Germany-India ‘Infinite Opportunities’

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. 🙂

2011

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:))

Tour in India

KCP4 and Renga (10 musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra), toured India from the 31st of March to the 8th of April. We played 3 sold-out concerts in Mumbai at the NCPA, in Bangalore at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, and in Delhi at the Kamani Auditorium. The LPO musicians also gave workshops for school children in these three cities, which were very popular with the kids!

Winter/Spring 2009/2010

Well I didn’t have the good fortune to escape this winter! It was intense, with temperatures around -12°C being the norm. So much snow all over, unbelievable for us in Cologne, but somehow spectacular!
Musically, a quiet period. The recession, slowly but surely caught up with us musicians. Did we hope to escape? But 2010 is already looking promising but, who knows?
I have a new CD ‘On Stage’ with Sigi Schwab out on the market and we will be performing quite a few live gigs this year. I’ve also been invited to be part of the team involved in a project called ‘Heimat-re-invented’ for Mukutathe Werkstatt and MusikTriennale in Cologne.
End of March I leave for India on a 2-week tour with Renga (10 musicians from LPO) and KCP4. We will perform in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Barock opera ‘Alessandro’ is still on at regular intervals at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, and each of the performances has been a sell-out!!

2010

This year was full of surprises! For the first time in my freelance career as a musician I made myself available for a couple of long-term teaching projects. This involved working with school kids aged 11-13. I was part of a team of guest teachers to work with children in two schools in Zollstock and Porz, in Cologne. The motto was ‘Heimat-Re-invented’ and it was co-sponsored by the Musik Triennale Köln, with a public perfromance on the 11th of May. Well, the group of kids I was involved with from the school in Porz received the NRW cultural prize! My work in this area continued in the school at Porz together with two wonderful dancers Benadetta and Andre Jolles. We worked with the kids starting in October up until December, with a performance on the 21st of December. Concert-wise 2010 was a busy year. The Barock Opera ‘Alessandro’ continued to play to sold-out audiences at the Nationaltheater Mannheim. Then there was the tour in April with KCP4/Renga (LPO musicians) to India. And, of course a bunch of gigs spread over the year with my regular projects like Mandala, East West Wind, Raga West, KCP4, etc. During the first week of July I was invited to present a lecture demonstration at the IRSA (International Rhythm Studies Association) in Dublin. In August I travelled to Taiwan once again, this time to the city of Tainan, to conduct workshops during the ‘Youth Creativity Week’. This was followed by performances with Pipa virtuoso Yu Feng and indigenous singer Inka Ming. After a flying visit to India, spanning 5 cities in 6 days, to setup the BujazzO tour of India in November 2011, I travelled to Poznan for a World Percussion Meeting where met many interesting young percussionists. End of September I was invited to play with the WDR Big Band and Wolfgang Niedecken. The project was titled ‘Deutschland Lieder’, songs about Germany, written by Wolfgang and arranged by Mike Herting. Following the studio production there was a grand open-air performance on the 3rd of October at the Brandenburger Tor, in front of some 30,000 people to mark 20 years of ‘Deutsche Einheit.’ The very next day I flew to Dakar along with Mike Herting to perform two concerts there, one at the German Ambassador’s residence, and one at the Goethe Institute. It was my first trip to West Africa and the feeling was just great:) Winding up activities for the year I was in the studio recording with the wonderful musicians from the group Fisfüz. I will be performing live with them during the spring of 2011. Look forward to seeing all my friends and relatives during the course of this year:-)