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.

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74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 7, featuring a collaboration on “The Water”

You may have previously come upon the knowledge that the London-based folksters Johnny Flynn, Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale, and Mumford & Sons are all very well acquainted. (it should be noted, that curiously enough, they collectively abhor being called the founding fathers of a new-born folk “scene”. Hipsters.) But back on topic.

As with most well acquainted music enthusiasts, collaborations abound.

Thus, we thought it fit to get your opinion on a much debated issue: A few years hence, Johnny Flynn released a song called “The Water” on his album, ‘Been Listening’.

The song features the ghostly beauty of Laura Marling’s harmonies, setting the song off quite well. MadaLin prefers the Marling-Flynn collab. (She says the mixed vocals are the ticket.)

But wait! A collaboration was done by Mumford and Sons’ frontman Marcus Mumford that I (Nicole) find to be ever-so-slightly superior.  (Perhaps due to Mr. Mumford’s mandolin abilities?)

So what do you think, dear reader?

Additionally:

We give you a truce- Here Laura Marling collaborates with Mumford & Sons to bring you a totally boss cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. I personally think that Winston OWNS the steel guitar with the best of them:

And last but not least, may I present to you what may possibly be the most awesome thing ever to be captured on film:

74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 4, featuring Laura Marling

I don’t enjoy putting people into boxes. (Often it is a frustrating process, because truthfully everyone belongs in a different box.) But even if I DID like boxes, I would have a difficult time finding one for Laura Marling. Hailing from Jane Austen’s hometown, she got her start only five years ago, working her way through the musical food chain by playing an endless list of venues. She is precocious without being pretentious, quiet without being bashful, and she demonstrates startlingly innocent wisdom; undeniable sense of knowing: knowing the perfect parameters in which to place a song, knowing how to embellish in the beauty of simplicity, knowing how to communicate feelings as well as images. Her skill as a songwriter, vocalist and instrumentalist are not all that notable, though they are deeply delightful. No, Laura possesses something far more rare (and far more desirable) than a gorgeous voice. She is perfectly reminiscent of Harper Lee. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a book that continually astounds me, for it is so innocently wise, so simple but lacking nought. It walks unaffected into the soul, reporting that all found there with a childlike lack of effort to justify or explain. A rarity in all its honest, raw beauty. A treasure.

Alas, I cannot swim

Hope in the Air

Blackberry Stone

Devil’s Spoke

So what do you think? What box does Ms Marling belong to?