Under the sun

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Remembering Shakti - The Concert

Chennai, Kamaraj Memorial, December 7th 7PM Tickets availble at Landmark from today onwards
Shakti are: U.Srinivas - Mandolin John McLaughlin - Electric/Acoustic guitar Zakhir Hussain - Tabla Selvaganesh - Ganjira Shankar Mahadevan - Vocals [Vikku Vinayakaram made a fantastic 'guest' appearance with his gatam]

It was pure bliss at the Kamaraj Memorial auditorium on December 7. Orgasmic. The total was greater than the sum of the parts and how. Each performer is a genius in his own right. Music of the highest quality. Incredible copulation of jazz and Indian classical music.

Mandolin Srinivas - My favorite. Was at his sublime best but i had a slight tinge of regret that his solos weren't long enough and he underplayed his bit (especially in 'Giriraja Sudha' which was his adaptation of the original kriti where Shankar Mahadevan absoluetly blew the audience's minds with his breathless precision controlled vocals). At one point he played some notes using just the slide and no fingering. Even John didn't have a 'reply'

Zakhir Hussain - Peerless! That he makes the tabla speak is well known but he had more - often he would use his left hand on the tabla as a bass drum and use his other for the cymbals and the snare playing vintage jazz drums. Genius. Sivamani was sitting in the front row watching his guru perform[An apparently drunk man came dancing into the hall mid-concert and started shouting his cheers and suggestions 'C'mon John, jazz it up a li'l more", "Bring on Vikku now man!". Similar to Prathap Bothan in Sindhu Bhairavi. Zakhir would have none of it and he announced on the mike with an ice-cold voice "The gentleman who seems to have a problem, if you don't find us living upto your expectations, please collect your money and leave. Otherwise, SHUT UP!" to be greeted by loud cheers and whistles of approval from the audience]

John McLaughlin - "Jazz meets Carnatic meets [in a couple of phrases] Latino meets Hindustani". Zakhir Hussain, after the first song exclaimed "Here's to the greatest Indian Classical Musician!.....(pauses for surprise)...John McLaughlin...." and "....its not easy even for Indian musicians to sit cross-legged for hours in concert..."

Shankar Mahadevan - 'Giriraja Sudha'. Enough said. [Wonder what this genius is doing in TFM singing 'kuthu' songs]

Selvaganesh - Adhu kayya illa machine-a?? One thani avarthanam in an original Shakti composition starting with jazz and seemlessly breaking into percussion solos had Selvaganesh playing non-stop for 15 minutes. For a few brief seconds the ganjira even doubled up as a bass for jazz :)

If a mere lay music-lover like me whose interest in music is grossly mismatched by the (lack of) knowledge could enjoy and appreciate it so much, wonder how it would have been for a real student or performer....

P.S: As expected, the coverage of the event in the media was a shame. The Hindu just had a little 'general' write-up in the second page. Haven't found a detailed piece/review or photo feature anywhere yet


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