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Payuta blends the sound of the Indian sitar with influences from pop, jazz and blues to form a unique musical current. A bubbling, seething, uncommonly rhythmic current in which musical reproductions of the past turn up like rocks at every bend. Riffs from Jumping Jack Flash merge effortlessly with the special aura of the Indian instrument. Like an Eagle is the name of a track with obvious country character and, as it develops, allusions to the memory of the Allman Brothers. Farther downstream, heavy percussion guides the listener through rock-musical chasms from which Payuta’s sitar rises up with the whine of an electric guitar.
“On the road again” … Harry Payuta goes to El Salvador and publishes his eight album.
The multi-instrumentalist Harry Payuta’s new CD Departure is full of catchy melodies you think you know but just can’t place: elements of world, blues, rock, pop and jazz come together and celebrate on this wonderful CD. Worldbeat? In any case, purely and simply good, a CD that gives you joy and never gets boring no matter how often you listen to it, partly because the last track, Zappa’s Watermelon In Easter Hay, played by Payuta on the sitar (incomparable), makes you long for more.
From the beginning, the theme of the new album Departure was to achieve the character of rock and pop songs. The sitar accordingly had to sound even more “Western” … quite a challenge for Payuta: to develop what was already a very original sitar-playing style even further. The sitar tracks turned out so song-like that he began to consider adding vocals to two or three of the tracks.
Matthias Monka was excited about the idea. He spent two weeks with the demo tapes before getting up in front of the microphone in Payuta’s studio one night. Three hours later, seven titles had been recorded to perfection, nearly all of them as “first takes”! Monka bid Payuta a good night and left him musing at his mixer. Harry listened to the recordings a number of times, and then the decision practically made itself: Monka’s soul-n-rock voice and the rock-n-jazz lines of the sitar produced a very unique new sound: surprising, suspenseful and very melodic … for the very first time, there would be a Payuta & Friends album exclusively with vocal titles!
Another first is the inclusion of two cover titles on the record: On the Road Again by Canned Heat and Watermelon in Easter Hay by Frank Zappa. For years, Harry Payuta had been putting off covering a Zappa title, but in the meantime the idea had ripened and the sound of the sitar gave this instrumental an entirely new, independent appeal … unmistakably Zappa, unmistakably Payuta. And … en route on a very conscious journey back into blues … in the sitar version, On the Foad Again sounds as familiar as it does singularly “Payutan”.
The new CD Payuta & Friends Departure was released by JARO Medien in 2007. For Payuta, the Departure is already a thing of the past, because he has since arrived: in El Salvador and yet another new phase of his life as a musician and producer. Negotiations on a possible Central America Tour are presently in progress and Harry Payuta hopes to be able fly in the first-class band which has formed around him in the course of the past years.
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Harry Payuta, one of the most differently Sitar- and Didgeridoo-Players of today, is a musician of many spheres. In addition to exploring rock, blues and jazz, he participated as a guitarist, bassist and singer/songwriter in many avant-garde and New Music projects.
Since 1992 his mainly interest is in WorldBeat-Music. In 1996 he founded the »Ear-Tranceport« project with ethno-fusion musicians from Mali and Morocco (EMBRYO / AMON DÜÜL). CD productions and tours through Europe followed. In the area of Dancefloor he toured Germany and Switzerland with the Mojo-Club (Hamburg), a collaboration which led to various Goa Techno Trance projects.
In 2002 he worked with Huun-Huur-Tu, the world-renowned overtone singers from Tuva in Mongolia. Two of Harry Payuta’s arrangements appear on Huun-Huur-Tu’s remix CD Spirits from Tuva, a production in which international teams representing Europe from Paris to Moscow participated. In September 2002 the CD ranked Number One on the European World Music charts. The title »Eki Attar« was first on the Greek charts for ten weeks.
Since 2000, Harry Payuta has been producing CDs under his own name and performing in concert with his band »Payuta & Friends«. Of the wide spectrum of instruments he plays, it is the Indian sitar which Payuta avowedly finds most fascinating. He employs it in unconventional ways, composing pieces for it that are highly appealing to the Western ear.
At studio-payuta-music he works as a sound engineer, graphic artist, producer and, naturally, as a musician.