‘Govanhill Voice caught up with Derek Motley from the Southside based band E Karika Djal to find out a bit more about them and what they have been up to…
Hey Sir I‘ve seen you guys play in a couple of different venues in town like the Art School, City Chambers and in the Southside’s Govanhill Baths, but can you tell our readers a bit about the band?
We began as a funded project to bring together local musicians including members of the Roma community. There were some who were sceptical about being able to form a band in such a short time but our identity soon evolved and it remains strong to this day. We want to bring songs and styles from everyone’s musical backgrounds and forge our own sound. The repertoire is drawn from well known Roma songs, Scottish music, klezmer tunes, Maori songs and Gypsy jazz.
You are all based in the Southside but you are made up of a widely travelled bunch. Where is everyone in the band from originally?
Our current lineup includes very talented people from the Polish Roma community in Clydebank as well as folks from Slovakia, Scotland, The Czech Republic and New Zealand. None of us are Glaswegians by birth but we all call Glasgow home.
A BBC news article on the band.
What does the band name mean? What language is it and how does it reflect the bands ethos or purpose?
E Karika Djal is Romani and means “the moving wheel”. I suppose it reflects the fact that we’ve all come from somewhere else. Romani is distantly related to the languages of Northern India where I spent some time a few years back. I was surprised by the similarities between everyday words in the Roma and Hindi languages. For instance, the word for wheel is “Karika” in Romani and “Chakra” in Sanskrit. As you can probably tell, I’m in touch with my inner nerd.
You cover a fair base of music from different traditions to modern covers can you tell us a bit more about how you choose music and why?
The band is democratic in terms of choosing music. We’ve lately been working on some medleys where we’re splicing ideas and tunes together. The Roma people have a rich and varied musical heritage so there’s no shortage of material to draw from and some form of fusion is inevitable.
An early promo video outlining the bands aims and goals.
What have this year’s live performance highlights been?
Our performance in the Old Fruitmarket as part of the Celtic Connections festival gave us some exposure and beforehand we were interviewed by BBC Scotland for radio and television. We shared the bill on Burns night with some great musicians from Palestine and Syria. Locally, we played in events surrounding International Roma Day and just this weekend we had a nice gig in the sunshine at the Tramway for the Scottish Refugee Council..
Do you have any gigs planned folks can maybe catch you at, be it community appearances or ticketed shows?
The best way to find out about where we’re playing is through our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ekarikaedjal/ As far as I know, there’s no other band in country quite like us and we get offers to play from all sorts of organisations.
E Karika Djal – Me Tut Na Kamav in Tchaiovna.
Do you have any recordings available for purchase online or do you have any plans to release anything this year?
We recently recorded a few songs at a studio in the East End. They’re being mixed at the moment and should be available on Soundcloud or Bandcamp shortly. There’ll links on the Facebook page. We’re also applying for funding to record an album so we’ll be keeping busy.
What is next for E Karika Djal?’
We want to play as much as possible and to maintain the original purpose of the band by demonstrating that people from different backgrounds can come together on an equal footing and make good music. As well as performing and recording, we’ve had offers to be involved with music education. The BBC is still interested in promoting us. I’d like us to film some sort of flashmob for our youtube channel as a way of promoting the band. We’ve also looked into forming a social enterprise group to promote social integration through music. I think we’ve more than fulfilled the original remit for the band and there is real friendship and respect between us.
You can find us on facebook;
& Band camp;