Remember Shakti: Giriraj Sudha
Saturday Night In Bombay (Verve 440 014 164-2)
John McLaughlin (guitar),
Shankar Mahadevan (vocals), Zakir Hussain (tabla), V. Selvaganesh (kanjira, ghatam, mridangam), U. Shrinivas (mandolin), A.K. Pallanivel (tavil).
Composed by U. Srinivas.
Recorded: live in Bombay, India, December 8, 2000
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Guitarist John McLaughlin's group Remember Shakti, which he co-leads with tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, has had two lives. As Shakti, the Indo-jazz fusion group turned heads a quarter century ago with its fusing of Western jazz and Indian classical music. Yet despite critical acclaim, Shakti could never sell enough records to please its label, Columbia. The band's "world music" was apparently too new for the world. In the late '90s, McLaughlin and Hussain re-formed with mandolinist U. Shrinivas replacing violinist L Shankar, and percussionist V. Selvaganesh succeeding his father, Vikku Vinayakram. This time around, the world was ready. Remember Shakti, as it is now known, sells out its shows around the globe. Saturday Night in Bombay, recorded live, features special guest stars and was nominated for a Grammy. How things changed in 25 years!
"Giriraj Sudha" was composed by U. Shrinivas. The renowned Indian vocalist Shankar Mahadevan and tavil player A.K. Pallanivel join Remember Shakti for this performance. The ever-present drone and some McLaughlin chords back Mahadevan for the tune's opening. Soon the catchy melody is introduced by Shrinivas's mandolin. Mahadevan sings the theme in unison with the mandolin and guitar and also to the beats of percussionists V. Selvaganesh and A.K. Pallanivel. There is much open space in "Giriraj Sudha," allowing for a greater appreciation of the phenomenal timekeeping. The musical conversations range from monosyllabic vocals matched beat to beat, to long vocal-instrumental runs executed with a joyful precision that bring waves of applause from the engaged audience. It is impossible to not get caught up in the Indo-jazz fusion hooks and various rhythms that populate this song. Ten minutes never flew by so fast.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky