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Exclusive Premiere: South Africa’s Guy Buttery and Shimla’s Rachanachar Team Up for Enchanting Live Version of ‘I Know This Place’

The artists take on a soothing jam coupling the African instrument Mbira and acoustic guitar

Anurag Tagat Jun 26, 2020

Guy Buttery and Rachanachar live during their India tour in November 2019. Photo: Nosh Haus, Kochi

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You could just say that South African artist Guy Buttery and Shimla-based fingerstyle guitarist-composer Rachanachar aka Pranjal Uniyal are in a mutual admiration society. Following their 2019 India tour together, the guitarists both had more than just nice words about each other. “Pranjal felt like a brother immediately,” Buttery says over email.

Uniyal describes Buttery as a “calm monk fused with a super energetic cyclone.” He adds, “I was lucky to travel, play live music and consequently learn so much from him. To my surprise, Mr. Buttery has done the quickest sound checks I’ve witnessed till date.” During their tour – organized by event and artist company Pinecone Records – Buttery and Uniyal sat down to jam on the former’s song “I Know This Place.” Uniyal says, “It was a completely spontaneous jam and we knew right at that moment that this could be performed live too.”

With Buttery playing the plucky, soothing notes from the mbira (an African thumb piano) and Rachanachar helming guitar rhythms, this new version of “I Know This Place” was captured at the Bengaluru stop of the tour in November. Although previously experimented upon – including a string quartet – by Buttery, the artist says he saw the opportunity in having an mbira, “especially in India.”

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While Uniyal is working on his debut full-length for Rachanachar, Buttery mentions that the lockdown has bought him time to finish projects like one he recorded just outside New Delhi during his tour. “The incredible tabla player Mohd Amjad Khan and sarangi master Mudassir Khan [were involved]… We hope to release in late 2020. Let’s hope I can get back to India real soon and do another tour that side. First prize if we can coax Rachanachar to join us once again,” he adds.

Watch the video for “I Know This Place” below.


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