Droning Shiva-style in Alexanderplatz

I ran into this guy, India Bharti, playing in Alexanderplatz yesterday. He’s a wandering musician of uncertain (but distinctly sandy-graying) age, a white yogi type, sitting crosslegged, sunflowered, maybe deeply cliched right up to the point you looked at how he was making his sounds.

He was playing a pair of homemade instruments: one a small electric violin, the other something he calls a “Bhartiphone” (and yes, of course I thought immediately of Slartybartfast), which is essentially two long, thick strings stretched almost zither-style, which he both plucked and played with a little mallet.

The result, electrified, distorted, and processed through a handful of guitar pedals, was hypnotic and droning, exactly the kind of music I love these days. Listening to his recordings online, you miss the effect; his rhyming, anti-war, anti-power lyrics are mixed too high, and they are by far the least interesting part of what he’s doing. I stood and listened for a quarter-hour, and vowed to make my own instruments one of these days.

No pics or sounds, because I was unprepared.

One Comment

  1. Hi John, I’m glad I found your blog! It is wonderful to read about your travels. The rat running into your bike made me think of the black titanium squirrels at Stanford.

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