HIMALAYA
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HIMALAYA

Brussels, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium

Brussels, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
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"Himalaya 'Namaste' Psychevanhetfolk"

Carbon 7 Himalaya : Namaste (B,rec.2004-2006)***°
Himalaya’s album was recorded over a three year period, which might be the reason for
some subtle differences in inspirational cores and of musical dynamics (within a steady
and fluent original sound). Most tracks hold the middle between a moody jazz-like
approach (call it fusion) with Indian flavours ; mostly this is much more, with real
Indian starting points melted with a more western type of, rather jazzy, improvisation
(inclusive in lots of the additional vocals). They simply fused into a convincing, new,
easy to consume “fusion” genre and sound of their own. Indian rhythmical patterns are
used (most clearly on “Amaranth”), Indian singing improvisation (the main singer is
from Bangladesh) with harmonium (more typical for certain areas around India), and
electrified sitar, only sparsely used more clearly in raga-modes (like on “Mata”). Harpist
Saskia adds other flavours, rooted in a mixture of (Celtic harp) folk-flavours mixed with
classical harp and jazz playing, while she, like all members besides other studies, also
studied Indian music ; -on “Arpal” it is as if all this plus an extra (almost Latin) exotic
touch comes to show in her playing-. Mark not only plays the sitar, but added also some
electric guitar parts, with sparse wa-wa and fuzz effects, of psychedelic touches, which
is most wild on one of the group’s highlights, the concluding track “Amaranth”.
Gerald van Waes - Psyche van het Folk


"HIMALAYA Namaste CD Album - By Georges Tonia Briquet, RIFRAF Musiczine, NL"

Himalaya ‘Namaste’ Carbon 7
Himalaya wordt momenteel gevormd door John Litton Baroï (zang, harmonium),
Mark Bogaerts (sitar, saxofoon, gitaar), Saskia Vanhoegaerden
(harp, fluit, zang), Eric Moens (bas, synthesizer) en Pierre Narcisse (tabla,
percussie, drums). Wie aan de hand van het instrumentarium zou besluiten dat het hier
gaat om al dan niet gestileerde new age zit er mijlenver naast. Dit is Carbon 7 en wie het
werk van deze muzikanten kent, weet dat ze stuk voor stuk graag buiten de lijntjes kleuren.
‘Namaste’ is een ver doorgedreven fusie van rock, jazz, raga’s en Afrikaanse ritmepatronen.
Indisch verwante soundscapes worden plots doorkliefd met expliciete saxuithalen, harmoniumklanken
worden in juxtapositie geplaatst met psychedelisch zwevende gitaarstructuren
en percussieve patronen worden verrijkt met confronterende scatting. Vaste composities
wisselen voortdurend af met improvisaties gebaseerd op zowel Indische als westerse
opvattingen. Kortom, dit gezelschap houdt van verrassingen en uitdagingen. Zo trad
Bogaerts nog op in La Rocca in het kader van een Goa-avond om zijn nieuw prototype van
elektrische sitar uit te testen. Live gaat een en ander trouwens gepaard met videoprojecties
en dans. (gtb) - RIFRAF Musiczine


"The Himalayas come to the Ardennes - By Kate Holman, The Bulletin"

‘Psychedelic’ is the word that comes to mind when you listen to Brussels band Himalaya’s hypnotic sequences of tones and rhythms. The music is at once meditative and energetic - a rich mix of cultural influences. The six-pieces group recently brought out a new CD, Namaste, named after the traditional Indian greeting, and will performing it in the fourth edition of ‘Osons le Monde’, an outdoor festival organised by les Amis du Tiers Monde for the benefit of genocide victims and reconstruction in Rwanda.
At the center of the group are sitar, guitar, sax player Mark Bogaerts and his partner Saskia Vanhoegaerden, harpist, flautist and vocalist. Bogaerts started playing guitar at 14 and saxophone at 18. “I was living a crazy life, as rock musicians do,” he recalls. “I couldn’t continue like that. It had to change.” Eighteen years ago, he gave up drinking and smoking and took up yoga and meditation. “It taught me to look in the opposite direction and to discover the reality of live. It’s difficult to explain – you have to practice it to really understand it,” he says. “The move to Indian music was very logical. It has very deep spiritual level.”
Last year, the pair realized their longstanding dream of visiting India and Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas themselves, where the Beatles learned to meditate with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960s.
Bogaerts love affair with the sitar started in 1994, when he began studying with the international virtuoso Pandit Ashok Pathak. “I’m still learning,” he explains. “In the beginning, the instrument played a small role in our performances, but now I’m more confident. To go deeply into Indian music, I had to play the right instrument. Every sitar is a work of art,” he adds, removing a finely carved and decorated instrument from its case in the tiny rehearsal studio in the basement of the couple’s Brussels home.
Five years ago, Bogaerts found someone to build him a prototype electric sitar. Since then, the band has moved in the direction of electric sounds for both musical and practical reasons: acoustic instruments are harder to set up for large-scale performances.
Bogaerts and Vanhoegaerden compose all their own numbers. As a teenager, Bogaerts listened to Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Now he takes the classical Indian ragas he learned on the sitar and mixes them with jazz, rock, folk and African rhythms. “But I don’t like to speak about styles,” he adds. I just play music. In Himalaya, improvisation is very important, just as it is in jazz.”
The other band members are Eric Moens, on bass guitar and synthesizer and John Litton Baroï, from Bangladesh, on vocals and harmonium; Indonesian dancer, singer and percussionist Sumi Lea Hordijk and drummer Fabrice Colet.
Kate Holman - The Bulletin


