Friday, December 28, 2007

New Music

Wendy got me this album for Christmas (thanks sweetie!). I don't know why it's taken me so long to take an interest in Remember Shakti, a 1997 album that revived one of my all-time favourite bands, Shakti, the mid-70s Indian-Jazz fusion group. I guess I didn't want to be disappointed. I definitely was not.

Remember Shakti is a brilliant collection of live music -- much more in vein of traditional Indian music than it is jazz. The big names on the album, guitarist John McLaughlin and tabla player Zakir Hussain are featured much less than I would have thought. Instead, bansuri master Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia dominates this double album with some of the most incredible, moving flute music I've ever heard. His playing on the two pieces of music he wrote for this album, "Chandrakauns," (33 min.) and "Mukti" (63 min.), as well as on the Shakti standard "Lotus Feet," left me with a profoundly reflective spirit. Vikku Vinayakram, who plays ghatam, which has to be one of the more soulful percussion instruments in the world, also has some really beautiful runs on this album.

I'm now on the hunt for Remember Shakti's follow-up album, The Believer, where Hariprasad Chaurasua is replaced by the Carnatic mandolin player, U. Srinvas. Also, I'm sure I've downloaded a couple of Remember Shakti's live shows from Dimeadozen over the years. Now I just have to dig them up, which isn't as easy as it sounds.

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