“Carnatic workshops and concerts were held at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg. Pure Carnatic concerts were also given in Norrköping and Umeå.
“As an extra bonus my old teacher from Ghana, Senior Master Drummer Doe Kushiator of the Ewe-cult was able to join us for the Swedish concerts. Here we all are during rehearsals before the first concert.”
And that is how Beches Indian Brew was born. With funding from the Swedish cultural institution, Musikverket, who paid for the entire project, which included the Indian and Swedish tours and the stage productions, the results have been captured on this electrifying recording.
Bengt Berger: Beches Indian Brew
is a veritable musical tour de force; a magnum opus that began nearly forty years ago with Bengt Berger’s first visits to India, followed by his ethno-musicological forays into Ghana and Volta. The music on the recording is fueled by the visceral elements of Jazz as well as the raw (and refined) elements of Swedish folkloric music, and the mysterious – and magical – elements of African and Indian music. All of this music is burned in the memory from “Kakraba High Five”, which starts off the proceedings and rises to special heights during four songs: “Dagar, Djur”, “Congo Square”, “Ewe Song” and “Edith”, where two kinds of sounds come together – the mystical and the spiritual, produced in the ether and thus virtually inaudible to the human ear and the physical and audible sounds produced by guitars, woodwinds, brass, reeds, strings, keyboards, percussion – and most of all – the heavenly sound of the voices of the Akkarai Sisters and, of course, Doe Kushiator.
Combining the ancient profoundly meditative modal drones from Indian and African music with the visceral excitement of improvised Jazz, and classical elegance with the whimsical articulation of the Swedish folkloric tradition and avant-garde subversion, Beches Indian Brew has produced a volcanic mélange of unique music played with theatrical tautness and élan, and directed by the inspirational Bengt Berger with a most magical sense of pacing, detail and texture. Rarely, if at all, has such a collision of such disparate music come together with such Wagnerian splendour. One can hardly wait for what is to come from Bengt Berger and Beches Brew – Indian, African or otherwise informed by something equally magnificent.
Track list – 1: Kakraba High Five; 2: Kamelen; 3: Flabby Dick; 4: Dagar, Djur; 5: Congo Square; 6: Doktor Apa-Magma-Vesuvio-Klingis Khan; 7: Ewe Song; 8: Edith
Personnel – Bengt Berger: drums and percussion; Thomas Gustafsson: saxophones; Jonas Knutsson: saxophones; Sir Thomas Jäderlund: saxophones and bass clarinet; Max Schultz: guitar; Göran Klinghagen: guitar; Stefan Bellnäs: bass guitar; Livet Nord: violin; Lise-Lotte Norelius: electro-acoustic keyboards and percussion; Sigge Krantz: bass and engineering; Guests: Akkarai Subhalakshmi and Akkarai Sornalatha: violin and voice; K. U. Jayachandra Rao: mridangam; B. Shree Sundarkumar: khanjira; Doe Kushiator: Ewe drums
Released – 2017
Label – Country & Eastern
Runtime – 1:01:16