The Banyan Tree

by Mahabongo

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Welcome to our latest record. This is the fourth album of songs released by Mahabongo. The first was 'Swish It’s Everywhere' (2008). The second, 'Minus Ridiculous' (2012), is a selection of what are really demos, recorded mostly at home in the 1990s. The third, 'Murmuration' (2015), is a collection of both old and new songs.

On this album I was most fortunate to work with a wonderful team of musicians and technicians who very generously gave copiously of their time, taste and expertise. It was a treat working with all of you: huge thanks. I am particularly grateful to Beni Weedon (Sound Tailor Music), who acted as ‘file master’ for this project, and who added such delightful strings to the songs.

The banyan tree (Ficus bengalensis/benghalensis) is known in Sanskrit as nyagrodha, the ‘downwards grower’. Another of its Sanskrit names, beginning in the epic period, is vaṭa. In Hindi it is called bargad. The shoots from the branches of the banyan grow down into the ground, to then reemerge as another branch of the tree. In this way the banyan tree can grow enormously to cover hundreds of metres of ground. Veneration of this tree with hanging shoots is ancient. It appears on numerous artifacts from the Indus valley civilization (c. 2,500–1,500 BCE). It features frequently in the Vedas as a ‘heavenly’ tree with several mythological associations, and also in the Buddhist Jātaka tales, often as a ‘child-granting’ tree. In South Asia it has associations with both fertility and kingship and is the abode of tree-spirits (yakṣas and yakṣiṇīs). In folk Hinduism the banyan is associated with Śiva (as Vaṭapatreśvar) and Kālī (as Vaṭapatreśvarī).

Matthew Clark (Mahabongo), Hove (UK), October 2016.


released December 12, 2016

Dean Brodrick keyboards (6), accordion (10)
Maddy Brodrick vocals (3, 6, 10)
Matthew Clark vocals (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9),
guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), bamboo flute (10)
James Drohan drums (3, 6, 10)
Brian Kellner guitar, bass (5)
Steve Kellner drums (5)
Nikolai Petkoff saxophone (3, 6, 10)
Ben Socrates keyboards (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9)
Steve Wattis drums (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9)
Alfie Weedon bass (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
Beni Weedon violin (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), percussion (2, 4, 6)
Sue Wooder backing vocals (5)

All songs written and arranged by Matthew Clark
Saxophone arranged by Dean Brodrick
Violin arranged by Beni Weedon

Recorded between March and September 2016 at Brighton Electric (all tracks); at Bull Mill, Warminster (3, 6, 10); at Bushman Brothers studio, Hove (5). Engineers: Beni Weedon; Josh Harrison at Brighton Electric; Dean Brodrick at Bull Mill; Steve Kellner at Bushman Brothers studio.

Produced and mixed by Beni Weedon (Sound Tailor Music). ‘Who We Are’ produced and mixed by Brian and Steve Kellner (Bushman Brothers). Mastered by Steve Kellner.

CD design and artwork by Beni Weedon (Sound Tailor Music) and Matthew Clark (Mahabongo). The cover photo was taken by Prashant Tewatia in Mandrem (north Goa), near Arambol, where I have spent a lot of time over the last forty tears and where I have written many of my songs.



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Mahabongo Hove, UK

As Mahabongo, I have released three previous albums: 'Swish It’s Everywhere' (2008); 'Minus Ridiculous' (2012), which is a collection of what are really demos that I made in the late 1980s and 1990s. 'Murmuration was released in 2015. I live in Hove, on the south coast of England. ... more

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