* This collaboration is all about magic, because there has not been anything like it made before – Sonic Boomers*
*Her (Akhtar’s) voice is a heaven-sent gift – Songlines*
*(Lucas is) Without a doubt, the most innovative and challenging guitarist playing today – fRoots*
*Far from being some polite fusion project, ‘Rishte’ is vital and red-blooded, nodding back to Davy Graham’s East-West musical explorations and standing comparison with his best work –
When acclaimed guitarist and Grammy-nominated songwriter Gary Lucas met Indian vocalist extraordinaire Najma Akhtar, sparks literally flew…
The New York City-based guitar magician was a fan of Najma’s solo albums and collaborations with Page and Plant and Andy Summers…and the sultry London-based siren had been a fan of Gary’s solo work and his collaborations with Jeff Buckley, Captain Beefheart and a who’s who of rock royalty, including Lou Reed & Bryan Ferry.
The pair were introduced by Najma’s manager, Gary Nesbitt, who thought an East meets West collaboration that fused Gary’s bluesy psychedelic guitar with Najma’s angelic Indian voice would be intriguing…
The result was ‘Rishte’, truly a match made in heaven. Gary produced the music, including some songs originally written for Buckley, and Najma nailed the words and the melodies for their first album.
Their coming together is a rare confluence of interests and talents and it has produced a beautiful & unique collection of songs which, when reproduced live at London’s Jazz Cafe, will hold you spellbound.
About Najma Akhtar
Najma Akhtar is a vocalist, composer and actress who has released 7 solo albums and been at the forefront of the World-Music scene for the last two decades.
Although born & raised in England, and a graduate in Chemical Engineering, Najma has remained rooted in the music of India, her ancestral home.
Najma has been recognised by her work as a pioneer in using subtle jazz arrangements with the traditional Indian vocal Ghazal style. Following her unique and distinctive sound, Najma has inspired a new generation of musicians and composers to move into the fusion genre.
Along with her fusion of subtle jazz nuances, Najma also performs Indian semi-classical, folk,
Sufi, Bollywood, Indian underground, trance, along with the odd English song.
Najma appeared with Robert Plant & Jimmy Page on their MTV Unplugged special "No Quarter/Unledded" performance of the Led Zeppelin classic ‘Battle of Evermore’ and later toured with the duo. Akhtar has also recorded with many of the world’s most influential artists including Basement Jaxx, guitarist Andy Summers (Police), Jah Wobble, Jethro Tull and jazz and rock saxophonist Stan Harrison.
Najma’s live set on Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD tour was described as ‘Brilliant’. She has performed extensively in Europe, North America and Asia and has headlined the Jazz stages at numerous festivals including Reading, Glastonbury, Lille and the Palestinian Jazz Festival in Jerusalem.
Najma Akhtar has had many incredible highlights in her career, so far, but one that is most special to her is being asked by Nina Simone’s management to perform with her at the London Dominion Theatre for a two night engagement.
About Gary Lucas
Gary Lucas is a Grammy nominated songwriter and an international recording artist with twenty acclaimed solo albums to date. He’s also a soundtrack composer for film and television as well as a selfless collaborator. Praise for Gary Lucas includes being dubbed "The Thinking Man’s Guitar Hero" by The New Yorker, "The world’s most popular avant-rock guitarist" by The Independent, "Legendary Leftfield guitarist" by The Guardian, "Guitarist of 1000 Ideas" by The New York Times, "a true axe God" by Melody Maker, and "One of the five best guitarists in the world" by the national Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny. Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke wrote:
"Gary Lucas is one of the best and most original guitarists in America" in a review of Gary’s latest avant-rock album "Coming Clean". Gary was also selected by the editors of DownBeat Magazine as one of their "Hot 66 6-Stringers" and Classic Rock Magazine cited Gary as one of the "100 Greatest Living Guitarists".
Lucas has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Captain Beefheart, Jeff Buckley, Chris Cornell, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop & Dr. John to name but a few.
Gary Lucas tours the world relentlessly both solo and with several different ensembles, including his longtime band ‘Gods And Monsters’, whose ranks once included the late singer, Jeff Buckley. Gary co-wrote two of Jeff Buckley’s most famous hits, “Grace” and “Mojo Pin”, when Jeff was in his group; songs which later became the title track and the first song on Buckley’s double platinum Sony album “Grace” – which Mojo recently named the number 1 Modern Classic Rock Album.