On the road with Mahaphon Clang once again, this time not only in India, but in Pakistan (Karachi) and in Bangladesh (Dhaka). It was in February and very intense, not just the tight traveling schedules but also the energy of the group on stage at almost every venue. It was, for me, a musician who has seen it all, a revelation to observe how these four young men (Jan Kurth, Lutz Streun, Demian Kappenstein and Matthias Kurth) acclimatized so easily to being in cities like Goa, Pondicherry, Chennai, Bangalore, Karachi and Dhaka. In Chennai we spent three days at the Clementine Studio recording some exciting music to be released in September 2014 on the Jazz Werkstatt label based in Berlin.
One of the highlights this spring was definitely the coming together of the original Human Bondage: Fred Manricks, Xerxes Gobhai, Babu Joseph, Suresh Shottam and myself! We met up in Goa in February after much planning to get one week together, to hang, reminisce and jam! It couldn’t have been more perfect!
Two weeks later the Phoenix Foundation Youth Jazz Orchestra led by Frank Reichert landed up in India for a 5-city tour. I organised the whole thing with the help of my jazz-loving friends in various Indian cities. I also received support from Goethe Institutes in Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. The band played a set of selected modern big band arrangements of well-known tunes followed by an Indo-Jazz-Fusion set featuring singer Ramamani and myself. Arrangements of the 4 original tunes (DaPa, Panchamukhi, Xillob and Five Cities) for this set were done by my friend Ronan Guilfoyle, bassist, composer, arranger and educator from Dublin. The young musicians of the Phoenix Foundation blew away the audiences in India! The 4 new arrangements have been documented and will be released on CD along with material recorded on their Korean tour.
Immediately after returning from India on the 14th of March, I drove down to Reichenberg near Würzburg to play at the Guitar Masters Festival with Larry Coryell and Kazumi Watanabe. Needless to say, it was a fabtastic experience!
Back in Cologne dancer Benedetta Reuter and I finished a ‘Kultur und Schule’ project we started in 2012 at the Heinrich Böll Gesamtschule.
This was followed by gigs with Ensemble Fisfüz and Mandala with Sigi Schwab. Though the weather is cold and wet right now, I’m looking forward to a terrific summer:))
Follow this link for information on this unique percussion meeting!
Just returned from a 7-week tour of India! The first half of the tour was with BujazzO/KCP. 40 people travelling to 7 cities, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Hyderabad, playing to enthusiastic audiences and receiving standing ovations!
The second half of the tour was with ‘Eastern Flowers’, a trio led by Jarry Singla, with Christian Ramond on bass and myself on percussion. We started the tour in Kolkata with a concert at the Max Mueller Bhavan Auditorium, played at the Jazz Utsav festival in Delhi, at the NCPA Experimental Theatre in Mumbai, at B-Flat in Bangalore and at the Universe of Sound Festival in Chennai. We also conducted 3 workshops at the Kothari International School in Delhi, at Furtados in Mumbai and at the Max Mueller Bhavan in Chennai.
In between tours I managed to spend time in Chennai, not just catching up with family and gorging myself on awesome food, but also using the chance to see some wonderful Carnatic Music Concerts at the various Sabha Festivals. This time the Chennai music season broke all records offering some 3500 music, dance and theatre performances during December/January!
Had a quiet New Year’s Eve with my family here in Cologne.
The year started off with another workshop for children: Riehl-Kids. My idea to sow the seeds of rhythm in young minds seems to be panning out:) Look forward to more such projects during the course of this year. In January and March there were a couple of more ‘Alessandro’ performances at the Nationaltheater Mannheim. According to general consenus, this opera should make its appearance again during the next season! In March I played 3 Mandala concerts with Sigi Schwab and they were all sold-out as usual! End of the month I went on a 4-day trip with the group Fisfüz, who presented their new CD ‘Ashure’, on which I appear as a special guest. I love their music! I flew to India on April Fool’s Day to attend my niece Ashmita’s wedding…..it actually took place:) I was back in the midst of family and tradition, and enjoyed everything immensely. In May Madras Special came together again to play at the Colours of Percussion festival in Freistadt in Austria. Looking forward to a nice summer, the blackbirds on my balcony, and the new Timid Tiger album:))