John McLaughlin Guitar
Monday, September 29, 2003,
Cedar Cultural Center
Dakota Bar & Grill
Indian Music Society of Minnesota (IMSOM)
Minnesota Orchestra and
Walker Art Center
Sponsored by Target.
About Remember Shakti:
John McLaughlin is legendary for his blending of jazz with classical Indian musical structures. In 1975, he and Zakir Hussain, the Tabla virtuoso, formed the quartet Shakti - a forerunner of world music as it has been popularized today. Shakti is Sanskrit for creative intelligence, beauty and power. After nearly two decades, the reinvented and resurrected Shakti returns as Remember Shakti and makes its extraordinary Minnesota debut on September 29 at the Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. McLaughlin and Hussain reconvene with U. Shrinivas (Mandolin) and V. Selvaganesh (Ghatam, Kanjira, Mridangam) in that continuing spirit of innovation and musical adventurousness.
The music produced here fuses elements and notes from the Western genres of Jazz with Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian) classical music into a unifying whole. The basis of the music relies heavily on the conversation among the artists through their respective instruments. As Bill Smith, in one of his concerts reviews has put it, "A sustained yet ever frantic exchange of rhythmic ideas that seems inexhaustible". In this concert, the audience will experience a new adventure in music through the combination of two distinct yet equally riveting facets of world music, Jazz and Indian Classical music. This unique concert will be a delectable treat for all music lovers in the Twin Cities.
In this unprecedented five-way collaboration, IMSOM joins forces with Cedar Cultural Center, Dakota Bar and Grill, Minnesota Orchestra and Walker Art Center, to present Remember Shakti in Minneapolis.
About the Artists:
A household name since the early '70s, John McLaughlin was an innovative fusion guitarist when he led the Mahavishnu Orchestra and has continued to live up to his reputation as a phenomenal and consistently inquisitive player through the years. He started on guitar when he was 11 and was initially inspired by blues and swing players. McLaughlin worked with Alexis Korner, Graham Bond, Ginger Baker and others in the 1960s and played free jazz with Gunter Hampel for six months. His first album was a classic (1969's Extrapolation) and was followed by an obscurity for the Dawns label with John Surman, a quintet set with Larry Young (Devotion) and My Goals Beyond in 1970 which was half acoustic solos and half jams involving Indian musicians.
In 1969 McLaughlin moved to New York to play with Tony Williamss Lifetime and he appeared on two classic Miles Davis records: In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. In 1971 McLaughlin formed the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a very powerful group often thought of as rock but having the sophisticated improvisations of jazz. After three influential albums (The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire and Between Nothingness and Eternity), the group disbanded in 1973. McLaughlin, who recorded a powerful spiritual album with Carlos Santana that was influenced by John Coltrane, put together a new Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1974 that, despite the inclusion of Jean-Luc Ponty, failed to catch on and broke up by 1975. McLaughlin then surprised the music world by radically shifting directions, switching to acoustic guitar and playing Indian music with his group Shakti. They made a strong impact on the world music scene (which was then in its infancy) during their three years together. Since then McLaughlin has gone back and forth between electric and acoustic guitars, leading the One Truth Band, playing in trios with Al DiMeola and Pacs De Lucia, popping up on some mid-'80s Miles Davis records, forming a short-lived third version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra (with saxophonist Bill Evans), recording an introspective tribute to pianist Bill Evans and in 1993 touring with a rollicking jazz trio featuring Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Dennis Chambers. Throughout his productive career John McLaughlin has recorded as a leader for Marmalade, Dawns, Douglas International, Columbia, Warner Bros. and Verve.
