Shakti: La Danse Du Bonheur


La Danse Du Bonheur




A Handful of Beauty (Sony SRCS 7015)

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John McLaughlin (guitar), Shankar (violin),

Zakir Hussain (tabla, percussion), T.H Vinayakram (ghatam, percussion)


Composed by John McLaughlin & L. Shankar


Recorded: London, August 1976


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

In the mid-1970s, "La Danse Du Bonheur" was a real showstopper in concert for Shakti. When the modern version of the Shakti band, Remember Shakti, hit the road again in the late '90s, the tune was resurrected with the same result. Co-written by McLaughlin and L. Shankar, "La Danse Du Bonheur" is the indo-jazz equivalent of a Western "feel good" song.

An engaging Indian vocal call and response (konokol) begins the tune. Per tradition, these voices establish the rhythm cycle of the upbeat, sing-songy piece. Violinist Shankar plays the melody and takes the only solo, with McLaughlin playing Western chords as backing. Climbing up and down the octaves with increasing rapidity and emotion, Shankar uses every possible position on the neck. The drumming is remarkably fast and precise. Brevity and harmony are not as integral a part of Indian music as they tend to be in the Western forms. But "La Danse Du Bonheur," almost more than any other Shakti tune, is shorter and contains more harmonic elements. This is perhaps the reason non-Indian fans of the new music this band brought to the table were better able to identify with it. They got swept up in its joyful message, which easily transcends any musical idiom.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

Related Links

In Conversation with John McLaughlin by Walter Kolosky
The Dozens: John McLaughlin on Standards by Walter Kolosky

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