74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 14, featuring the Dharohar Project

“It’s lovely to be away, but trips like this are good because you get to see just how unknown you are- there are not that many people who care who you are, or what you are doing. It’s good.” -Ben Lovett, of Mumford & Sons

“We love them, they are all so outgoing… which is nice, because we’re all so pathetically english and reserved. They told us, ‘Come to Rajistan, you meet all the musicians, and play with whoever you like’… That’s what good about music, is that you can make anyone feel a part, even if it’s only for a song.” -Laura Marling

In late 2009, British folk artists Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling were sponsored to take part in multi-cultural music collaboration known as the Dharohar Project. The quartet and Ms. Marling spent a week in Rajistan, India, banging together a five song EP and staging multiple live performances with the aid of only two interpreters. As little experience as these young Brits could lay claim to at the time, and with such a limited time, this sounds rather like a recipe for a musical train wreck- not to mention the lack of traditional recording equipment, However, the results are absolutely stunning- courtesy of youtube, we encourage you to take a listen:

This is the studio version of the entire EP:

But the live versions are GOLD:

“Devil’s Spoke” Banjos and turbans. Believe it.

“To Darkness” and  (from 2:43 onward) “Kripa”

The fourth track (‘Amnol Rishtey’) is completely in Indian- but remains undeniably catchy, and charming:

The last track is every bit as great as those preceeding. Laura Marling returns for lead vocal, and the great amount of banjo is icing on the cake:

“People call us folk musicians,” Marling observes, “but these people are the real thing. These songs, and instruments, they learned all this from their parents, and theirs. We are very inexperienced, in comparison.”

You can claim that you didn’t smile once through the entire viewing, but I already know that you did.

74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 13, featuring Crosby, Stills, Nash, (and sometimes Young)

We occasionally feel it our duty to make known the awesomeness of those who may be described as ‘oldies but goodies’.

Here is what may quite possibly be the most popular of their vast catalogue; you have undoubtedly heard it:

(But to be honest I do not think too much of it.
It is my thought that more creedence ought to be given to more fun tracks like ‘Marrakesh Express’)

To my reckoning, though, ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ presents itself as the most remarkable jewel:

74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 12, featuring Punch Brothers

Newgrass! Progressive-minded, multi-instrumental outfits. Basically ‘New Bluegrass’, got it?

Good. 

 Chris Thile began his career in 1994 at age twelve, releasing a surprisingly sturdy bluegrass album that consisted solely of unassisted mandolin interpretations of classic ballads, and has mushroomed into one of the world’s premier mandolin players, accompanying the likes of Doc Watson in live performances. He has led several outfits through his career, (including Nickel Creek), but most recently (and, in our opinion, the best of his endeavors) The Punch Brothers.

   The group formed, roughly, in 2006, and keeps about five members- the most recognizable of which are banjo man Noam Pikelny and fiddle expert Gabe Witcher (who I think has the most amazing name ever. I mean really.)  

The members knew each other proffesionally, as friends of friends within the same genre. The fateful evening came in 2006, when they sat down to jam off the cuff- they knew immediately that they had the right members, but the diverse crowd had a bit of a conundrum with genres: Thile explains that, “I knew I wanted to have a band with Gabe [Witcher]…they knew I wanted to put together a bluegrass band- one with a lot of range- but aesthetically, a bluegrass band.”

And so it began:

‘Dark days’ even made it to the soundtrack of the Hunger Games:

No concern of yours

Paperback writer