45 Yrs On, Zakir, John Mclaughlin’s Shakti Release New Album
Titled ‘This Moment’, the album offers a set of eight new compositions and performances with McLaughlin on guitar and guitar synth and Hussain on tabla joined by vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, percussionist V. Selvaganesh and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan.
The album also features a tribute to ‘Mandolin’ U. Shrinivas, a former band member of Shakti.
Zakir Hussain said, “The discovery each time you sit as a group, to play and perform, is like climbing Everest from different angles. Every time it is a whole different point of view, marveling at how you do the same but it’s not the same. Having that kind of interaction, conversation between the group, the creative idea process is something that is Shakti, and it is exclusive to Shakti.”
John McLaughlin said, “‘This Moment’, the new ‘studio’ album is a true labor of love. The music on this recording represents a quantum leap in the musical evolution of Shakti. It represents 50 years of working and playing together beginning in 1973.”
He added, “The numerous concerts we have played, the number of times we have been together working on our musical development, have brought us to the point where it has all been brought together here and now in the 21st Century. This album is a crystallization of five decades of love and dedication. Our musical evolution recorded here, is really a revolution in the history of Shakti.”
The compositions in the album highlight different vocal and instrumental sub-groups within Shakti as they transition between taut thematic statements and, quite naturally feature solos from McLaughlin and Rajagopalan, with rhythmic shifts, rounded up by deft vocal passages by Mahadevan.
Mahadevan said, “We took advantage of the fact that we were all isolated during the lockdown, and John ji took the lead. So, from remote places all over the world, files were going back and forth, we had a common drop box, everybody listened to it, put their part, brought it back, exchanged comments on a WhatsApp group, oh my god! How we executed this album ‘This Moment’ is remarkable. It was an experience, and we really enjoyed the process.”