I’m overdue for a blog on my recent trip to Russia and Ukraine.
This took place at the end of September and early October.? My last trip in Sept 2009 was really a great time and this one even more so as I stayed about 10 days.? It started in Moscow with a few days of rehearsal with the Gandharva Loka Orchestra.? 95% of the musicians were from the former Soviet Union with the odd Swiss, German or Canadian here and there.? Using the score that Vapushtara (Amsterdam) worked out we were able to recreate largely the sound that we get when the orchestra is mostly composed of Western Europeans and North Americans.? It’s really cool to hear it come together.? The first Songs of the Soul concert in Moscow also coincided with the end of the Russian and European World Harmony Run for this year.? I had the honor and priveledge of attending the closing ceremony at the Red Square.? How cool is that? There was also a small meditation convention where I was able to play some of my arrangements of Sri Chinmoy‘s songs with my friends from Russia.? Including Igor from the group Blue-Gold Shore of the Beyond.? The Moscow concert consisted of 2 back-to-back concerts, actually and we drew a crowd of 1800 total that night.
The following day Ashirvad (Brazil -Super Sound Guy), Homagni (Australia – Stage Make-It-Flow-Nicely Manager) and I managed to miss our train to St-Petersburg.? Just a note, if you travel in Russia, if at all possible, try to hang out with someone who speaks Russian, because it can be really hard to get around with English, French, German, Spanish or Portuguese.? Turned out that that particular subway stop is the place for three separate train stations.? 3 hours and $100 each later, we were on our German-made high speed train to St-Petersburg at speeds of up to 248 km/h.? All’s well that ends well.
The St-Petersburg concert drew 1200 people in another very nice hall.? This time (not like last September) I managed to see the Hermitage Museum in my off-time.? In fact, I went twice! (just to make sure).? It was 2 short visits and I still really only saw a fraction of it, but nonetheless, I was stoked!
We then flew to Kiev for the last official concert for 1700 people in probably the nicest hall of this tour.? By this time the group was getting quite tight and I think it was our best-sounding performance.? Of course, here I am refering to the Gandharva Loka performance, but the concert featured several excellent groups: Pravin and Anil Dixit, Larissa from Minsk, Phoolendu, Silence and Sound from Kiev, Shikandini and Blue Gold Shore of the Beyond who travelled 6 days by train to get to the tour from Siberia.
Kiev is a lovely city and I got to do some sight-seeing after the concert including seeing the gigantic Mother Motherland statue and also Bill Clinton walking by after some outdoor benefit.? I got to see all kinds of Soviet era sculptures and monuments.? Very interesting stuff.? There was also a small meditation convention where I played a few songs with my dear friend Anton on percussion.
Soon I will post more pictures about this trip as well other recent events including a concert in Ottawa on Oct 17 and in New York on Oct 23 at the Panorama Cafe.