Description of the music
hara samadhi – cosmopolitan electro jazz
hara samadhi play a mixture of groovy beats, electronic sounds, Indian ragas and jazzy improvisations
We combine traditional Indian concepts (ragas and talas) with structures of European club music (hooks and beats) and enhance natural accustic playing styles by means of electronic sound production. Carried by the rhythmical pulse elaborate melodies encounter improvisations, take turns and interweave.
The Indian melody whose audio material is defined in raga does concentrate entirely on one principal mood, a sensation, and dwells and widens it. In combination with the tala - the well-arranged recurring rhythmic cycle - an intense often magical impact sets in.
In this there are marked parallels to European club music that frequently strives for hypnotic moods and a collective experience by employing catchy melodies (hooks), sweeping sound creations (ambience) and the repetition of compelling rhythmical elements.
hara samadhi build the bridge between traditional Indian and modern European musical culture by use of tabla coupled with beats, Indian melodies interpreted on electric violins and improvised passages, a component inherent in both musical cultures.
We do complement this rhythmic and sound construct evolving from the music with yet another essential element of Indian musical tradition for which it is almost crying out: dance.
„Cosmopolitan electro jazz“ we call our style and thereby express our passion for electronic sounds, our enthusiasm for composed as much as for improvised music along with an open-minded attitude in cultural and societal matters.
On completing my university degree in jazz violine I [Alexander Meyen] undertook several journeys to the Indian cultural sphere. Periods of intense learning as well as on and off-stage encounters with Indian, Afghan and Pakistani musicians injected more and more of the Indian violin style, its special tuning patterns and playing style, a different phrasing and knowledge of Indian ragas and talas into my music.
Following several changes to formations and many musical developments over the past years I have been working at a new style with the musician and producer Ralf Weifenbach since 2017
In a joint effort with the Indian tabla virtuoso Debasish Bhattacharjee and the dancer Vaishu Vaidyanathan we are devising sound aesthetics, forms of expression and representation that are as modern as they are original.
The dance performances are narrating individual stories through motion and pantomime and are based on ancient Indian myths as well as surreal-grotesque imagery.
The name of the band is derived from the meaning of the Indian terms hara and samadhi. Hara is a place of strength, of intuitive conduct and resting equanimity. Samadhi is about immersing is about gathering oneself.
Featuring - Tabla and dance are essential components of the traditional music of India. At our concerts we integrate the tabla virtuoso Debasish Bhattacharjee from Calcutta and the dancer Vaishu Vaidyanathan from Mysore. Both feel at home in the Indian traditions, but equally open to European influences and playing styles. - Debasish Bhattacharjee is the founder and director of the Indian Academy Anubhab in Cologne and a tabla teacher. - Vaishu Vaidyanathan is both a teacher and dancer of the South Indian dance Bharatanatyam. Among the many regional Indian dances, Bharatanatyam, the classical Indian dance, is best known. This form of solo dance comes from the Tamil Nadu region and is now popular throughout the country.
History of the - hara samadhi has a story... - The evolution of hara samadhi took place in different phases. - At first there was only the violin, the tabla, some electronic loops and some small concerts in India alongside Debasish Bhattacharjee (tabla). - That time was special to me. It was a time of intensive learning where I met many Indian, Afghan and Pakistani musicians, both on stage and privately. - The sound of the Indian violin, its alternate string tuning and playing technique, a different phrasing and the knowledge about Indian raga permeated my compositions and my musical expression. - The following phase of the band's development was marked by instrumentation and the membership expansion to include someone on the violin, double bass and percussion. In addition, Indian guest musicians (sitar, tabla, bansuri, dance), who were on European tours at the time, were occasionally included in concerts. Not only was there a reunion with Indian friends, but also an opportunity to meet new Indian musicians. - The subsequent phase of the band's history began with a new cast and the integration of Cologne jazz musicians. The electronic element took a back seat, jazz improvisations and virtuosity came to the foreground. The music developed towards jazz and world music. - The next phase of hara samadhi is the present and the future. - Sometimes life has mysterious ways. Ralf and I went to the same school, a time when we both knew of each other but had no personal relationship to each other. Then we studied at the same university but at different times and again did not meet. In Cologne we had short musical moments of contact in other musicians projects, but then I was drawn to India to find new inspiration, while Ralf was on the road in Canada. So long were we living side by side but in different worlds until at last we started working to renew hara samadhi music together last autumn. Our project name hara samadhi took on a whole new meaning during this time, and describes exactly how we work. We have deepened into already long existing compositions in order to transform them into a modern arrangement of sounds. We questioned every note, tried, arranged, programmed, improvised. - Now, once again, we set off for new shores, to combine the knowledge and skills of the past with the most modern world of sounds and methods of playing them... - Tabla, beats and dance often become one. The microcosmic web of sounds from tabla and electronic beats demand movement, expression, even in artistic dance.