November is over half way done and have already played all my scheduled shows. Wow, what a light month on the gigging front. It has been a great month to catch up, reflect, and get a lot of extra practicing in. Looking back I only played 3 shows this whole month, but they were really special and inspiring.
The first show was a C.D. release party for Cairn to Cairn at the Ark in downtown Ann Arbor. It was very cool to play at the Ark, since it was the first place I went to see a show after moving to Michigan from California, over 6 years ago. What was even cooler is that I was now sharing the stage with the performer I went to see, Peter 'Madcat' Ruth. The stage was actually very packed. Cairn to Cairn is made up of Terry Farmer on guitar, Kelly McDermot on flute, and Rob Crozier on bass. They went all out for this concert and invited as many people as they could pack onto the stage. There were members of the Bijou Orchestra on violins, and cello, my old teacher Jon Hill on percussion, a drummer, guitar player, Madcat on harmonica, and myself on tabla. I only played on one piece, so I was free to sit and watch the rest of the show. It was great to see Jon Hill again. He taught me marimba and snare drum solo at UM-Flint during my teaching certification days. We got to hang out after and catch up on things. The show went great, and there was a good crowd. The sound was also really nice, the sound guy was Jim Gibbons. He has done sound for some great tabla players, so it was an honor to have him on the board. My only wish was that I could have played more songs with them.
The next show was nearly two weeks later at Crazy Wisdom Tearoom. This time Meeta was there, but no one else from Sumkali could make it, so we again called on our ICMD friends. This time it was Vish Srivastava on vocals and harmonium, Mahesh Ganesan on kanjira, Meeta on the sitar and Atmaram on the harmonium.
I am so excited to be involved in so much music that inspires, relaxes, heals, and energizes me. I feel lucky. I was guided from an early age to play music that I love to play and now I see the wisdom in that. Honestly, I did not count on the road being so busy, so difficult and so long, and as far as I can tell, there is no end in sight, but as I look around I am realizing that everyone around me is also forging ahead. When I talk to friends, family members, or anyone else that I cross paths with day-to-day, the topics are always dealing with the journey of life. How has the past been?, what does the future hold?, who else have you heard from? Conversing about all of these inquiries give me so much reassurance and gratitude for what I get to do every day. I am proud to talk about my life and all the wonderful things happening and it reminds me how lucky I am.
So, anyway, enough gushing. I have got to tell you about this great project I did with Dave Sharp. Back in the summertime I went a couple blocks down from my house and recorded tabla on a track for Dave's upcoming album, "Secret Seven", (available soon on iTunes). Dave called me sometime in October and said the C.D. was done and he was planning a C.D. release party and he would like me to play. It was at a great club downtown called Live at P.J.'s on Saturday, Nov. 20th. The band Dave put together was really incredible. Two singers, sax, trumpet, keyboards, bass and three percussionists. I was on tabla for two of the tunes and for the rest I played conga, shaker, tambourine, and even cowbell! It was fun. Muruga Booker was also on percussion, which was great since we have been doing so much recording together lately. I felt like the whole band was able to lock in right from the first rehearsal. The crowd was great and it was a lot of fun getting to know everyone in the band.
One thing that is so great about music is that the relationships you build while actually playing the music seem to last over years without losing a beat. If a group of musicians lock in and create something great, then the feeling that they can do it again never goes away. The next time I play with any of the musicians I played with on this night, even if it is years from now, chances are we would be able to pick up right where we left off, without missing a beat. I guess you could say it happened with Dave. I played a small kirtan gig with him over 2 years ago and then he just called me out of the blue for this recording. Based on just an hour or two of playing together, (we didn't even really get a chance to talk that first night), Dave felt he could bring me into a studio and record on his album. I don't know, perhaps this instant recognition and comaraderie is the prevalent in many professions, but I notice it in music over and over again. It motivates me to keep practicing and to always be ready for whatever is around the corner.
So that is it for November. I don't see any other shows on the horizon until December, so I will take the time to rest, relax, and keep practicing!
Thanks for reading,