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Mike Block + Sandeep Das Announce Collaborative LP 'Where The Soul Never Dies'


The album is set for a June 11th release.

Mike Block + Sandeep Das Announce Collaborative LP 'Where The Soul Never Dies'

GRAMMY-winning cellist Mike Block and GRAMMY-winning tablaist Sandeep Das have announced a collaborative new album, Where The Soul Never Dies, for a June 11 release via Bright Shiny Things. The duo released a first single from the record today, a reimagining of the traditional American fiddle tune, "Glory In The Meeting House." Watch the video via YouTube and pre-order Where The Soul Never Dies.

Discussing the single, Block noted, "'Glory in the Meeting House;' is a traditional Appalachian fiddle tune, learned via Kentucky fiddler Luther Strong, who recorded it for Alan Lomax in 1937. In addition to adapting the fiddle melody for the cello, I changed the tuning of my instrument to create low drone strings in the key of E, to broaden the rhythmic texture surrounding the melody. This track also marks the the first time in Sandeep Das' career that he has experimented with using two separate Tabla's tuned to different pitches, creating an untraditional percussive texture with multiple pitches. The energy of the piece captures the spontaneity and friendship Sandeep and I feel, as we learned from each other's musical traditions."

With Where The Soul Never Dies, Block and Das look to explore uncharted musical spaces of tabla and cello, creating from a sense of joy and respect, while surrendering to each other's musical heritages. The result crosses genres with a dialogue that's raw, organic, eclectic, and soulful. The title track of the album is a combination of two spiritual songs: "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram" (India) and "Where the Soul Never Dies" (America) symbolizing love and infinite divinity within us.

Contrasting it are experimental interludes based on Indian rhythmic compositions in traditional cycles such as Teentaal, Rupak, and Ektaal. Adaptations of folk music like "Glory in the Meeting House" and the Nepalese "Resham Firiri," charm with their earthiness, while original compositions like "Fight or Flight" and arrangements of contemporary tunes like Norwegian "The Fønix" and American "Maspiel," investigate new textures and flavors.

In the studio, the duo had no prescription to follow with the music, which allowed them to follow their hearts and minds as they brought their two instruments together as conversing soloists. In their creation, they looked to learn about each other's personalities and cultures, while at the same time uncovering something new within themselves.

Both Block + Das are musical educators, looking to expand the horizons of their chosen instruments. Block has released five full-length albums, in multiple genres, over the past two years alone, along with founding the 'Play For The Vote' campaign around last November's U.S. election. Das, a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, is one of the leading Tabla virtuosos in the world. Since his debut concert at the age of 17 with legendary Sitarist Pt. Ravi Shankar, Das has established himself as one of India's top Tabla maestros, building a prolific international reputation that spans over three decades.

Watch the video here:

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