The year was 1974. The best of both the west and the east came together to create the kind of fusion music that had never been heard before. Shakti was formed and of course, each of the band’s members is a brilliant musician in their own right. However, what was most interesting was that it was the first time such remarkable musicians from across the globe and from such different schools of music collaborated. What resulted was a magical album in 1976 called Shakti with John Mclaughlin, combining Indian classical music with western jazz elements.
The musical geniuses of the group included English guitarist John McLaughlin, Indian violin player L. Shankar, percussionists Zakir Hussain (on tabla)and T. H. "Vikku" Vinayakram (on Ghatam), along with Ramnad Raghavan (on mridangam). The group enjoyed widespread success over the years. Some twenty years later, the only two surviving members of the group, McLaughlin, and Hussain put together another band with the same concept, called Remember Shakti. It includes V. Selvaganesh (son of T. H. "Vikku" Vinayakram ), mandolin player U. Shrinivas and eventually the musical virtuoso, Shankar Mahadevan. When you have an ensemble like that, legendary music is bound to be produced.
The first track I heard by Shakti was Lotus Feet and I was completely overwhelmed by the composition. The flute at the introduction, Zakir Hussain’s tabla, and the entire transcendental soundscape is a treat to the ears. I was only sixteen years old then but from that day onwards it has always been one of my dreams to watch them perform live. So you can imagine my excitement, along with thousands of music enthusiasts, when I heard the news that Remember Shakti will reunite in an ‘east-meets-west musical confluence’ at the start of the new year. In India when they take the stage in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi as a part of their 50th anniversary world tour.
This is one of the renditions of the track on International Jazz Day at Istanbul.
Shakti is everything I could imagine on alevel of musical offering. As far as I'm concerned, it is the pinnacle, the musical nirvana, of my career.
The quintet is also launching a new studio album to mark its golden anniversary. The world begins in India on January 20, 2023, in Be Bengaluru, followed by Mumbai (January 22), Kolkata (January), and Delhi (January 28), before traveling to Europe and the United States of America.
You can book your tickets here.