’; one of Jasdeep Singh’s early gurus. With lockdowns still in effect in their respective countries (the UK and USA), Joel and Jasdeep proceeded to produce this track in their own homes, on either side of the globe.
Both artists were pleasantly surprised by the results: thanks to their natural musical affinity for playing together and the benefits of technology, the impact of the deep bass of jori and singing highs of the slide guitar ring true to the tradition of the music and also open doors to new sounds.
“We’re already working on more music together. I feel really blessed that Jasdeep and I became connected. Hopefully by the time concerts are able to start again, we will already have worked out a very unique and special repertoire for jori and Indian slide guitar that we can take to the stage and tour. I can’t wait for you to hear this music in person.”
– Joel Veena
Composition in Bhimpalasi by Pt. Alok Lahiri, arranged by Joel ‘Veena’ Eisenkramer
Jori – Jasdeep Singh
Recorded by Joel Veena & Jasdeep Singh
Mixed by Joel Veena, Root Cellar Sound, Vermont USA
Mastered by Tom Hutten, Bionic Mastering, Vermont USA
Album art by Sumeru Salla, Design & Story