Made it through another winter, ‘aber was für einen!’ Really cold (-12°C) when I returned early January from Chennai.
Just a few hours before that I was happily walking down Besant Nagar beach in shorts and T-Shirt!
Some of my first gigs for the year were at the Nationaltheater Mannheim with repeat performances of ‘Alessandro’, the Barock Opera which has run so successfully that its going to be continued in early 2010 too.
Soon after, I recorded the second album of Vitold Rek’s East West Wind. This time the trio became a quartet with with the addition of Israeli singer Michal Cohen.
In March I was invited by Mike Herting as guest professor to take part in the BuJazzO meets India project. It was 10 days of pretty intensive work with some of the most talented young musicians from Germany. The ‘Arbeitsphase’ followed by a concert was so successful, that a tour of India in 2010 is now being realised!
Right after this I had two performances with Sigi Schwab’s Ramayana, a suite in five movements written for a sextet, featuring musicians from the Percussion Project and Ensemble Amanti della Musica.
Another highlight this spring was my trip to London beginning of April to perform with 10 musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, called Renga, along with my colleagues Mike Herting, Ramamani and T.A.S. Mani. Funnily enough this project too has been proposed for a tour of India! As they say, when it rains it pours!!
I just returned from India about a week ago to minus temperatures and snow chaos in Europe! My flight from Chennai to Paris was delayed, and after I finally arrived in Düsseldorf, I found out that my suitcase went missing! It was delivered a week later. By then I was already in Mannheim rehearsing at the Nationaltheater for further performances of the Barock Opera ‘Alessandro’ (with touches of Bollywood)!
The trip to South India was very rewarding, what with performing two concerts at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Bangalore featuring international musicians; being in the midst of the Chennai Music Festival and having a chance to catch concerts by U.Shrinivas, Ravi Kiran, Palanivel, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman and many others; taking part in a panel discussion at Brhaddwani; being invited for an interview by the Southern Spice Music TV; spending quality time with my family in Chennai and Bangalore, eating fantastic food and enjoying the terrific weather. All these experiences made my trip really worthwhile! Now I look forward to an early spring with fervent hopes that the financial world will see the futility of greed and that Obama will succeed in spite of politics!
Looking at it weather-wise, the summer in Germany wasn’t anything to write home about. I guess only the UK had worse weather. I know this because of all the washed-out cricket matches this season! Still, I had the good fortune to make it through several open air festivals without them having to be cancelled, although some were damp enough to affect my Tavil and Kanjira, both drums with natural skins. Interestingly, the concert I played in Varna, Bulgaria, on the Black Sea was rained out, and we had to move to another venue, an art gallery. However, I did manage to swim in the Black Sea on the afternoon of the concert and it was sunny and warm with no hint of the thunderstorm brewing in the background! ‘Blitz und Donner’ as we say in German, is what it was! Barely two weeks later I was back on the Black Sea coast in Mamaia, Romania, to play at the ‘World Music Festival’ with Madras Special. Things couldn’t have been more perfect. And now, before gracefully accepting the fact that autumn is upon us, I’m flying to Madrid to play at the Global Perfussion Meeting with Luis Fernandez, Nacho Arimany and a host of other percussionists, and thus hope to eke out the last few summer days! Good thing I’m headed for India in December but more about that trip later. 🙂
It has been a very interesting period, this spring. I started rehearsing with the ensemble at the National Theatre of Mannheim for a production of ‘Alessandro’, an opera written by Gian Francesco de Majo. Its been a great experience doing something completely different to my usual musical activities, meeting and working with opera singers, actors, and stage crews. Also, its been a real pleasure to work with a unique director like Günter Krämer.
In between I managed a week’s trip to Tallin with Stefan Bauer’s band to play at the Jazzkaar Festival. It was terrific visiting one of the newest additions to the EU! We spent a pleasant week with our wonderful Estonian hosts.
End of April I spent 3 days in Kaiserslautern, rehearsing and performing Sigi Schwab’s ‘Ramayana’. The premiere was on the 1st of May: a grand success! In my opinion, Sigi Schwab was really inspired by this ancient Hindu mythology, and wrote some fine music which told the story beautifully.
I’m now enjoying the wonderful sunny days, travelling between Köln and Mannheim and looking forward to the summer gigs!
I just returned from an interesting trip to Cairo and Alexandria. I was invited, along with Mathias Frey, Büdi Siebert and Ramani Krishna, to play two concerts at the Opera Houses in Cairo and Alexandria. It was great to also interact with some fine local musicians like Hossam (Kanoon) and Yousuf (e-violin). The locations were really nice and in both places the sound technicians did a pretty good job!
I was able to finally visit the Pyramids!!