Desert sounds on a flute

Like thousands of other victims, the savage Gujarat earthquake of 2001 left the autorickshaw driver Noor Mohammed Sodha unemployed. Living in Dholavira, a tiny hamlet in Kutch (just 25 kms from the Pakistan border), Sodha decided to try his hand at music. He picked the Jodiya Pawa also known as Algoza, a musical instrument that comprises two flutes that are played simultaneously. While one plays a constant drone, the other helps improvise on the tune.

Noor Mohammed Sodha plays Jodiya Pawa. Pics courtesy/Priyank Nandwana

Native to the regions of Kutch, Rajasthan and parts of Pakistan, playing this instrument involves mastering the practice of circular breathing. Now, after more than a decade of practice, Sodha is one of the major Jodiya Pawa players in Kutch, and has even played a track with AR Rahman.

Root realities
If you’re piqued about what these notes sound like, World Music band, Maati Baani will be collaborating with Sodha and another Kutch-based artiste, Mooralala Marwada, for a performance at blueFROG. While Sodha will work his magic with Jodiya Pawa, Marwada will render Sufi and Folk tracks from the desert. “When you listen to the Jodiya Pawa, you’re immediately reminded of open plains, women in colourful clothes and honest smiles,” informs Hindustani vocalist, Nirali Kartik, who along with composer/producer Kartik Shah formed Maati Baani. The Mumbai-based duo collaborates with diverse musicians from across the world, to produce original music over the Internet. Fusing Hindustani Classical and Folk with different Western genres like Jazz, Blues and Electro, Maati Baani has collaborated with artistes like Superwoman (Canada), Mame Khan (Jaisalmer) and Joyshanti (Paris) among others, in the past.
They had also collaborated with Marwada for the Folk song, Banjara, and Sodha for Boondan Boondan; they’ve played live sets with them at NH7 Weekender and IIT-Delhi’s annual festival. These two renditions will also be part of tonight’s performance. “We will also be performing two unreleased songs. It amazes us that even when these artistes don’t speak the language of our music, they can manage an uncanny connect with different kind of the audiences,” reveals Kartik.

(From left) Noor Mohammed Sodha, Mooralala Marwada, Nirali Kartik and Kartik Shah of Maati Baani, Akshat Parikh, Crosby Fernandes and Gaurang Desai

A flute salute
Apart from the Kutch artistes, four other musicians will also collaborate with Maati Baani for this show. These include Akshat Parikh (vocals), Crosby Fernandes (Bass), Gaurang Desai (percussions) as well as Tejas Vinchurkar, a wood wind instrument player who will be playing flutes made out of sketch pens, PVC pipes as well as straws. Boombay Djembe Folas, an energetic group of drummers will be the opening act for the evening.

On Today, 10 pm to 1 am
At Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Call 61586158
Cost `350 (entry), `1,000 (full cover 10 pm onwards)

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