Counsel of Elders: Taj Mahal on Understanding the World

Taj Mahal is an innovator. If he didn’t work in music, it’d be easy to imagine him in a more scientific field, engineering together something uncanny he came up with only in a dream, a fleeting moment of thought that held enough weight to solidify imagination into actuality. As it is, his creativity finds shape in the only natural language that can ever truly convey meaning: music. A bluesman through and through, Mahal has redrawn that genre to reveal its full spectrum. For those purists who might take issue with the fact that “the blues” under Mahal’s thumb doesn’t keep to its strict geographical boundaries, he reveals it as a bridge to a more global experience, one that landed in the West Indies during the slave trade and traveled farther north over time. Whether incorporating African rhythms from countries like Mali and Ghana or lighter melodic fare from the Caribbean, Mahal knows no bounds. He paints, as he says, from his lineage, enlarging the picture with every brushstroke. [Full article on The Bluegrass Situation.]

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