The Journey of The Music

egypt-pyramids-world-music

Karavan Sarai- World music/electronic/dance ensemble 

Middle Eastern to Indian electroacoustic mystic melodies meet electronic grooves with mesmerizing dance.


pushkar-india-karavan-sarai

The Journey

I first heard this Melody at a train station in Rajasthan, India. A group of gypsies had circled together playing music and dancing. They wore bright fabrics and smiles on their face while the immense amount of jewelry clanked to the rhythm.  I instantly joined them and after hours of music and dance, the sun was rising and they invited me to travel with them. I did! We rode on top of the train's roof for 8 hours as the inside of the train was beyond full, with people hanging out of every open door and window for their dear life; as we were too! We walked another 2 hours to a remote temple overlooking a large lake in the Thar desert. A dazzling red-orange sunset with thousands of colorful Tribals and their camels around smokey fires created a living mirage. The music sang out and the dancers spun in circles. I stayed for 2 weeks living, learning music and sleeping in the hot sand with them. I have rearranged the melody, added an original composition and then added a second rearranged melody from Kashmir, India when I visited that paradise in the Himalayas years later. (yet another tale to be told :)
– Narayan Sijan

turkey-music-fusion-karavan-sarai-sacred

River Bend

I crossed the Bosphorus Sea by boat to the old city in Istanbul, Turkey. Fish and clothes merchants greeted me as I wandered into the small curvy cobblestone lanes. The stone store fronts were selling spices, colorful tiles and lanterns. Drying clothes hung between the old buildings. As I walked into quieter areas I was drawn to faint music in a small alley. An old man was having his tea while his ancient radio drew me into the beautiful tones of music. He welcomed me to sit and have tea. We both just smiled as we could not speak each others language. Music is the universal language and this beautiful melody from the land of Persia spoke to my heart. I created an original introduction to the melody. I rearranged the melody and interwove my composition to the song.
– Narayan Sijan

caspian-sea-silk-road

Caspian Sea

After spending weeks searching for special music in Kashgar, Central Asia, I was on my way through the famous Karakokam Highway on a three day bus trip. I was inspired to stay at a large lake in the high Karakoram mountains after a day and a half on a brutal road. Bright green fields with flowers and horses lazily fed around the yurts. This was my new home for the night. A man befriended me and played a song from Central Asia. I was entranced by the raw beauty of the land, the man and this melody. I rearranged the song and added my compositions to create 'Caspian Sea'. I have included a Persian poem about a dialog between lover(humans) and beloved(Moon). The translation: 'I am in love with you, I have a longing in my heart. Become my moon (symbol of the mystic, spiritual beauty of love) The moon responds: When I come out tonight, I ask from the people: Learn the art of kind loving. Please Accept. Don't Expect. Then the moon is within reach'.
 This is a mystic, romantic and deeply emotional song to me.
– Narayan Sijan

indian-desert-world-music-karavan sarai-gypsy

Desert Water

The two main melodies of this song come from the colorful romantic desert folk of India in a region called Rajasthan on the Silk Road. A land of intense desert weather, filled with bright colors, magnificent palaces and forts, a rich musical heritage all of which move the soul as a cobra dancing in trance. Traveling the deep sand dunes of the Thar Desert were proud people: ladies with sparkling jewelry from head to toe and men with very large colorful turbans and swooping mustaches leading their herds into the desert for feeding. One day I followed them into the desert for a day's adventure. The sun relentlessly hit me over the head and I tasted this life of freedom in harsh conditions. After walking hours with an old man we came upon a run down hut in the middle of the desert. His friend brought from inside the hut a rough old bowed instrument. He handed it to me and I played a local song that brought a huge uproar from everyone around. He then strummed his wrinkled sandy bejeweled fingers on the instrument and played a popular folk song. The song moved me deeper in love for this enchanting land. Roughly translated the words at the end of the Desert Water song are: 'Who is digging the steps to walk down to the water well, deep in my heart? Who makes my heart fetch water all the time? Oh soft kind deer fawn with open eyes! Who is digging the great oceans and lakes then? Who will fetch the water?'
– Narayan Sijan

schirin-chams-diba-belly-dance-world-music

Schirin

This original melody was created on a beach in New Zealand that represents the feminine energy of the universe. A sacred waterfall deep in the forest that is known to be an oracle of messages for those who may hear it. In the spirit of these tales, at the waterfall this song was actually created. It was so sweet to have a beautiful melody come through as divine inspiration at this sacred site. 
Schirin translates to 'sweetness' in Farsi. (language of ancient Persia) One of the poems I added to the song is a Sufi poem from upper Egypt. It was taught to me in direct lineage near the mighty Nile river from my teacher, who learned it from a blind Sufi singer that has a heart and voice of pure devotion. He never wanted to record his music (until late in his life) as it was his prayer to Spirit. He chose to share his songs for only those who could carry them on with goodness. One line in the song is loosely translated as: 'Be as the old humble tree heavy with fruits bowing lowly to the ground; so many may pick and enjoy the abundance of fruit and taste the sweetness of love.' 
– Narayan Sijan

narayan-sijan-pyramid-world-music-karavan-sarai

The road to Hijaz

I first learned this melody from my teacher the day before I went to the Great Pyramids at Giza, Egypt. I hummed the melody as I walked the back way through the desert toward the Pyramids, experiencing the vastness and quietness of nature. With every step the Pyramids mesmerizing beauty on the far horizon drew closer, all while this melody spun in my head. 

Months later I had completed my 8 month study of the oud and was on my way to Sinai, Egypt on the Red Sea. While on the bus ride, this song magically came up on the radio. It was a moment of awesomeness. I sang along with the melody and the bus passengers roared in approval. As we left the barren inner desert of Sinai we entered the colored canyon region where surrealistic red sandstone mountains with black sand or purple rocks and white sand are as common as orange and blue mountains with gold sand. The glory of the Red Sea awaited us as we neared the coast and viewed the district of Hijaz, Saudi Arabia beyond the sea. The arrangement of 'The road to Hijaz' was first created on those shores.
– Narayan Sijan

caravanserai-muisc-karavan-sarai-silk-road

Upon my own hand

The story of this song began in a vast open meadow of the Silk Road in a remote mountainous region of Central Turkey. Vast open flat plains served as a trade route, rest areas (a Karavan Sarai, Caravansary) and feeding ground for the many animals that followed each caravan. It was easy to imagine the grand beauty, bustle and sounds that once flowed through these open meadows flanked by steep mountains on both sides. I first heard this song by a Turkish man around the fire under a  brilliant starry night sky on the ancient Silk Road. 
Narayan and Carmen Rizzo have created a new rendition of this traditional song. We also added new melodic compositions to create a uniquely creative version. The song is based on a Sufi metaphoric tale of love and longing.

-Narayan Sijan

bali-middle-eastern-electro-acoustic-music-karavan-sarai

HIGH MOUNTAIN

This Central Asian song I first learnt from a friend in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California where mighty forested mountains and beautiful rivers flow. Months later I traveled through Israel and the ancient city of Jerusalem, a hub of the Silk Road. In this magical city, amongst hand carved stone walk ways and homes, this song's power spoke to me. On Mount Zion, a place where many divine stories have taken place, this song's beauty shined its light. It suited well to call this song 'High Mountain'.
– Narayan Sijan

ethnic-world-music-persia-india-middle-east