A couple of years ago, one of minor YouTube sensations, was the improbable rendition of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five performed by an orchestra of middle aged Pakistani men decked out in white shalwar qamiz (traditional Pakistani attire). When I saw it, my immediate reaction was to giggle. I didn’t really listen that closely, figuring it was some sort of joke. But being a lover of Positive Stories from Pakistan, I stashed it away in the back of my mind.
Recently, I came across another video, with the same group of pot bellied, moustachioed men, accompanying Wynton Marsalis at an European jazz festival. The group, Sachal Orchestra, played South Asian instruments like sitar, sarangi and tabla, as well as western orchestral instruments and seemed completely comfortable with the surroundings. And this time, I listened. The sound was very cool. The tabla, especially, played with gusto, by a Lahori ustad, added a bubbly and lively foundation to the proceedings.
A short time after that I came across this article in the Pakistani magazine, The Herald. Read it!
In short order, I was ordering the Sachal Orchestra’s CD of jazz covers, which I must say is thoroughly enjoyable and fresh. What could so easily have gone way off the tracks, in fact rumbles along very nicely thankyou. Another gorgeous thread in the tangled web of Islam and Jazz!
This article from The Guardian is another nice introduce to the Sachal phenomenon.
01 Take Five
03 Mountain Dance (Raga)
04 Garota De Ipanema
06 Samba De Verao
07 This Guy’s In Love With You
08 Garota De Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema) (Raga)