Music that matters Music

Blues with a dash of Hindustani

At this instrumental concert for charity, travel through genres like jazz, funk and Indian Classical that transcend boundaries

In a veritable amalgamation of musical flavours from different parts of the world, Shakti Foundation has brought aboard jazz, funk, Latin, Hindustani and Carnatic musicians for its charity concert this year.

Organised by Mumbai-based Stephen Devassy on the keys, the Guruttama concert, directed by musician Rajkumar Rajamani, will have no vocals. “It will be a night of pure music: mellow, soft, powerful, aggressive, everything!” says Stephen.

The 150-minute concert will feature five musicians who are well-versed in transcending genres, says Stephen, who himself is just as skilled in jazz, funk, and blues, as he is in Indian classical.

French musicians Dominique Di Piazza and Matthias Muller will be on the bass and lead guitar respectively. On the purely Carnatic front will be Abhijith Nair and his violin, whereas Bickram Ghosh will be on Hindustani tablas. Also on percussion is Rodney Holmes with his drums. The evening will progress from classical and fusion arrangements composed by the late mandolin legend U Srinivas, to jazz arrangements by Dominique and Matthias.

In fact, it was U Srinivas who would curate musical nights like these every year for the Shakti Foundation, until his death. It’s a role Stephen has taken on since last year, though his association with the Foundation goes back to 2007.

“I played in a concert with Zakir Hussain back then, for the foundation, and have been playing since then,” he says. For him, it is not just about the music, but about the kind of work that Shakti Foundation does.

“Our foundation has been working towards better inclusion of people with physical disabilities,” says Vasanth Raghuvir, adding that it was her son, Velan, who started the foundation. “He was dependent on a wheelchair since the age of 10, and that’s when we realised how difficult it is to navigate in this world, for someone with different abilities.” Though her son passed away, she says the crusade goes on, tirelessly.

Apart from building an inclusive world, the foundation also works towards making medical aid financially accessible for the less privileged. For this, the foundation organises two concerts every year: one in February, like Guruttama, which has seen participation of musical giants such as Zakir Hussain and Michael Brook play. The other, on August 24, is for the children they work with; they get to sing on stage, while Stephen accompanies them on the piano.

The proceeds will go towards buying laparoscopy equipment for Adhiparasakthi Institute Of Medical Sciences and Research Hospital, Melmaruvathur. The concert will be held at The Music Academy, on February 23, 7 pm. Donor passes available at Shakti Foundation — 9, Manikeswari Road, Kilpauk. For details, call 26611213.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 9:29:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/shakti-foundations-concert-for-charity-marries-jazz-blues-and-indian-classical/article26331410.ece

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