The tradition of Indian percussion has been revolutionalized by Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain. The son of Ustad Allah Rakha, the long time collaborator of Pandit Ravi Shankar, Hussain has inherited his father's quest for bringing the music of India to the international stage. Still a youngster when he began to attract attention with his virtuosic playing, Hussain began his musical career at the age of seven and was touring by the age of twelve. In 1970, he made his American debut as accompanist for Ravi Shankar. Three years later, he became the leader of the Tal Vadya Rhythm Band. The group subsequently evolved into the Diga Rhythm Band. His recording credits include albums with George Harrison, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Jack Bruce, Tito Puente, Pharoah Saunders, Billy Cobham, the Hong Kong Symphony and the New Orleans Symphony. His work with Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead has included performances and albums with the Diga Rhythm Band and Planet Drum. Hussain joined with British guitarist John McLaughlin and Indian violinist L. Shankar to form the east-meets-west quartet, Shakti, in 1975. Although the group disbanded in 1978, they reunited to tour as Remember Shakti in 1998. Hussain has been equally successful as a bandleader. During the 1980s, he toured with Zakir Hussain and the Rhythm Experience. His debut solo album, Making Music, released in 1987, was called "one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums ever recorded". In 1992, Hussain launched a record label, Moment Records that focused on live recordings of Indian music. A lengthy list of awards has been bestowed upon Hussain throughout his career. In 1988, he became the youngest percussionist to be awarded the title Padma Shri by the Indian government. Two years later, he received the Indo-American award in tribute to his contributions to furthering relations between the United States and India. Planet Drum, an album co-produced with Hart in 1992, received a Grammy for the Best World Music Album, a NARM Indie Best Seller award and won the Downbeat Critics Poll for Best World Music Album. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2002, one of Indias highest civilian honors. Hussain has performed on the soundtracks of numerous films including In Custody, Heat and Dust and Little Buddha.
Mandolin U. Shrinivas
Among all the musicians from Southern India U. Shrinivas occupies a particularly significant position. This maestro of the mandolin was trained in the city of Chennai (formerly Madras), without doubt the best place to learn the musical art of the Carnatic tradition. Born in 1969 in the state of Andhra Pradesh, U. Shrinivas demonstrated amazing musical abilities from a tender age and soon joined that long line of child prodigies that populate the Carnatic music scene. He received his initial training from his father and later from Rudraraju Subbaraju, a well -known vocalist. Shrinivas gave his first concert in Gudivada, India, at the age of nine. He is the first ever known exponent of mandolin as a Carnatic concert instrument. Also known as Mandolin Shrinivas (only the greatest of performers are permitted to place the name of their instrument before their own last name), he has singularly elevated the status of this instrument that has only recently became a part of Indian classical music. It should be stated, though, that the five-string Indian mandolin is quite different from its western counterpart, looking somewhat similar to a small electric guitar. Dedicated to the tradition of his own country, U. Shrinivas has nonetheless over the course of his career also made inroads into other genres, interweaving without compromise his own musical path with those of numerous western artists. His refined sensibility has led to profitable collaborations with Michael Brook and John McLaughlin in whose renowned group Remember Shakti he currently plays. He has also recorded extensively for western labels like Real World, Verve and Globestyle. Among his many awards that have followed are, the Sangeeta Ratna, the Mysore T. Chowdiah Memorial National Award, the National Citizens Award, the Best Artist Award from the Music Academy of Madras and the Rajiv Gandhi National Integration Award. Mandolin Shrinivas is today one of Indias most popular and revered artists.
Selvaganesh is a young percussion maestro widely considered as the foremost Kanjira player of his generation. The son of the legendary T. H. (Vikku) Vinayakram, India's foremost Ghatam exponent who was a member of the original Shakti ensemble, Selvaganesh is a child prodigy who has received widespread recognition for his virtuosity with this instrument. His career began in 1986 at the age of 14 years. He has been accompanying all the greats of Carnatic music such as Lalgudi Jayaraman, Mandolin U. Shrinivas, M. S. Subbalakshmi etc. For the past 3 years, he has been touring worldwide with Zakir Hussain as part of Remember Shakti.
IMSOM, established in 1980, is a registered non-profit (501(c)(3)) organization serving Minneapolis-St.Paul and the greater Twin Cities Metro Area.
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