Gypsy Soul combines uplifting melodies and traditional folk songs from Ireland, Russia, Hungary and rural America with compelling and original beats. Ashik’s expert use of the violin reminds us all that it has always been a dancing instrument. In every realm where it is played, it is renown for its capacity to move the legs as much as the heart. Turn on Gypsy Soul, get up out of your chair and enjoy!
“These tunes are for dancing. Most of them will take you from a slow beginning to a fine frenzy at the finish, and some will keep you in an energetic groove with a steady beat. Some of the tunes are original, but most have been danced to for generations, wandering to wherever dancing feet are ready to enjoy them – like the Gypsies whose magical violins have long been my inspiration. Seventeen years after producing these recordings under primitive circumstances, starting in Yokohama and finishing on a wild forest plateau in Colorado, I still like them a lot. What they lack in technical sophistication they make up for in musical innocence, and I celebrate the tens of thousands of friends that they have made in their journey through the world since then.” ~Ashik
“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” ~Osho
1. CzardASz: This is the quintessential Hungarian Gypsy dance, and probably the best known. From its original free-tempo wildness, it was turned into a recital showpiece for concerthall virtuosos, but here it settles back into a simple groove.
2. Tiger’s Gate: The first tune in this medley started as a busy signal, heard in a Tokyo phone booth in 1991. It became an earworm that could only be relieved by building it into a real melody. Then two more melodies easily came along to fatten it up. The phone booth was in the downtown Toranomon district, where I once worked in an office. “Tiger’s Gate” is an exact translation of Toranomon.
3. Seven Mad GypsieS: Seventeen years after first recording this wonderful melody and putting the question out to the world: “Where did it come from?”, I’ve learned no further information, and I still don’t tire of the odd directions this tune takes me. I learned it from my French friend and fine violinist, Anagara, who picked it up from a street performer in Santa Monica, CA. He knew it as seven sections, each repeating four bars, and I added the eighth to bring it to a peak.
4. Coyote: The coyotes really do sing like this around our house. This melody belonged so well to their wild song that it was no trouble to blend them together.
5. The Szombathely JiG: Szombathely, in Hungary, was the birthplace of Leopold Bloom’s father. Ever since that piece of irrelevant and fictional information became lodged in my head more than fifty years ago, I’ve had a fascination for the place, though I’ve never been there. So when I wrote a 6/8 tune that sounded Hungarian, there was the title, ready to go.
6. Hoedown: Simple tunes come from nowhere and may need no polishing at all. Like this one.
7. The BohemiaN: An old Russian fiddle dance – a favorite of mine.
8. What it is: The unceasing dance of the ocean waves, with my beloved siren adding her call in the final section.
This recording was made possible by the love and support of Nina Nanda, Chris Lynch, and Vimala Stacey. I would also like to thank Bhikkhu, Waduda, and the New Earth Records Team. Special thanks also to Lola, Parmita, and Ruth Shepherd for practical support; to Anugito for skill and energy; to Mickey Houlihan for generous technical help; to Morgan Fisher for samples and enthusiasm; to Clay Reeves for wildlife recording; and to Anagara, Milarepa, Satgyan, Joshua, Karunesh, Rupesh, and many others who shared these tunes in Pune and helped them to grow.
This album was inspired by Osho and his vision of a world dancing in joy. Violin, guitar, bass, keyboard, percussion, whistle, and sampler played and recorded by Ashik. Wordless vocals and vocal samples by Nina Nanda.