Back From India, New Projects Ahead
I am back from India, cooling my heels in beautifully autumnal Minneapolis, so thankful for some cool air! I’m staying in Minneapolis and taking it easy (i.e. no gigs on the horizon) to work up some new material and begin a new musical project. Not much to say about the new project yet, except that it includes myself, Lindsay McCaw, and Ben Belcher and we are taking the name from our India band, The Corn Potatos. We are the eyes and ears of America. The so-far-pretty-empty FB page is here We are playing the best songs from the old times of string band hoedowns, ballads, rags, blues and swing. Expect some rare old novelty songs as well.
Aaand I just got us our first gig in Minneapolis! It will be Sunday, October 13 at the Icehousefor their brunch, 11am-2pm. No cover, great food and drinks, and our first gig as the Corn Potato Trio!
I won’t bore you in this email with all the details of my India trip. Instead, I have posted a lightly edited version of our tour journal to my website, in the news section. You can see it here or just scroll down if you’re already on the website. I will say that it was an incredible privilege to be able to travel to India and meet with some of the country’s finest musicians, folk and classical, including encounters/jams/lessons with ektara- and dotara-playing Bauls, sarangi-playing Langas, ravanhatta-playing Bhopal Sugna, riverboat-man song singer Saurav Moni, classical Hindustani sitar player Gaurav Mazumdar and sarod player Basant Kabra, and bluegrass-mandolin-playing Diptanshu Roy, just to name a few. The worst part was that we never had enough time with these amazing people. The climate was hard for me, too. It was very hot and humid until our last few days in India. The crowds and noise and smells were all very intense, and few people understood our English as well as we had hoped. (They speak another kind of English in India, and in fact Indian English is the most widely spoken in the world…) The food was amazing, and the overall hospitality we encountered was incredible. So, feel free to skim the tour journal. Also, here’s a video I found from our last Corn Potato performance in India, at the American Center in Kolkata with Bauls and Indian folk fusion all stars. It’s half an hour long so feel free to skim through it as well. It’ll give you a little taste of some of what we were doing. Here it is
Right before I left for India I also left Nora Jane and the Party Line. I may still play with them here and there but it’s likely you’ll hear about shows I’m playing with various other bands in the future.
Last of all, I’ve been reading the Arabian Nights and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, because that’s what I could find in India. I’m also reading a very interesting book about Rajasthani folk culture that was written by Komal Kothari, the founder of the Desert Museum in Jodhpur, which I visited. His son, Kuldeep, was so kind and generous to me and connected me with many wonderful folk musicians in the region.