In this episode of the MFM Speaks Out, Dawoud Kringle interviews California based musician, improviser, composer, and inventor of the Bazantar Mark Deutsch about his personal evolution from contrabass and sitar virtuoso to designing an unprecedented musical instrument, his artistic and spiritual philosophies on music, and the struggles of being an innovator and iconoclast. Mark started as a “go to guy” on both bass and sitar, before immersing himself in the Bazantar. He produced The Fool, his first recording of the Bazantar, and recently, The Picasso Tunings; a four CD release of music utilizing a set of tuning systems and templates for composition and improvisation that has no historical precedent. In 2019, after releasing The Picasso Tunings, he embarked upon a solo tour of the US, traveling cross country, and introducing his music to a wider audience. He is presently at work upon a new composition based on the I Ching (“The Book of Changes;” a Chinese book of divination dating back to the 10th century b.c.).
Look, I get it, OK? This is a hard life we chose. We are trying to cultivate our skills and build a career and a reputation for ourselves. And somehow, through it all, we have to pay the bills, keep a roof over our heads, and put food on the table.
As we all know, there is some sort of mythological historical model that musicians must pay their dues. And despite the vague details surrounding this idea, there is certainly some truth to it. A musician must prove him or herself, must cultivate his or her skills, and build one’s business from the foundation up.