Ajay grew up in North London, England with a variety of musical and cultural influences. Indian parents, Irish neighbours and English friends all having their effect in different ways. Music was a big part of the house he grew up in as it is with all traditional Indian families. There was faith music and folk songs being sung by his parents as well as Bollywood music blasting out from the kitchen stereo. Regular visits to family in India meant pilgrimages to holy sites and a re-enforcement of his cultural awareness of all things Indian. It was as a teenager that Ajay had the life changing experience of discovering Blues greats like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Howling Wolf, and then digging deeper to find the Delta Blues originators like Robert Johnson, Son House and Bukka White.
Ajay has worked with some heavy hitting musicians in the past including Jamiroquai, The Brand New Heavies and Gregory Isaacs just to name a few, throughout all of these encounters it added fuel to his desire to find his own voice. Honing his songwriting and finding the sound he wanted has led him to this brilliant release ' Karmic Blues '.
This album is an amazing blend of all of the above experiences, you just have to listen to ' Six Arm Goddess ' to see where he is going with the whole concept, traditional 12 bar blues meets Indian folk. In India there is a Goddess of music which musicians say is where the inspiration comes from and they give thanks to her for the song or tune that comes forth, in the blues the opposite is the case, blues is referred to as ' the devil's music ', Ajay was very aware of the contradiction when writing this song, it's genius, a real toe tapper with cleverly crafted verses and a hooky chorus, not to mention some amazing arrangements of the instrumentation.
There is a real authenticity to the songs on the release, ' Namaste ' and ' Surya Namaskar ' blending so well with ' Karmic Blues ', ' Between The Cracks ' and the aforementioned ' Six Arm Goddess ' all weaving wonderfully together and at times it all seems like a cosmic journey. There is one track that I am drawn to again and again for the storytelling through song, the accompaniment and message, have a listen to ' Charioteer ' and I defy you not to be taken to a different plain.
' Karmic Blues ' is a very deep spiritual journey, searching for answers about existence, meaning, belonging and begs questions about the never ending riddle of life and the everlasting quest for the future. The album is very tasteful in it's nod towards the different cultures that it embodies, there are some sublime playing of traditional instruments that compliment where Ajay takes the guitar work and lyrics, that's not an easy thing to achieve, but the world he lives in, and is open to, brings a wonderful symbiosis to the end product.
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