"HIMALAYA Namaste CD Album - By Frank Huser, JazzFlits Magazine, NL"

HIMALAYA
Namaste
Carbon7 Records (http://himalaya-namaste.be)
Misschien is improvisatie wel de meest muzikale muziek. Onbedacht, onverwacht en voortkomend uit het moment. Oorspronkelijk, onherhaalbaar en onvoorspelbaar. Afhankelijk van tijd en plaats, geïnspireerd en ingegeven door wat er in onze geest afspeelt. En resultaat van communicatie. De Belgische formatie Himalaya tracht uit de confrontatie van muziek van verschillende culturen een eigen muzikale taal te creëren. Muziek uit India, folk, jazz en westerse middeleeuwse muziek, waarbij improvisatie het leidend motief is, vormen daarbij de belangrijkste muzikale invloeden. Vooral het gebruik van de (elektrische) sitar, de tabla en de zang in het Bengaals creëren de heel eigen en intrigerende klank van deze groep met John Litton Baroï (zang en harmonium), Mark Bogaerts (sitar, saxofoon en gitaar), Saskia Vanhoegaerden (zang, harp en fluit), Eric Moens (basgitaar en synthesizer) en Pierre Narcisse (tabla, percussie en drums). De meeste composities zijn gebaseerd op de Indiase raga, een muzikaal kader met vaste lijnen waarbinnen de musici improviseren. Hierdoor ontstaat een klankbeeld van een thema met een min of meer uitgesponnen uitwerking met een sterk improviserend karakter. De muziek op ‘Namaste’ laat zich misschien het best omschrijven als muziek met klankbeelden die je meevoeren in een fantasie, omgeven door harmonie en in evenwicht met de omgeving. Muzikaal is het werk op deze plaat verwant aan dat van drummer/percussionist Trilok Gurtu, de groep Oregon, voormalig Oregon-percussionist en wijlen Colin Walcott, werk van fluitisten Steve Kujala en Chris Hinze en muziek van gitarist John McLaughlin van met name zijn groepen Shakti en Remember Shakti. ‘Namaste’ is een authentiek en fascinerend album. De boeiend uitgewerkte thema’s vormen meeslepende en ruimtescheppende ‘soundscapes’. Het is muziek die betrokkenheid van de luisteraar vraagt en daarvoor als beloning veel biedt. (Frank Huser) - JazzFlits Magazine


"HIMALAYA with "Charu", is represented on the CD "Echoes of the World vol. 2""

HIMALAYA with "Charu", is represented on the CD "Echoes of the World vol. 2"
Posted on Apr 07, 2010 at 04:28 AM (Last Modified: Jul 28, 2011 at 09:24 PM)
HIMALAYA, with the tune "Charu" from the album "Namaste", is represented on the compilation CD album "Echoes of the World vol. 2"
Echoes of the World vol. 2
Second compilation "Echoes of the World". Once again, a selection of original artists and producers from Wallonia and Brussels. Hybrid music form artists from here or artists from afar released by producers from here. A community in Wallonia and Brussels that demonstrates its openness for cultural dialogue through two CD's that blend world and traditional music.
Artists CD 1 : Fredy Massamba, N'Faly Kouyaté, Staff Benda Bilili, Manou Gallo, Osman Martins, Pierre Vaiana & Al funduq, Himalaya, Malick Pathé Sow, Quentin Dujardin, Farida Zouj, Afel Bocoum, Tam Echo Tam, Body Mind & Soul, Oli Cima, Mikea
Artists CD 2 : Didier Laloy, Abid Bahri, La Fanfare du Belgistan, Aurélia, Dietrich, Jaune Toujours, Astoria, Nara Noïan, Didier François & Gilles Chabenat, Mr Diagonal & The Black Light Orchestra, Dazibao, A Consommer de Préférence, Klezmic Zirkus, Camaxe, Trip To Ireland, Jacques Stotzem
- Wallonie-Bruxelles Musiques


Discography

- full CD : Himalaya 'Namaste' on Carbon 7 Records
- compilation 2 CD : 'Echoes of the World vol. 2' on the label of Wallonie-Bruxelles Musiques
- demo CD's
- streaming on the site of Wallonie-Bruxelles Musiques
- music of Himalaya has been heard on some radio stations (CD, streaming or direct live)

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