My favorite blogger, Utpal Marshall [editor: hang-on on a moment here!], just kindly posted an article.? Please check it out by clicking here.? Also in the News section of this website, there is now a translated transcription of a radio interview aired at the end of August.
You can see a video of a St. Petersburg performance here.
Otherwise I just got back from Russia and it was quite a trip!? As soon as I cleared customs I was 100% stoked about being there.? Having grown up in the Reagan years, I never would have imagined I would find myself in Russia one day!? I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first but I really had a great time.
The only blemish is that I booked a flight home very early and as a consequence i didn’t get a chance to see the Hermitage Museum.
I would qualify that as truly bitter disappointment.? I was outside the city for the first 2 days and was caught all day in rehearsals and soundchecks on the third day.? I think the lesson is that I erroneously made a decision based on fear.? I could have stayed one day more, but decided against it because I didn’t know what to expect.
I forget who said this, but I have read that of all the passions, fear is the worst for affecting good intuitive judgement.? But enough about the blemish.? The rest of the trip was really great.? I met so many good people.? I made friends with people who spoke little or no English.? It’s in cases like this that music truly becomes a practical universal language.? Among others, I spent quite a bit of time with the fantastic group Blue-Gold Shore of the Beyond (Second to last menu item on the left will get you music.? Look for the list that starts with Jishu Nam).? In fact, they invited me to go visit in their home of Siberia.? Why not!?
On Friday I put together a performance for about 400 people with 4 other Russians (sitar, percussion, bansuri flute, sarangi).? Some spoke absolutely zero English.? On Sunday I played 1 song with the same 4 boys for 1500 people at the St-Petersburg Conservatory and also played 4 songs as the bass player for the Gandharva Loka Orchestra.
The Russians were so appreciative and grateful to have people travel from far away to play music.? It really warmed the heart.? I was also invited to come play a few concerts in Belarus in the next year.? That would be cool!? We’ll have to wait and see.? Maybe missing the Hermitage was just an indication that I will have to go back to that part of the world one day.? Actually I did make it to the physical museum but arrived literally 2 minutes after they stopped selling tickets.? Doesn’t that seem at least a little cosmic?