rāga: ‘that which colours the mind’
George Howlett is a London-based musician and writer. I cover topics loosely related to jazz, rhythm, and global improvisation, drawing on my study of guitar, tabla, and santoor in India and the UK. Above all I aim to enthuse fellow musical searchers, connecting new textures and abstract sonic interrelations to the human voices, cultures, and passions behind them.
Recently I’ve run a ‘beyond the repertoire’ lesson series in Guitar World, worked as an Indian classical musicologist for Darbar, and contributed to Jazzwise, The Wire, and JazzFM on subjects ranging from Coltrane and Hendrix to West African drumming and animal rhythmic capabilities. I also teach online and in local schools, and release music as Rāga Junglism. See the site for more!
- ‘Living Traditions’: 21 articles for 21st-century Indian classical music – in-depth Darbar collection exploring how music with ancient roots is adapting to a modern, interconnected world
- ‘Beyond the Repertoire’: Guitar World series – new perspectives on the fretboard inspired by music from around the globe: Saharan harps, Ewe polyrhythm, Javanese microtonality, etc
- Raga Junglism’s ‘World of Tuning’ – everything you didn’t realise you wanted to know about guitar tuning…from Ming dynasty manuscripts to modern psychoacoustics (Guitar World/RJ)
Article sampler – full list here
- Ustad Shahid Parvez: ‘What you play spontaneously should be perfect’ – discussing intuition, bounded innovation, and hyper-discipline with the world’s leading sitarist (Darbar)
- What is it about drummers? Rock mythology vs. tales of the tabla – why have disparate societies of the East and West built such similar stereotypes around their percussionists? (RJ)
- Curious cultural interchange: Indian music in Bristol – anatomy of a fascinating, scattered micro-scene, featuring jazz-funk jams, temple chants, and apocalyptic prophecies (The Wire)
Lesson sampler – full list here
- Altered guitar tunings: audio ‘menu’ of 60+ – database of 6-string tunings from around the world, with sound samples, listening links, technical discussion, interrelations, etc (RJ)
- West African music for the fretboard – reworking Ghanaian polyrhythms and Malian kora harps, and learning about the human lives, routines, and cultures behind them (Guitar World)
- Jazz walking basslines: making them really groove – turning to the low end for harmonic and melodic inspiration, and adapting some ‘bassistic’ inflections for soloing (Guitar World)
- Quick Links: Listen to my music, read my writing, ask about online tuition, try out my free guitar resources. Currently I’m writing a Hindustani ‘Raga Index‘ with Darbar, and trying to unravel John Coltrane’s mysterious, handwritten ‘Scales of India‘ notes with some open-minded collaborators from around the globe. Get in touch!
All resources here will stay ad-free and open-access