Sunday, October 12, 2008

Two at Crazy Wisdom

Hello again,

  A couple of weeks ago I had a show lined up at Crazy Wisdom with Meeta Banerjee and myself.  It was to be our usual Indian Classical music performance/workshop like we have done in the past.  Crazy Wisdom does a lot of great advertising for their shows and since we have played there so often in the past, as soon as I told them yes on the dates, they had pictures and descriptions all printed up and posted online a moth before the show.  I sent out a reminder of the show via my e-mail list a couple of weeks before, and made a poster to put up around town. It is a nice, streamlined operation.  One problem though.  
Meeta, (who happens to be on my e-mail list), got my reminder and realized she had not put the date in her calendar.  She called me and told me she could not make it.  Yikes!
  O.K. so I remain calm and started looking for a solution.  I called every Indian Classical musician in my phone. One after the other told me they could not do it.  It started looking like I may have cancel when I got the idea to send an e-mail the Indian Classcial Music and Dance group at the U of M and see if anyone wanted to perform with me.  I got a reply from 2 singers Vaishno Devi Dasika and Sindu Kutty. I also called on 5 of my tabla students to put together a tabla ensemble piece. They loved the idea.  The show was starting to take shape.  I then got a call from Dr. Rajan Sachdeva who could not perform the show, but had a student who could; 10 year old Sarit Dahr.  Last year I was a judge for the youth talent competition at the North American Bengali Conference at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Sarit Dahr 
was the overall winner of the competition.  What a handy coincidence.  To round out the night, I
 asked Jon 'Atmaram' Plummer, (Ann Arbor Kirtan), to play some harmonium for the tabla ensemble and tampura for the vocalists.  He said yes and I had full confidence the show would be a success. 
  After a couple of weeks of rehearsing and another e-mail later it was time for the show. In all 9 musicians would be performing at Crazy Wisdom that night. So you must imagine a small tearoom with 9 musicians, all of their friends and family, plus the usual Crazy Wisdom crowd.  It was absolutely PACKED.  Unfortunately, I don't think there was enough space for everyone and so some people had to either stand or leave.  All that aside it 
went very well.  It was a little more like a student recital rather than a rehearsal, but we all ended up having fun and the crowd was very supportive.  I was proud of my tabla students, they
 performed a 15 minute piece without any help from their notes, and it sounded great.  The singers were great too.  after the first few songs, I had all the tabla players accompany the singer.  Sindu said it was great to have so much rhythm to sing to.  I let Meeta know that the show went well, and that it took 8 other musicians to replace her ;)
   A couple of weeks later Meeta, Scott Brady and myself were all set to play again at Crazy Wisdom.  This time Meeta had it in her calendar.  This night was much more mellow as far as the crowd.  I was so happy with how the music was sounding.  We really took our time getting to the venue, setting up, getting the sound just right, and taking time to relax before playing.  It all paid off.  The crowd was small at first, but just kept growing 
as the night went on.  One Indian family wandered in by chance as they were waiting for a dinner reservation.  They had a little boy with them and as soon as he saw the tabla he got
 very excited and wanted to sit right next to them.  His father said 'no, we have to go' and the boy started to get upset.  The father then asked us how long we would be playing for and told his son that they would come back after dinner.  Meeta promised the boy we would still be here and so they left.  This night was very relaxed.  Meeta Scott and I just played, improvised, and vamped on whatever came to mind.  I did a little talking, but mostly we just played a bunch of stuff together and just had fun making music.  
After an hour or so the family came back and the little boy sat in a chair right next to me.  He started moving his fingers and pretending to play the tabla. 
 He then moved to sit on the floor in front of us.  We had laid out a couple of bean bags for people to use for sitting on the floor.  He took two of them and put them in front of him and started playing on them like a set of tabla.  He was very much into it.  After a little while he 
crawled up on the stage area and sat, facing the crowd, right in front of Meeta.  He pulled the beanbags close and began to play.  Everyone had a good laugh.  His mom was a little embarrassed, so she tried to pull him away.  He didn't like that one bit.  Maybe she thought it was too early in his career to start performing :)  Here are some pictured Scott snapped with his phones camera, they are a little blurry, but they could very well be the first pictures of a great master performing for the first time!
Thanks for reading and check back again soon,
John

Share this Blog!