(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!