What does rajasthani music have in common with the blues? According to record label Amarrass’ co-founder Ankur Malhotra, it’s more about the emotion than anything else. He points out when veteran sarangi artist and vocalist Lakha Khan sings “Dardaan di Maari Dilri Aledi,” it’s blues. “He’s full of pain. [It’s] a man singing in praise of the gods, but also you can hear his lament,” Malhotra says over a video call.
Whether it’s stories of a married woman’s laments of things she’d left behind at her father’s home or other human experiences, Amarrass co-founder Ashutosh Sharma was going village to village, tracking a lot of these traditional songs out in Rajasthan. Sharma says, “You’d go into each village… even if they’re singing the same song, that guy had his own blues, it’s his rendition. What he gave to that song was completely different from the next village. In more than one way, you’re going down the Delta, similar to how one would find blues musicians along the Mississippi Delta.”
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