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DJ Baba G

It's not often that one meets the creator of a whole genre of music. Who created acid jazz? Or Delta blues? But when one searches for the genesis of Goa Trance, one need look no further than Baba G. The classic arrangement of tabla, sitar, and turntables was his inspiration alone, an inspiration that made him a legend in Indian music by the time he was 15. If one could capture the movement of the spheres it might sound much like the Goa Trance that Baba G has created, and infused with his laughter and enlightenment. To hear Baba G is to hear a slice of human history, as old as the millennia, y ...read more

It's not often that one meets the creator of a whole genre of music. Who created acid jazz? Or Delta blues? But when one searches for the genesis of Goa Trance, one need look no further than Baba G. The classic arrangement of tabla, sitar, and turntables was his inspiration alone, an inspiration that made him a legend in Indian music by the time he was 15. If one could capture the movement of the spheres it might sound much like the Goa Trance that Baba G has created, and infused with his laughter and enlightenment. To hear Baba G is to hear a slice of human history, as old as the millennia, yet still vital and dynamic. Moving frequently between his family in Goa and serving as an apprentice cook for the monks of Daramsala Temple, the young Baba G grew up transitioning between the secular and sacred worlds. This would become a major inspiration, as he searched for ways to combine the bliss of the temple with the vibrant immediacy of his family and friends. The connection was music. Equally familiar with religious music such as the Sufi qawwali and the dance music played at clubs and parties, Baba G realized they were trying to achieve the same thing. "In its purest form, music is about connection," says Baba G. "Whether it's with friends, a lover, God, or the universe, the connection is what's most important, the call and response of existence." Baba G began to experiment, combining his turntable skills with traditional Indian music, first through recordings, then with live musicians. Although he was a decade younger than most of his accompanists, they recognized in him a gift that rendered seniority obsolete. "These people were not used to working with what they might have considered a child," says Baba. "But they knew this music would touch audiences--it was as if we were about to deliver food and fresh drink to the hungry masses." Baba G called the new music Goa trance, out of respect for his home province and the spiritual awareness of Daramsala, and began showcasing the music at small, informal "Electric Lotus" parties. The results were immediate and dramatic. Almost completely by word of mouth, news of his music spread, and before long, the small parties grew to massive events, attracting ten to fifteen thousand celebrants. "I remember once, my friends were whispering to me "John Lennon is here! John Lennon is here!' and I shrugged and asked 'who's John Lennon?'" Goa trance blended the unrelenting energy of the turntables with the subtle intricacies gleaned from a thousand years of qawwali tradition. Baba G smiles. "My music connects the listener with the universe. In the beginning was sound, and the through Goa trance, the listener connects with this primal sound." With his restaurant, Baba G would have been content. But fate is funny, and Baba G found himself being re-awakened by connections with his customers, just as his music had awakened thousands before. "There are so many creative people in Los Angeles, and the energy is infectious. My customers inspired me, and after a talk with one of them, a beautiful young lady, I found I still had the desire to make music." A major event in Baba G's life happened in 1993 when he met qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Though Baba G had long been out of the public eye, his reputation had survived, and Nusrat said "I really want to work with you." Baba G produced some of Nusrat's recordings and played with him in 1995 at the LA House of Blues, one of the last performances of the legendary "Voice of Heaven's" life. After Nusrat's passing, Baba G continued working with his cousins Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Badar Ali Khan. His work returned Baba G to his rightful place as one of music's most eclectic visionaries, and he began collaborating with the likes of Peter Gabriel and Eddie Vedder. He also appears frequently with critically acclaimed violinist/diva Lili Haydn. Among his most ardent supporters is Harvey Klein, the president of Reprise Records, on whose parent company, Warner Brothers, will be distributing Baba G's forthcoming CD. In addition to his work as a musician and producer, Baba G preserves the humanity and philosophy expounded by the monks of Daramsala. He has produced benefit concerts, most recently Aftershock, which featured Lauryn Hill, Luther Vandross, Marc Anthony, and Anoushka Shankar , with all proceeds going to aid the earthquake victims of India and El Salvador. For all his success, Baba G is surprisingly warm and humble, emanating hospitality and a playful sense of humor. On one of Rahat's albums, rather than liner notes, Baba has inserted recipes for some of his Electric Lotus dishes. He shrugs, "Cooking and music are both very spiritual and very healing." He has an easy manner about him, and displays a centeredness that is unswayed by reputation or mere accomplishment. "Life is like the ocean. You can gather it by the spoon. If you desire more, you can get a cup. But if you really want to experience its essence, you have no other choice, but to dive in. « hide


Electric Lotus
2002

4
1 Votes

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