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 6, featuring Johnny Flynn

We bring to your attention this week a young folkster by name of Johnny Flynn. Actor, poet, singer songwriter. Had he lived in the time of the Tudors, I must believe that he would have been an itinerant bard…like a pied piper, but without all the death. He is an old soul, with a young face. Like the Doctor. Fiddler, guitarist, banjo player. Complete rennaissance man. Genius, as well? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

“Barnacled Warship”

“Tickle me pink”, featuring his sister on guest vocals.

“Brown Trout Blues” (I almost neglected to mention that he was British. Though I suppose the fact that he played a gig in muddy “wellies” made that rather obvious?)

BONUS: Eyeless in Holloway (the first to name the familiar face playing back-up guitar gets a piece of candy! Additionally, I apologize for the poor quality. What would we do without bootlegs, though?)

TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR A SPECIAL COLLABORATION POST FEATURING OUR THREE MOST RECENTLY FEATURED ARTISTS!

74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 5, featuring Mumford & Sons

All hail Mumford and Sons, London based roots-inspired quartet:

“We’re not bashful about being inspired by good writers, good literature… 0bviously, because we named our first album after a line from Shakespeare, ha!…. but I think good writers have ALWAYS been inspired by good writers, so there’s no shame in that. It’s always worked that way, you know… not that we claim to be a good writers.” – Marcus Mumford, lead vocalist/lead guitarist/drummer

“Music IS live, music has ALWAYS been live…playing WITH people, FOR people, it’s the most electrifying experience I’ve ever known.” -Winston Marshall, Banjo & Dobro player, back-up vocals

“Playing live? we could never give it up. It feels hereditary, it’s in our blood somehow, we really love it. We’re a bit odd in that way, loving to tour so well.” – Ben Lovett, keyboards, accordian and back-up vocals

“Our aspirations were really UK based… we really never thought beyond that, never expected it. It happened gradually, but it’s been amazing.” – Ted Dwayne, bass and back-up vocals

The group debuted in 2009 with the “Sigh no more” album, of which this is the title track:

“Awake My Soul” (Nicole’s favorite)

“Thistle and Weeds” (MadaLin’s Favorite)

The following selections are from the much-anticipated second album, 2012’s “Babel”:

“Hopeless Wanderer” (we both love this one!)

* In particular instances, we feel it prudent to include a parental guide: the Mumford and Sons song catalogue includes two certain tunes by the names of “Little Lion Man”, and “Broken Crown” which include swear words. We do not listen to songs of this type, and think it helpful to alert like-minded music lovers of this fact.

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?