"No brass band? No wedding!!!"
Interview with Hameed Khan – Director of Jaipur Kawa
Brass Band and Musafir
After a great opening performance at the Ballroom stage we
spoke with Hameed Khan who is the director of the colourful
Rajasthani bands Jaipur Kawa Brass Band and Musafir. During
the concert Hameed went so crazy in his tabla solo that his
turban fell off. We interview him in the backstage area, while
techno beats from the Metropol scene thunder in the background.
"When you have played at Roskilde Festival you will
never forget it again", Hameed starts, still moved by
the great response from the audience.
"I really mean that I never have seen a public like this
one. Roskilde has its own feeling. Already after 10 minutes
people shout, are happy, and get into the music."
"I find the public here at Roskilde very sensible. Even
if we play a slow clarinet piece, they really pay attention
to what is going on. People are very open-minded here, and
I know that, because this is my second concert here. First
time was with Indian group Musafir, for which I am also director,
and that was a great experience too. As for me I never feel
I am playing at a rock festival, I feel I play at a festival
where people really love music. I felt today that the people
were moving. Like they were feeling the movement of life."
The idea of an Indian brass band may sound odd to westerners.
It was the British colonizers that brought the instruments
to India, and Hameed tells us that the history of brass bands
in India is very influenced by the British politics. During
the colonisation it was a tough time for the horn blowers.
For instance, they didn’t have the right to play on
the streets. The music that was allowed was the holy songs,
and in general it was only allowed to play for the royal people,
the kings and the British. You couldn’t make any events
or any fun. Then they started playing in the street for the
common people, especially at weddings. And, as Hameed says:
"if there is no brass band, there is no marriage".
"Our repertoire is a mix of everything", Hameed
explains. "Some of the songs come from Bollywood films,
some we compose ourselves and others are based on classical
music. Our music is full of improvisations, and especially
the drumming in Jaipur Kawa Brass Band is an Indian invention.
In India we love the drums – the rhythm. In Europe they
Most people who have heard any kind of India music will notice
the complex rhythms and virtuoso percussion playing that often
characterize it. I notice that it is admirable how Indian
the musicians Jaipur Kawa Brass Band make the British drums
sound. Hameed Khan, that started out as a tabla player, tells
us enthusiastically about the importance of the rhythm in
"In India we really love rhythm, and all kinds of percussion.
We have 60 different kinds of percussion instruments in India.
Tabla, dholak, danthal etc... When we play a concert we like
to improvise parts of the rhythms, like this drum that you
sing "“dun di-ki-da di-ki dun di-ki da da".
We also have several combinations of the different rhythms.
We like to take it as far as we can, into the deep of the
rhythm. For us the sence of the rhythm is what it is all about.
The planet has its own rhythm. When you play, that is also
rhythm. And from one vibration to the other, like when we
play and somebody dances, that is rhythm too."
Jaipur Kawa Brass Band stayed at Roskilde Festival until
Sunday and performed with the cute dancer and fabulous fakir
on various places on the festival ground, which draw huge
View Norwegian photographer Terje
Søgjerds pictures of Jaipur Kawa Brass Band performing
at the festival ground.
Published July 10th 2004