(check out new photos and blog under the Japan title)
I just got back from a short trip that brought me to Moscow, Kharkov (Ukraine) and Eberbach (Germany). Such a warm welcome and a great time (even if the weather was a little chilly). Most people get on a plane for 15 hrs and leave Canada in order to get some nice weather. But not me, no siree. I fly East and a little North where it’s pretty much the same weather. I can see why so many Ukrainians made their homes in central Canada. It’s very similar – right down to the maple trees.
Moscow was a pretty epic concert. Although non-flawless and a little long, there was very cool stuff going on. Including: Rezwana Choudhury Bannya – the foremost authority in Bengladesh and the world on the music of Rabindranath Tagore,
The Blue Gold Shore of the Beyond – multi-instrumentalists from Siberia, Pravin, Premik and friends – smokin’ East meets West wind players, and the Gandharva Loka Orchestra – international orchestra and choir.
I had the good fortune of playing bass with the Gandharva Loka Orchestra, and also provided some faux-tambura on the acoustic guitar for Premik and Pravin. I really enjoyed that.
The Orchestra was mostly made up of musicians and signers from Russia and the former Soviet Union and I was really impressed with their hard work and great musicianship. We put together almost 2 hours of music in a few days. Actually I and other so-called Westerners arrived a few days before the concert, but the Russians put in about 10 days of dedicated rehearsing.
In Kharkov we had 1500 people attending the concert and it was a tighter affair than in Moscow. Different program too. Alap from Switzerland did a number on the duduk and Mandu and Vishudhi from Austria also did their haunting harp and erhu performance. I got to play some of my arrangements with Premik, Pravin and my friend and great percussionist Anton.
The day after the concert I spent the day in Kharkov and had a nice time. Sadanand and I played a little music at a meditation class that was held in an art gallery showing original Jharna Kala paintings.
Then it was off to Germany for a week-end retreat with 500 of my closest friends. That was loads of fun too. Naturally it involved playing some music also, in a more impromptu way.
All in all, a lovely trip and I am grateful to all the people who welcomed me and help me along the way. See you all again soon, I hope!