Global Fusion Pioneers John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain mark their 50th Anniversary with a new Shakti tour and studio album

Upcoming U.S. tour dates a cross-pollination of world cultures with the addition of Jazz and Americana icons Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Bill Frisell, and John Scofield.

Shakti, the revolutionary ensemble co-founded by British guitarist and bandleader John McLaughlin and master Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain, continue to defy musical and cultural boundaries with their upcoming 50th anniversary U.S. tour. The quintet’s seamless hybrid of Eastern and Western traditions will be further enriched by the opening acts of four master musicians from the worlds of Jazz and Americana: Béla Fleck, John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Jerry Douglas.  Jazz, Indian, bluegrass, rock, flamenco, classical, and blues traditions will intersect as these special guests’ opening spots prepare audiences for the dazzling, telepathic interplay of McLaughlin (guitar), Hussain (tabla), vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, and percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram.

“I started listening to Shakti right when they started,” Béla Fleck recalls, “and they were a revelation. Something about Shakti, and making music with Zakir, was very relatable – perhaps akin to the acoustic guitar and fiddle. But it wasn’t until playing with Zakir and Edgar Meyer [on 2009’s Melody of Rhythm: Triple Concerto & Music for Trio] that I started having more of a sense of what they were up to. Keeping in mind the virtuosic and energetic level of the band, I’ll be attempting to create a solo set that mesmerizes and excites.”

John McLaughlin is a magnificent guitarist and innovator,” adds Scofield. “One can’t be a guitarist and not have been influenced by him. I’m as much looking forward to playing on the bill with Shakti’s 50th Anniversary tour as simply being there to hear them.”

“I remember so clearly the moment,” reflects Bill Frisell. “I had just graduated high school. Dreaming about possibilities. The excitement and anticipation brought home the new Miles Davis album. What was going to happen next? In a Silent Way. Here were the very first notes I heard John McLaughlin play and where my love for his music began and continues to this day. Stunning. Life changing. The mystery. The beauty. The SOUND. I’ve been chasing it ever since.”

“On the list of ‘Guitarists of The Ages’ John McLaughlin is the rare air. Shakti is an extension of his brain. Like minds. A Scary, joyful place,” adds dobro maestro Jerry Douglas who is scheduled to appear in Portland.

Shakti’s50th Anniversary Tour coincides with the June 23, 2023, release of This Moment – their first studio album in more than 45 years. “A part of the problem with making a studio recording has always been the fact that we live on different continents, and we all follow our individual careers – in addition to working together in Shakti,” says McLaughlin. “This Moment is the result of the enthusiasm and excitement of all the band members to use the latest recording technology in recording this great Album: “This Moment”. We are all thrilled and looking forward to playing this music ‘Live’.

“The decades of individual music experiences we all have had poured into this gathering’s offering,” concludes Zakir Hussain, “has resulted in an extraordinary depth to the sound and interaction of this band.”

Shakti’s 2023 USA dates with Special Guests:
Aug 17 Wang Theater, Boston, MA ***
Aug 19 The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY ***
Aug 20 NJPAC Newark, NJ *
Aug 22 The Keswick, Glenside, PA*
Aug 23 Wolf Trap Vienna, VA *
Aug 25 Cobb Energy Center, Atlanta, GA*
Aug 27 Koka Booth Amp, Cary, NC*
Aug 29 Palace Theatre, Columbus, OH*
Aug 31 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN***
Sept 3 Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL*
Sept 5 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR****
Sept 6 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA*
Sept 8 Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA **
Sept 9 Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
Sept 11 Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine, CA
Sept 14 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI*
Sept 16 Riverbend Centre for the Arts, Austin, TX*

* w/ Béla Fleck
** w/ Bill Frisell
*** w/John Scofield
**** w/Jerry Douglas