Some genres merely describe the type of music found within – pop-punk, afro-beat, hardcore – they pretty much do what they say on the label. But others are more about the vibe or essence of the music. Soul is undoubtedly such a musical label, but none is more emotive than the term Blues. Blues is a feeling, a state of mind, an attitude, an outlook, which means that it is not the instruments used, the style adopted, or even how or what you play which makes blues what it is, but how you make the listener feel.
And if most people’s idea of blues is of aging African Americans in ill-fitting suits, drawing mournful chords out of a battered acoustic guitar, Mahamaya Experience shatters such perceptions.
Here, using the trademark blend of sitar and understated, hypnotic beats, a similar sense of pathos and perhaps even melancholy is evoked. But if Western blues is generally small stories of individual hardship, in the hands of Ranjit Makkuni, it becomes about awakening and a cosmic search for betterment, learning, healing, and connection, in those brief years between us rising from nothingness and inevitably returning to it.
The music might be melancholic to some degree, but only in a self-reflective way, a way that makes you think more profoundly about the world around you. If Western blues is perhaps based on the idea of charting how far a human can fall, this Cosmic Eastern Blues, for want of a better term, is all about how high we can rise if we just put our mind, our heart and our soul to the task.