Michael Messer's Mitra
Manish Pingle - Indian slide guitar (Mohan veena)
Gurdain Rayatt - Tabla
Mitra is a unique musical trio and a true musical friendship.
A unique fusion of blues slide guitar, Hindustani classical slide guitar and tabla rhythms.
'Mitra' (pronounced 'meetra') is friends, the Hindu god of friendship and alliance.
Michael Messer's Mitra is a trio comprising British blues innovator and slide guitarist, Michael Messer, Hindustani slide guitar maestro from Mumbai India, Manish Pingle, and London-based tabla master, Gurdain Singh Rayatt.
The debut album, Call Of The Blues, on Knife Edge Records, distributed by Proper Music Distribution.
Call Of The Blues was released in February 2016 and was immediately picked up by the blues, folk and world music media, getting worldwide radio airplay and press coverage in more than 40 countries, and hitting number one in the iTunes Blues Chart.
This is more than another meeting of musicians from different cultures, this is a band with a successful album and its own unique sound; an exhilarating and highly accessible fusion of blues and Hindustani classical music. With vocals, slide guitars and tabla, these three musicians from opposite sides of the globe create a fascinating musical journey, running from the banks of the Mississippi, via London to Mumbai and the Ganges delta.
In 2013 Michael Messer travelled to India to perform at a festival in Mumbai. Just before the trip, he was put in touch with one of the new rising stars of Indian slide guitar, Manish Pingle (pronounced 'Pinglay'). Manish invited Michael to his home in Mumbai and after just a few minutes the two musicians were jamming on two Mohan veenas (Indian slide guitars). Manish had heard some blues, but not the style of rural blues that Michael was playing that night. The two musicians felt an immediate and natural musical rapport and found that they were able to switch from blues to Hindustani music without really noticing the transitions. It was natural and easy, as if they had known each other's playing for years. Michael Messer left Manish Pingle's home that night, vowing that he would find a way for them to play together again.
Fast forward six months and Manish Pingle landed at Heathrow in September 2013 for a concert with Michael at the Troubadour Club in London. To make the music complete they added London-based tabla player, Gurdain Rayatt, to create a trio. Regarded as one of the greatest tabla players of his generation outside India, Gurdain had not heard the style of blues that Michael plays, but as with Manish a few months earlier, the combination of their styles was immediate and totally natural. Manish Pingle and Gurdain Rayatt, two masters of Indian classical music, were playing Mississippi delta and hill country blues with Michael Messer as if they had played together all their lives. All three musicians and the audience at the Troubadour Club that night were completely captivated by this unique fusion of the blues and Hindustani classical music.
Fast forward again to April 2015, and a few days after their first UK tour, Michael Messer's Mitra were at Leif Storm Studio recording their debut album, 'Call Of The Blues'. It took three days to record the ten tracks. The whole album was recorded completely live with no overdubs.
Call Of The Blues was released in February 2016 and was immediately picked up by the blues and world music media, getting worldwide radio airplay and press coverage in more than 40 countries, and hitting #1 in the iTunes Blues Chart. 2016 also saw Michael Messer's Mitra with two successful UK tours, including shows at the Bush Hall in London and Musicport Festival.
In 2017 Michael Messer's Mitra were nominated in the Best Band category in the Songlines Music Awards. They toured the UK and their music was featured on numerous radio shows around the world.
#7 - Ted Gioia's 100 USA Best Albums of 2016
#1 - iTunes Blues Chart - February 2016
#1 - World Music Network Chart - April/May 2016
#1 - IBBA Chart - February 2016
#6 - IBBA Albums of the Year 2016
#10 - Transglobal World Music Chart - April 2016
#4 - Argonauta - Best World Music Albums of 2016
fRoots Playlist Top 10 - January/February/March 2016
Songlines 'Top Of The World' Top 10 - April 2016
Blues Matters Top 10 - February 2016
Guitarist Magazine 'Album Of The Year' - 2016
Call Of The Blues reviews
"MAGNIFICENT INDIAN BLUES ....Call Of The Blues is a remarkable fusion of country blues with Hindustani music, showcasing the splendour of the slide guitar and the talent of three extraordinary musicians".
Angel Romero World Music Central
"The trio spent two days in the studio recording this quite superb album. Messer’s regular blues repertoire is the source of much of the material – but they’re transformed by the Indian musicians, as the dark, droning mojo of the Delta is lent additional mystery by the layers of raga-like atmospheric ambience. Best of all is ‘Bhupali Blues’, in which the exchange works in the opposite direction, with Messer’s bottleneck blues tropes blending seamlessly into the structure of a traditional raga as the two guitarists exchange licks with scintillating panache".
Nigel Williamson Songlines
"There's nothing I Like more than a meeting of musical minds where you can't hear the joins, and that is absolutely what we've got here. Messer is rare amongst Brit bluesniks, in that he possesses a real feel for the music and yet gives it his own personal stamp. This is an acoustic blues album that takes the music right back to the deltas; Mississippi and Ganges". Jamie Renton fRoots
"...Not since the Beatles teamed up with Ravi Shankar back in the day has there been such an experimental and inspired meeting of musical cultures. I've no doubt this album is going to be internationally lauded for both its musicianship and Messer's stunning vision".
Iain Patience Music News USA
"Filled With Eastern Spice and Magic. Every note is blues that shimmer like sari silk. This album is a success due to the melodious delivery of the lyrics from Michael, plus the grounding of his guitar skills keeping the blues rooted in the soul. The tabla and Mohan veena add texture, tone and twists in the beat and cadences of the blues. Call of The Blues is a mighty voice" - 10 out of 10.
Liz Aiken Bluesdoodles
“The most exciting and creative blues innovation I have heard in years!”
David Freeman Jazz FM
Call Of The Blues on the radio
Call Of The Blues has had radio airplay in more than 40 countries, here are a few...
BBC Radio 2 - Mark Radcliffe The Folk Show, UK
BBC Radio 2 - Paul Jones Rhythm & Blues Show, UK
BBC Radio 3 - Late Junction Max Reinhardt, UK
ALBUM OF THE WEEK - KCOR Kansas City Online Radio, USA
ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Rootsworld Radio, USA
ALBUM OF THE WEEK - World Fusion Chicago, USA
ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Willi Klopottek, Mondophon Auf Radio, LU
ALBUM OF THE WEEK - André Rhéaume, Canada
ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Elena Wolay Sverige Radio, Sweden
ALBUM OF THE WEEK - Lauri 'Arno' Ankerman, Lähiradio, Finland
ALBUM OF THE MONTH - IBBA (Independent Blues Broadcasters)
ALBUM OF THE MONTH - Chris Heim Global Village Radio, USA
ALBUM OF THE MONTH - Juan Antonio Vázquez, Mundofonias, Spain
Booking agency UK & World: Laughing Dog Music
Gail Cooke: + 44 (0) 7905 952374
France - booking agency: P-box Blues
Alain Michel +33 (0)6 63 83 00 67