Der Blues-Meister feiert einen stilechten Abschied von Hawaii.
Zwölf Jahre lebte Taj Mahal auf Hawaii, bevor er 1996 zurück nach Los Angeles zog. Dass ihm diese Entscheidung nicht leicht fiel, steht zwischen den Zeilen seines "Hula Blues"Projektes.
Dabei ist die Annäherung an andere kulturelle Traditionen für Taj Mahal nichts Neues. In jüngerer Zeit war er an diversen "crosskulturellen" Projekten beteiligt: es gab Begegnungen mit dem Westafrikaner Ali Farka Toure, dem Inder Vishwa Mohan Bhat und anderen.
Sechs der acht Mitmusiker auf "And The Hula Blues" stammen von Hawaii, das Instrumentarium ist typisch hawaiianisch: verschiedene Ukulelen, Slack-Keygitarre und hawaiianische Steel-Gitarre. Der besondere Geist schwingt in jedem Titel mit. Natürlich durfte auch einer der vielen MahalKlassiker - in diesem Falle der "Mailbox Blues" - nicht fehlen. Geradezu entrückt gleitet die Band durch das Instrumental "Sacred Island", während "The Calypsonians" oder "Coconut Man" feingesponnene PopQualitäten aufweisen.
Der "Hula Blues" à la Mahal - ein Höhepunkt in Taj Mahals üppiger Diskographie.
Biographie der Mitwirkenden
Taj Mahal has always been fascinated and moved by Hawaiian Music. 58 year old Mahal recalls that even as a child he felt draw to the hawaiian sounds. During his years on Kauai he was able to immerse himself in the music, make contact and strike up friendships with hawaiian musicians, for whom making music is an inseparable aspect of social life: a fertile breeding ground for the "Hula Blues" project, which took on form at a much later stage, as a "homecoming party" with old friends, so to speak.
It is nothing new for Taj Mahal to approach other cultural traditions. Quite the contrary. Even though he tends to find himself categorized as a blues man, this does not do his complex and unique musical persona justice. At an early stage in his career he began fusing Jazz, Funk and Soul into his singular blues style. Later on he incorporated Reggae and Calypso into his individual brand of Roots - Music. In recent years he has been working on crosscultural projects with musicians as diverse as the West African Ali Farka Toure and India's Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. For this "musical banquet" (Mahal) he selected a group of old friends and fellow travellers. Six of the eight band members were born and raised in Hawaii and still make their home on the islands. During his Kauai years Mahal enjoyed countless jam sessions with these musicians in venues ranging from his back porch to stage theaters. They mainly play typical hawaiian instruments: diverse Ukeleles, Slack Key Guitar and Hawaiian Steel Guitar.
Taj met ukelele player Michail Barretto while they were both enjoying one of their favorite pastimes, fishing ("The rest is history..." says Barretto with a wink). Barretto is a trained computer programmer and a playwright. Wayne Jacintho is a painter/sculptor who does not see himself as a professional musician - an understanding he has in common with many hawaiians who were brought up surrounded by music. Pat Cockett, Poncho Graham, Carlos Andrade (lead vocalist on the atmospheric "No Ná Mamo") and Fred Lunt have been playing together for years as menbers of "Napali" one of Hawaiis top bands. Drummer Kester Smith (born in Grenada and raised in Trinidad) and reed man/multiinstrumentalist Rudy Costa were already vital members of Mahal's "International Rhythm Band" and the "Intergalactic Soul Messengers Band" in the seventies.
"A cultural blend of joy, love and harmony" - that is how Taj Mahal sums up those fruitful days in the idyllic studio in Kauai, in the course of which the "Hula Blues" band developed an unmistakable, individual and organic sound. The vibrant spirit of this meeting is abundant in every song. With effortless abandon the band plays a Mahal classic, "Mailbox Blues", a beautifully flowing instrumental, "Sacred Island" and a couple of songs "The Calypsonians", "Coconut Man", with subtle pop potential. The groovy Mélange of "Hula Blues" ranges from the festive to the s