Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan to take US music tour

Joined by guitarist John McLaughlin, Hussain and Mahadevan will be celebrating their new album, “This Moment”

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In what can be described as one of the most iconic musical tours to come to the US in recent times, International supergroup Shakti featuring Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan and John McLaughlin would be commencing a multi-state tour in the US in August.

John McLaughlin, who is one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and Zakir Hussain who is described as the greatest living tabla player have shattered the boundaries between eastern and western music to forget the template of what is now called “World Music.”

The group also released their new album, entitled, “This Moment,” on June 23. The tour will launch in Boston on August 17. The tour would reflect Shakti’s pan-cultural ethos by introducing Jazz and American elements via the supporting spots by a rotating cast of players.

The release of the album, “This Moment,” is an important event for the group as it marks their 50th anniversary.

Born of the musical and spiritual brotherhood shared by the revolutionary British guitarist and bandleader John McLaughlin and master Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain, Shakti’s organic intermingling of Eastern and Western musical traditions has proven transformative for music listeners.

Talking about his album, John McLaughlin says, “The new ‘studio’ album is a true labor of love. The music on this recording represents a quantum leap in the musical evolution of Shakti. It represents 50 years of working and playing together beginning in 1973.”

“The numerous concerts we have played, the number of times we have been together working on our musical development, have brought us to the point where it has all been brought together here and now in the 21st Century,” he says. “This album is a crystallization of 5 decades of love and dedication. Our musical evolution recorded here, is really a revolution in the history of Shakti”.

Interestingly, the artists worked on the music album during the Covid-19 pandemic when the world was in the lockdown.

Shankar Mahadevan said, about the creative process while the artists worked in separate time zones, “We took advantage of the fact that we were all isolated during the lockdown, and John ji took the lead.”

“So, from remote places all over the world, files were going back and forth, we had a common dropbox, everybody listened to it, put their part, brought it back, exchanged comments on a WhatsApp group, oh my god! how we executed this album ‘This Moment’ is really remarkable. It was an experience and we really enjoyed the process.”

Zakir Husain says, “The discovery each time you sit as a group, to play and perform, is like climbing Everest from different angles. Every time it is a whole different point of view, marveling at how you do the same but it’s not the same.

“Having that kind of interaction, conversation between the group, the creative idea process is something that is Shakti and it is exclusive to Shakti.”

Shakti will be celebrating the release of This Moment by undertaking an extensive performance tour on June 27 & 28 in London followed by Europe and thereafter their first US tour in 18 years. Beginning August 17 in Boston, the tour will cover New York, Philadelphia, Illinois, Georgia, and San Francisco.

Published in The American Bazaar on Saturday, July 8