Shakti Foundation, had organised a concert of music at the Music Academy on the 19th of this month, some called it 'fusion' music, but it was quite a good music - no distortion of any type of music. They called it 'Aurjitya', means 'energy', the energy of music, we can say. All the four players, blended all the instruments so well that I was not bored even for a minute throughout the two and a half hours of the concert.
When I saw the advertisement in the newspaper, I asked my son if he was interested in attending the concert. He said 'yes' and insisted that I should accompany him. First, I thought, it is not Hindustani or Carnatic music but mostly percussion, so I may not be able to sit with the loud sound for a long time. And I saw the photos of Melmaruvattoor Aadi Parashakti and the poojari of that temple, Bangaru Adigalaar, whom I despise, as soon as I entered the Music Academy and sat in my seat! Thank god, the organisers never mentioned the name of the temple or the poojari during their speech! And, I enjoyed the music throughout, alongwith the mostly, young audience! Selva Ganesh saw to it that we got involved with their music. He is a great entertainer! We, Chennai people are not that outgoing to even move our hands for clapping that easily, but here, we followed the rhythm with our hands!
The best part in the concert, according to me, was Kanjira, by Selva Ganesh. This unique instrument, which was not very popular earlier, seems to catch interest now, thanks to Selva Ganesh! I got some videos of his concerts abroad, but nothing is comparable to what he played here, in this concert. The sound which came out from that small instrument was wonderful! His konnakkol (vocal percussion), also was very good. But, he is the son of the legendary ghatam player, Vikku Vinayakram, who is world famous and is a key player with Shakti band.
Nobody needs introduction for Mandolin Srinivas. He is a great musician, but in this programme, he was not his usual self. But the sound of the mandolin and Jonas's Guitar were so peaceful with the other faster paced musical instruments.
Jonas Hellborg, is a Swedish bass guitarist. I don't know much about this instrument, but it blended well with the other instruments. He and Selva Ganesh are in a band for the past 15 years, it seems.
Steve Smith, is a famous American Drummer. He is not connected with any of the other musicians here. But the Organiser, Mrs. Raghuvir, invited him to come and play in this concert and he flew down from the US, reached here at about 12.30 pm, started rehearsing from 2 pm and played superbly at the concert on the same day! He had been playing drums with Zakir Hussein, Prasanna etc. for many years now and is very familiar with Indian music. He did konnakkol (oral percussion of South Indian classical music style) along with Selva Ganesh. He didn't seem to just memorise the rhythm, but enjoyed our music (Watch the video and you can know, how much he enjoys Indian music!). More than that, he was a happy man, smiling all the time and moving his hands and legs like an octopus!
The four musicians came from 3 continents, but blended well with each other. They gave space to each other, did not stamp on others' feet and were very happy people. We enjoyed the evening.
The Shakti foundation organised this programme for its “Project Ramp”, one of its attempts to make Chennai barrier-free for the disabled. This project was presented in the short film prelude, featuring the foundation's brand ambassadors Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble.
Now, here are some interesting videos of these artists. Hope you enjoy like I did!
Edited to add on 24.2.11: Another earlier post on the 'fusion music' category