Lost Tales – VidyA live in France

As you probably already know, we had a great time playing in France. The organizers of the festival were extremely warm and the audience was great as well. I will post in more detail about this later.

For now, check out this video of Lost Tales from the concert there. There will be a few more videos of this trip as well coming soon. We hope you enjoy it.

Concert at Sir Mutha Hall, Chennai, India. July 27, 2008

As you probably already know, I am writing to you from India. So far the trip has been great. I just got back from a trip to Rameswaram, where I did a concert and then Thiruvunamalai. The concert was with B.U. Ganeshprasad on Violin and P. Phalgun on Mridangam. Here is a picture from the Rameswaram Temple.


This Sunday, I am performing a Carnatic concert at a newly opened hall in Chennai called Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Memorial Hall. The concert starts at 7pm sharp and is open to the public.

The lineup will include:

Prasant Radhakrishnan: Saxophone
B.U. Ganeshprasad: Violin
Trichur Narendran: Mridangam
V. Suresh: Ghatam

You can get complimentary passes:

  • Contact the sponsor of the event: info@gatsby.in with number of tickets required. Or call (044) 28331677. You can also get passes at the Raymonds outlet in Nungambakkam.
  • Contact the hall at info@sirmuthamemorial.com

The hall is located at:  

Shenston Park, 13/1 Harrington Road
Chetput, Chennai 600031 Tamil Nadu 

It is on the Lady Andal School premises. If you know anyone in Chennai, tell them to come!

Fun with Air Travel (not a music post)

Please note: This post has nothing to do with music. With that out of the way…

I am writing from Changi Airport in Singapore. I am on my way to India for a five week trip for some intensive practice/study and also some concerts around South India. I think I’ve been to this airport countless times now. I am in the unfortunate position of having over an eight hour layover in the middle of the night Singapore time. With the transit hotels overbooked, there really was nothing to do here except wait and endure the 40 minutes bad music that loops over the airport speakers.

Anyways, this flight was especially long. Over 11 hours to stop in Seoul, Korea. The usual antics ensued, beginning with some Berkeley students wanting me to switch seats so they could be together. I soon found myself in the middle seat of the middle section, you know, the worst seat on the entire plane, next to some kids gyrating nonstop and calling for their mommy in an extremely high decibel level.

Due to lack of sleep I watched more movies than I ever have in a given period…such as Warlords, Juno, Horton Hears A Who and even Japanese film “Smilers,” a heartwarming tale about an over enthusiastic tap dancer with a degree in child psychology who must lead a junior league hockey team in Hokkaido to the championships in order the win his girflfriend’s hand in marriage (with a good dose of McDonald’s product placement). There were other movies too, but I wont get into it.

There was a 90 minute layover in Seoul. In the airport I noticed a funny trend. Nearly all of the younger Korean couples had coordinated or sometimes exactly matching outfits. I spotted at least five such couples at the same gate. I am not one to notice clothing, but it was so glaringly obvious, and actually a bit hilarious. I wonder if that trend will ever make it the U.S.? Matching couples clothes! Anyways, I’m probably the last person to notice this…

I spent some time in a small Korea Culture Museum they had there. Not bad.

I’ll leave you with two thoughts:

1. Why is it that the majority of passengers jump up and stand in a line before boarding even when its not  yet time to board and it wont help them get on the plane faster anyway?

2. Singapore “Changi” airport advertises all over that they have FREE wireless surfing. Well, from what I could see its not free — you need to have one of those airport wireless providers to login. I might be wrong, but you will need to use the ethernet stations located around the airport.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Boston Trip: Brandeis University and Wellesley College

Back in my comfortable chair at home, I thought it would be a good to time to catch up with you on my recent trip to Boston. It was definitely cold, but not snowy at least.

The events on the trip were:

  • March 26, 2008 – Concert with Phil Scarff and Natraj at Brandeis University, MA. 6pm.
  • April 4, 2008 – Guest interactive lecture at Wellesley College (Music of the Sphere MUS101). 1:30pm.
  • April 5, 2008 – Indian classical saxophone concert and morning Discussion panel. “Evolving Traditions.” B.U. Ganeshprasad: Violin, Rohan Krishnamurthy: Mridungam. Wellesley College, MA. 3pm.

First, the Brandeis concert. It was a first for me, as I was performing as a guest with Phil Scarff’s group Natraj. The group consisted of Phil Scarff on soprano saxophone, Michael Rivard on Bass, Bertram Lehmann on Drums and Jerry Leake on Tabla. The group combines Indian Classical and other influences with jazz. The approach is very different from what I do with VidyA, but it was fun to play with them and I think the show went pretty well. We did mostly songs from their repertoire , which included a small pallavi in Mohana raga by my guru Kadri Gopalnath, and a song in Saraswathi raga called “River” by Chitravina N. Ravikiran. We also did “Lost Tales” from the VidyA song list, the song will be on the new VidyA CD coming out soon. Here is a picture from the event courtesy of Brandeis.


My time at Wellesley was fun. The lecture on Friday, though short, seemed to go well. It was mostly interactive with a little history thrown in. I also demonstrated various ragas and the students became familiar with the basics of keeping talam (the time meter) to the music. Thanks to Professor Gurminder Bhogal for having me in the class.

The actual concert was on Saturday. The morning had an interesting discussion panel where we talked about the topic of preservation vs change…the ongoing discussion in any art. The discussion was lively and everyone brought up interesting points, which I wont discuss here in detail. Malini Srinivasan and the Jayamangala troup performed a wonderful bharatanatyam program. The varnam in Kambodhi was fanatastic.


After that, myself, B.U. Ganeshprasad on Violin and Rohan Krishnamurthy on Mridangam took the stage. I debuted a masterpiece composition by Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Sri Dakshinamurthe in raga Shankarabaranam raga, Misra Jhampe (10 beats) talam. It is the first time it has been performed on saxophone. It was definitely enjoyable to finally play such a wonderful composition and favorite of mine, on this instrument. I just hope I did it justice!

Of course, it was great to play with Ganeshprasad and Rohan again. Hopefully, we can do it again soon. We also got to spend some time together after the concert. Check out the full flickr set for more pics.

View the full photoset on Flickr.


Photos by Ganesh Ramachandran.

Back from Barbados…

So I got back from Barbados a few days ago. Unfortunately, I caught a terrible sore throat and I am still recovering. Anyways, the trip went well. We performed a couple times and it was a privilege to meet so many interesting people.

Even though I was only there for a week, I think I got a sense of the lifestyle in Barbados, not to mention enjoy the beaches.

I attended the Barbados Jazz Festival twice while I was there. Unfortunately, I felt the people that played the festival when I went were not jazz at all. I did get to see the Afro Cuban Jazz All Stars, which had Yosvany Terry — a great alto player. Granted Kenny Garrett played, but I didn’t get a chance to catch him.


Check out my flickr set from the trip here. There pictures of Barbados in general and of the concert I did with Meklit Hadero and Todd Brown as part of the Nefasha Ayer project. Here is a slideshow:


Next week, I will be in Michigan and Chicago for concerts…hopefully my coughing will subside by then.