Playing the Newnham Live festival Friday 8 June 2018
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, and now to Newnham on Severn!
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.