"I have songs in my head from so many languages and people. I know my sound is in the middle of this whole." - Taj Mahal
ARTIST WEBSITE: www.tajblues.com
Describe legendary musician Taj Mahal in a single word or phrase? Impossible.
You could call him a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, ethnomusicologist, two-time Grammy-winner, world-class musical collaborator, musicians' advocate, world traveler, fisherman, or cigar aficionado. These titles are all accurate, yet none convey the warmth, humor, and soulfulness of Taj and his music.
Taj has been playing his own distinctive brand of music -- variously described as Afro-Caribbean blues, folk-world-blues, hula blues, folk-funk, and a host of other hyphenations -- for more than 40 years. Caribbean, Hawaiian, African, Latin, and Cuban sounds and rhythms mix with folk, jazz, zydeco, gospel, rock, pop, soul, and R&B, all layered on top of a solid country blues foundation.
What ties it all together is Taj's abiding interest in musical discovery, particularly in tracing many American musical forms back to their roots in Africa and Europe. Following his passion, Taj has spent time in the Caribbean, West Africa, Hawaii, Europe, the South Pacific, Australia, South America, and all over the continental U.S. His music reflects his global perspective, incorporating sounds from everywhere he's lived and traveled.
A self-taught musician, Taj plays more than 20 instruments, including the National Steel and Dobro guitars. His remarkable voice ranges from gruff and gravelly to smooth and sultry.
After more than a decade of playing with larger ensembles, Taj wanted to do more guitar playing with a smaller group. He is now touring with The Taj Mahal Trio - just Taj on guitar, piano, and banjo, Bill Rich on bass and Kester Smith on drums. These musicians have been playing together on and off for more than 30 years. Together, they draw on a long, shared history of Taj's music.
As you can see, Taj Mahal brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the Mariposa mainstage on Saturday night.