Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Week with Harshad Kanetkar


For the past week, my house and my life has been filled with the wonderful sounds of Harshad Kanetkar on tabla. I was hosting Harshad for the Ann Arbor leg of his U.S. tour and spent lots of time talking about life as a musician. He arrived on Tuesday in the morning and spent the next 4 days teaching workshops at the Michigan Union on U of M's campus.

I was happy to see some of my tabla students come out and get a taste of a full time tabla maestro from India. Harshad and I shared lots of ideas about teaching, students, music, and our respective cultures. It was a very fufilling visit for both of us. He will be back before too long so keep an eye out.
On Friday Harshad played at the Sun Moon Yoga Studio in Ann Arbor. I organized the event, and it went off wonderfully. The audience was appreciative and excited. I was all smiles all night. My World Percussion Ensemble opened the night with a rendition of Austin Wrinkle's 'Wart Hog', and then Harshad took the stage for an hour long solo that held the audience captive and got a standing ovation at the end. 6 hours later Harshad and I were in a car on the way to the airport. He will be playing all over the U.S. until June. I am not sure when he will be back, but I will keep you in the loop! Here are some pictures of the event on Friday.

Thanks John

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ann Arbor's Newest Resident!!

Hello again,

It has been almost a month since my last entry, and I can't tell you how happy I am to be able to be writing in the good ol' blog again. So many things have happened in the last month that I hardly know where to start. I guess the most prominent thing is that Jody and I have moved to Ann Arbor. We got a nice little house, a little bigger and a little newer than our last house, and 6 blocks from Oz's Music, where I teach my private lessons and hand drum classes. Not commuting has already had a huge impact on my life. I feel like I have more time on my hands, which is alowing me to relax, and be much more calm in the day-to-day. Let's see, why don't I start with a short list of all my musical ventures in the last month:

March 21st: Kirtan chanting gig with a guy named Treavor at Sun Moon Yoga Studio. Awesome place to play, great acoustics, and really nice owners. Only been in business for 6 months, but already voted #1 yoga studio in Ann Arbor by the Current Magazine. I talked with them about hosting a concert and they loved the idea. More on that later...

March 23rd: Played with Paledave at the Blind Pig in A2 (that's the locals shorthand for Ann Arbor : ) I never felt privy to use it till now!) It was great to play a rock show at a storied place like that. In the green room there is a spot on the wall that has 'Nirvana" written in blue tape. Legend has it that Kurt Cobain put it there himself just before before they left the place for the last time. The show went well and prepaired us for the studio time coming up.

March 31st: Presented tabla to a high school in South Redford, MI. It was part of a community outreach program funded by the Center for South Asian Studies at the U of M. I will be doing many more of these, as they have been going very well and getting popular amongst the schools.

April 2nd: Played with Mike Waite, my old friend and lead singer of Whipple from my hometown of Marquette, MI. We played at Old Town Pub in downtown A2. His sister lives down here and set up the gig. It was a fun night. I just played on hand drums and he had an acoustic guitar. I hope he comes down more often. There is nothing like playing with old friends.

April 7th: 12 Hours of Drumming!! This should almost be it's own entry. I started the morning taking my Bassoon lesson at EMU. My teacher is Dr. Pierce. He is one of the coolest teachers I have had in a while. He has the Cal Arts style of teaching, where we just go in and play. Practice is a given, self motivation is a given, and when it is time for the lesson, it is packed with information, 'real feel' playing, and the time just rolls along. I come out totally consumed with thoughts of Basson and a bounce to my step. On this day in particular, I was steppin out extra quick so I could make it to Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor,(3 blocks from my new home!).
I recorded 6 tunes with Paledave. We were in the studio from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It was such a great experience to record my drums in that place. The engineer Greg really knew his stuff, and the sound was great. All the rehearsals and gigs paid off. We had learned the songs well enough to do lots of takes without taxing our brains too much. Dave has been going in and laying stuff over it for the past couple of weeks. I will let you know when it comes out!
From the studio it was off to Cafe Felix for a night of drumming with Deep Blue. It was a really busy night and the atmosphere was full of energy. Nick Joseph came by and sat in a bit. The sound really came together and we got a great response. We talked about recording in my new studio, which I am right in the middle of building. I will keep you updated on that as well.
When the night was done I had been sitting on my drumset for almost 12 hours. It felt great, but made for a rough Saturday, which was our big moving day. I must thank Nick, Aniket, Malvika, Jessica, Matt, Amy, Jason for helping Jody and I move. We got a big 24' truck and did it all in one big, full load. The piano was by far the heaviest item. It was a bigger job than I had anticipated, but everyone hung in there and we got it done. I have been furiously bulding walls for the studio basement and hope to get it up and running within a week.

Wow, I think I am all caught up. Tomorrow I will be taking my Clarinet written final and my Conducting final at EMU, and then building the rest of the day. No students tomorrow because everyone is on break. This Friday is Deep Blue and coming up is Harshad Kenetker, student recital, and the release of the Go Like the Wind Montessori C.D., which we recorded last Wednesday. I have been putting tracks over it and hope to have it done within a month.

Thanks for reading, and I will be back soon!!