Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

Jamming in New Delhi, India at Turquoise Cottage

October 25, 2012
bradspurgeon

delhi india open mic

delhi india open mic

It is a running theme of this blog that I hope no one gets bored of hearing. But last night again proved to me the wisdom of pushing oneself to personal limits in order to achieve goals and dreams. Of course, it is quite small, just a day-to-day kind of achievement. But last night after a full day trying to work writing articles after having only two hours sleep over Tuesday night, I had the sudden opportunity to go play in an open mic, open jam in Delhi, and despite my exhaustion, I went. Am I ever glad I did….

Last year I had managed to book a full gig in advance at the TLR bar in Delhi on the Thursday night, and I ended up meeting a musician there who invited me to his open mic the following night at a different venue. This year I made no plans, and the TLR already has some bands lined up, and the other venue no longer exists. So I wrote a message to my friend who invited me to his open mic to ask if he knew of anywhere to play this weekend.

The response came almost immediately, and it was for an open mic at a place called Turquoise Cottage. It turns out that the bar has hosted this open mic for around seven years, and gives it the name “The Rabbit Hole Sessions.” I was exhausted, but the Facebook announcement looked so enticing – open to all musicians “including amateurs” – that I thought I just had to go. It seemed lunatic with the fatigue I was undergoing, especially since the trip over meant taking two metros and an auto-rickshaw.

But I went, and I could see from the moment I arrived that I had made the right decision. As I entered, a huge group of 16 musicians was setting up and doing a sound check, but other musicians stood around with guitars to do solo performances, and I was immediately asked by an organizer if I wanted to play.

Of course I immediately said “yes,” and then I went and ordered the most amazing dish of rice, shrimp, chicken and various spices. My only disappointment was that the place does not serve Indian food, but mostly Indonesian and Malay and other such things. But the food was fabulous.

The sound system was superb, the room was full of posters, guitars on the wall, high ceiling in front of the stage, even an old motorcycle. And it was filled with people of all ages. The massive band was the biggest I have ever seen at an open mic. It was superb, and as it turned out, this was the band’s first public performance.

Based in Delhi, the band calls itself the World Folk Ensemble, and is made up of drummers, guitarist, violin players, vocalists, a bass player, flute players…. As you can hear in their presentation of their first song, their approach is to play folk music from around the world. Last night they did tunes from Sweden, Estonia, France, India and elsewhere. A very impressive debut.

And thank goodness I finished my rice quickly enough to play before them. I’d have been dwarfed by their ensemble had I played just afterwards. But play I did, the reception was great, and I managed to take in most of the evening before leaving around midnight as the jam session opened up into the traditional blues kind of thing, and I got back for a good night’s sleep after all – dropping off like a lead weight and not waking until morning…. It was the sort of experience I’d have been mad to miss, and had I given in to my lazy urges, I would have….


2 Comments

  1. Hey Thanks a lot brother of posting our video and also great lines about our WORLD FOLK ENSEMBLE…..It was a pleasure meeting with you and hope we will meet soon again…..also i am glad that you liked our ensemble and you gave a space to our ensemble in your Blog…….My Name is Sachin Rohilla and i plays the Indian Classical Violin….you saw me playing and announcing in World Folk Ensemble.

    +91-9873091974 Is my No and whenever you feel to call and meet with our ensemble do call us.

    Regards,
    Sachin Rohilla

    • The thanks is mine to you, Sachin, I really enjoyed the music, and it was a unique experience for me in all the open mics I have attended. I am only in Delhi until Wednesday, but perhaps we will cross paths again? Thanks again.
      Brad

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