What a wet spring its been in London! Certainly doesn't provide much inspiration as I've been trying to learn the opening lines of "Spring" by Vivaldi on my guitar.
The spring began with much promise - My first trip to the Royal Albert Hall and second concert by Nitin Sawhney. Royal Albert Hall was something else! It is definitely the most beautiful venue and Sawhney did a piece on the hall organ - which was interesting.
Sawhney mixes new elements into his performance every time. His music can be best be described as "world music". Although "Nadia" remains my favorite and I hope to hear the Rina Bhardwaj version on stage some day.
The following week, Roger Waters was in town on his The Wall tour. I had been thinking of going for a long time, but was still debating. But after the Nitin Sawhney show I felt I could not miss this for anything in the world. And how right I was!
The show was spectacular. I knew every sound, every little note..The show was a complete walk down memory lane and I couldn't help but miss my friends with whom we used to listen to the album every day and night...I am short of words at this point, I absolutely loved it! But it was also bitter sweet - I wondered if Roger Waters or Pink Floyd would ever tour again..
Last week, I went to a concert that completely moved me. It was a Pandit Ravi Shankar concert at the Barbican. He is celebrating his ninth decade! He looked un-recognisably frail and had to eat "energy food" in between recitals. But other than that, it was pure magic.
It made me nostalgic to the time I first heard the sitar. It was sometime during my school days when I heard a friend of mine play and loved the sound so much I felt I had to learn to play this instrument.
He started with Alap in Yaman - Kalyan followed by Raag Tilak-Shyam (his own Raaga creation) in teen taal. In between, he suddenly felt the urge to Rabindranath Tagore, so he played a song by Tagore! The highlight was "Khamaaj" a seamless amalgamation of many raagas in different taals. He played the sitar in a way that I had never heard before - dulling the sound to make it sound like a percussion instrument rather than a stringed one (something I had learned on the guitar just the week before!) The performance ended in a smooth jhala.
We all gave a standing ovation and asked for an encore, but I guess he was just too tired. I just hope that I get to hear an encore soon!
Overall, its not been a bad spring..afterall, how often do you get to listen to two musical legends in completely opposite genres in the same season.