Mishra – The Loft Tapes

Album Review | Hudson Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

There’s at least two ways of understanding the music of Mishra, the obvious way being to hear the songs ant tunes on this album, the other way being to see them in the flesh. For a backstage radio session at this summer’s Cambridge Folk Festival for instance, the four-piece outfit appeared to take the traditional pose of such notable musicians as Ravi Shankar and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, by sitting cross-legged in a slight crescent shape, performing with such instruments as the Tabla and Calabash as well as the more Western derived banjo, bouzouki and whistles.

Born out of the duo of Kate Griffin and Ford Collier, Mishra sees the two musicians joined by Joss Mann-Hazell on bouzouki and double bass and John Ball on Tabla, whose role is a little like that of Garth Hudson of The Band fame, that of a teacher, his experience in Indian Classical music being crucial to Mishra’s development.  On The Loft Tapes, the musicians take their Eastern-flavoured music to new areas as they interweave American and their own British roots influences into the mix, notably on “Road Dust and Honey” and “Taru”, together with the instrumentals such as “Jog for Joy”, whilst also including an inventive take on Gillian Welch’s “Scarlet Town”.

Choice Track: “Chase the Sparrowhawk” (NSV 490)