In early 2018, jazz-rock outlet Garaj Mahal announced they would reunite for the first time in almost eight years.
However, in a new Facebook post, bassist Kai Eckhardt describes the dilemma of receiving “a stream of very good offers from festivals” yet having “virtually no availability from all four [band] members at the same time.”
Eckhardt continues to say that in the interest of keeping the band alive he has asked Fareed Haque to “co-lead” the band.
The new Garaj Mahal will “present a couple of new line-ups while at the same time keeping the original members on board as part of the family.”
Read Eckhardt’s full statement below:
Dear fans and promoters,
After a seven year hiatus, the doors of the Garaj Mahal have opened once again thanks to you, our loyal fans both in Canada and the United States. It was your demand for our return that prompted promoters to reach out to us with great offers – first at Element Music Festival in BC – and then last weekend in Colorado at The Caribou Room and Psychedelic Ripple. Our reunion was highly improbable, almost impossible, but here we are.
Despite our joyous reunion the future of our band ended up looking bleak because of restrictions placed on individual member’s availability. Since our early days, children have come into the mix and economic responsibilities have risen to a new level, keeping part of the team locked into other responsibilities including a year-round contract with another band.
Being the band mediator made me aware of the catch 22 we are currently facing between a stream of very good offers from festivals – and virtually no availability from all four members at the same time until further notice.
This left me with only one of two choices:
To retire the band with a slim possibility of resurrecting it several years from now, or to co-lead with the member who was free to get on board and move ahead right now.
After weighing the pros and cons, consulting with band members, agents and promoters…
I asked Fareed Haque to join forces with me in co-leading Garaj Mahal.
We are going to present a couple of new line-ups while at the same time keeping the original members on board as part of the family. Nobody gets fired. Instead we are expanding our inner circle to include some amazing musicians yet to be discovered by many of you. Our long time members are still our musical equals in the mix, but to the degree they are not available, Fareed and I will be in charge of navigating the ship.
What fans can expect from us in the near future is a time of exploration and venture into the unknown. We are going to rely on the highest level of musicianship within the context of good vibes on stage. Rather than competing with our own legacy, we will allow for something new to be born from the love we have for our fans and the music.
Out there in the world today, there is so much pain, fear, separation and conflict. Because of that we can not stay home and wait right now. Garaj Mahal has a mission to accomplish and that mission is to reach for unity in harmony through music.
With appreciation and humility we thank our fans who have helped us come this far. We hope you will continue to share this journey with us, pushing the envelope and learning together with us by trial and error. We take risks. Sometimes we fall, but surely we will rise.
I shall leave you with a little snippet of Garaj Mahal’s lyrics:
“Rich or poor, black or white,
straight or gay, religious or not,
like it or not,
lessons are learned in the melting pot.
This is not the time to be small,
this is the time to stand tall,
listen to the rhythm of your heart
we all play a part
in the never ending dance of life…”