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TENDER IN LAHORE

by Tenderlonious

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1.
Impressions 08:34
2.
Kirwani 04:32
3.

about

Like most of us, Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne has had to overcome troubles in life. Music however has always been a guiding light leading him onto the right path. It was whilst in his darkest place that he taught himself to play the soprano saxophone; bringing much needed focus and discipline back into his life. Much like his musical heroes John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef - who were both inspired by eastern spiritualism and the deep tradition of Indian classical music - Ed has always been searching for something different and much deeper.
The seeds for a young Tender to embark on this musical path were planted during his father’s secondments to the East as a Ghurkha Officer. However it was after hearing the North Indian Classical flautist Ronu Majumdar’s ‘Raga Mangal Bhairav’ that Tender knew this was a musical style that he had to explore.

Ironically it was in a grimy London pub, after a few too many beers that the reality of this record started to come to life. Whilst reminiscing about previous musical journeys in Poland we were reminded of an instrumental quartet from Pakistan - Jaubi. We later discovered that Jaubi is an Urdu word for “whatever/whoever”. Creating whatever sounds good, with whoever feels good, is the groups guiding principle - a vibe we could relate to. Drinks continued to flow and we further explored the idea of a trip to Lahore in Pakistan, where the band resides.

That evening after getting home from the pub, we told our families and friends that we were planning to go to Lahore and record an album with Jaubi. We were met with heavy resistance from family and government travel advice. Our families and friends regularly fed us articles about why it is dangerous to travel to Pakistan due to the risk of terrorism, kidnappings, tropical diseases, etc. - the list was endless. The Pakistani embassy also showed resistance by rejecting our visas. Twice. The project felt destined for failure, however we persevered with the Lahore dream. We learned not to believe everything people tell you. This was more than a musical quest now - it was about breaking down cultural misconceptions.

Through many hours of hard work and planning we arrived in Lahore on the 9th of April 2019, greeted with nothing but love and humility. Lahore is something special; full of positivity, care and hope. It was, thankfully, all a stark contrast to the negativity we heard about Pakistan before arriving. It was not long into the first day and that first studio session that we realised this trip would be a real awakening. Nothing whatsoever was written down during the recording sessions - no sheet music, no song titles. It was sincere. All egos were left behind and hearts and souls were open and poured into the music.

‘Impressions’ is a pure raga (Raga Ba Khizer), the taala (rhythmic cycle) is Ektaal (12 beat cycle). It is similar to the raga that Tender first heard Ronu Majumdar play. This beautiful scale, that Tender would often practice back home, becomes the musical framework for rich improvisations. Joined by Zohaib Hassan Khan on the stringed instrument called sarangi - Zohaib is a 7th generation sarangi maestro and one of only 5 professional sarangi players left in Pakistan practicing this ancient art form. Kashif Ali Dhani provides the stunning backdrop on tabla, weaving in and out of complex rhythmic patterns.

‘Kirwani’ is composed by Dhani and is based on a raga that resembles the harmonic minor scale in western music, whilst ‘Shalamar Gardens’ provides a peaceful moment for reflection with Tender on soprano sax and Dhani on vocals.

These three ragas serve as just a small taster for the recording sessions during our time in Lahore. The fruits of these sessions will be found on a new Jaubi album entitled ‘Nafs At Peace’, which is set for release on Astigmatic Records later this year… Inshallah

credits

released June 5, 2020

‘Tender in Lahore’ features:
Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne; flute & soprano sax
members of Jaubi:

Kashif Ali Dhani; tabla & vocals

Zohaib Hassan Khan; sarangi

also featuring:
Marek Pędziwiatr; synth drone

Recorded at Riot Studios, Lahore
Mixed by Rhys Downing

Executive Producer; Dennis Ayler
Words by Oliver Reeves
Photograph by Sebastian Jóźwiak

Special thanks to:
Ali Riaz Baqar, Łukasz Wojciechowski, Uzma Rao, Farad Human & Khalid Salimi

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