Day By Day

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sitar at the Shriver

Had an interesting afternoon yesterday. "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I joined the "Gang of Seven" for lunch, then we all headed off to the BMA for a Shriver Discovery Concert. This time it was ragas from India played by Nishat Kahn on the sitar and Nitin Mitta on tabla.

Kahn is a renowned performer and innovator who has experimented with a wide range of musical forms. Over the course of his career he has integrated sitar with Gregorian chants, classical music, abstract jazz, and Flamenco. He has worked with John McLaughlin, Philip Glass, Paco Pena, Evelyn Glennie and Django Bates as well as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Jeff Beck. He is a terrific showman and his virtuosity is overwhelming. He warned us that his concerts sometimes last five hours -- I doubt that anyone in the audience would have objected if this one had gone that long.

Nishat Kahn is from one of India's legendary musical families. Here is a video of him performing with his father and brothers.

Mitta is a rising talent who has worked with many of the top musicians in India. Here is a short video of him and Kahn performing together in Chicago. It gives you some hint of what we saw and heard.

Fascinating stuff.