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Barmer Boys

India

Zero-gravity Sufi folk music from Rajasthan

There are few instruments whose sound is so weightless, spiritual and other-worldly as that made by a harmonium. It rides its own air currents, it forges its own path. And when accompanied by some bubbling percussion, it can make a very heavenly noise indeed. It’s this combination that underpins the music of Barmer Boys, a trio from the Barmer region of Rajasthan who are the latest musicians entrusted to carry the musical traditions of the Manganiya Sufis into an as-yet-unwritten future. The centrepiece of their art is the voice of the group’s harmonium player Manga, a man whose vocals rise and fall with effortless grace and beauty. And don’t just take our word for it. As Simon Broughton enthused in the pages of Songlines, these are “incandescent Sufi voices that incite ecstasy”. Prepare yourself for a possible out-of-body experience.