The musical traditions and culture of Africa are as wide and varied as the continent itself. Traditional music varies by region as well as by tribe, and it is impossible to give a brief but comprehensive discussion of the music of Africa. However, much traditional African music does share some characteristics. Drums are widely used throughout the continent and are the most representative instrument of Africa. Music and dance traditionally were so much a part of life that they could not be seen as separate from everyday living; in fact, in many cultures there is not even a separate word for music.
The 15 highest mountains in the world are in the Himalayas. In fact the Himalayas are so high that they kept the Indian and Chinese people separate from each other most of the time. The dramatic scenery and spiritual promise of the Himalayas have prompted numerous artists and adventurers to make a pilgrimage to their rugged slopes in search of beauty and inspiration.
A meeting point for Northern India, Ladakh, Tibet, China, Nepal and Bhutan, this mountainous region it home to a wide diversity of peoples and faiths, each with their own musical traditions and styles.
Now take the varied cultural characteristics of both African and Himalayan extraction and mix them into a musical art form. “Afro-Himalayan 01: GanEshou” is musical piece performed in this new-found Afro-Himalayan genre.
This particular style was blended by Oxaï Roura a composer, percussionist, vocalist and researcher in Ethnomusicology. Roura is a world traveller in search of the most disparate musical forms. He has voyaged locally among the sounds of South Africa, Brazil and other parts of South America, Melanesia & Oceania.
Oxaï Roura has taken the rhythmic and harmonic principles from Afro-Himalayan influences and reworked it into a mystical blend of cyclic chants and hypnotic percussion. The uniqueness is infused by what sounds like an electronic synth weaving anxiously between the traditional sound forms.
Don’t expect mundane musical uniformity from this track. Just sit back and allow yourself to be taken on a far-flung esoteric musical experience of rarely sculpted sounds and moods.
For all its inventive ingenious, “Afro-Himalayan 01: GanEshou” has one serious drawback, if you happen to fall in love with it. The piece is less than two minutes long! Whether this is a teaser or a precise track choice can only be explained by Oxaï Roura.
I personally feel that a full length album of this kind of music would probably be even more gratifying. As it would allow Roura to grow and expand his sonic adventure into an intensely hypnotic sound session. Let’s see what the future holds.