Hi All: It�s been pretty quiet here lately so I�ll make a short story, long.
First let me preface by saying I am so lucky I found out about this concert, as Manilal Nag is one of my favorite sitar players. I listened to one of his CDs (thanks Lars) about 20 times through while driving to Austin to pick up my MPS teak a couple of years ago. The combination of traveling through the dessert and listening to Manilal Nag was sooooooo relaxing. Anyway�
My wife Katri and I were having dinner at a local Indian restaurant and I noticed some friends sitting at a near by table. It was Maharshi Mehta & family, the folks who sponsored the Shahid Parvez workshop here a few months ago. I went over to say hi and after chatting a bit, they asked us if we were going to the concert the next night.
�Uh, what concert?�
The concert was at yoga center in Redondo Bch. There were around 30-40 people, a very intimate �sitting on the floor on pillows & yoga mats� affair. The concert started at 5:30 so there was that nice late afternoon/evening light shimmering in through the big windows of the yoga workout room. The audience consisted of everyone from curious yoga center members, to �60s hippie types, to ICM fans.
There was a �sound system,� the usual plastic JBL cabs on tripod stands. Everything was mic�d except for the tanpura, and the promoters were digitally recording audio and video, so hopefully a DVD will be available. I�ll let the Sitar Forum know if that happens.
What can I say about Manilal Nag? You just have to hear his CDs to know what an incredibly talented musician he is. He played flawlessly and with the dexterity of a young man. He was very relaxed, yet musically very playful. He had a lot of fun with the tabla player. The real treat though was the interaction between Manilal and Mita. It was on a level I have not seen. Not only was the deep love between father and daughter, and the joy of playing together evident, but Mita�s technical skill and wisdom made it more of a genuine sitar duet. When Manilal would play a riff, rather than just mimic the line, Mita would expound on her father's idea and bounce it back to him. Then Manilal would take it and put another spin on it. They weren�t just riffing; they were seamlessly fitting the pieces of the raga together.
They played for around an hour and then there was an intermission at which time a vegi dinner was served.
During the second half of the concert, Manilal broke his MA string during the alap, so Mita took over while he changed it. When she was playing by herself you could really hear her personality come through. Technique wise she obviously plays like her father but she has a more, for lack of better term, "modern" sound, kind of 75% Manilal Nag, 25% Shahid Parvez. But she definitely has her own style - you can hear in her playing that she has some deep thoughts.
After the concert, we were looking over the Manilal Nag CDs, wondering which one to buy, and we asked Mita when she was going to come out with a CD of her own. She replied as if she�d never really thought about it, �You know, people keep asking me that but�I don�t know about CDs�I just love to play.�
jaym (Apr 08, 2004 04:53 p.m.): The audio clips are already down
Sorry, I was under the impression they were still available. You can sponsor the article and the clips and make it available online to you and your friends for $7. a month. I think it's worth it: http://www.sawf.org/music/interviews/sponsorship.htm There's also an interview with Mitra Nag and another one with Stephen Slawek in the same SAWF Artist archives.
"The lack of publicity for these amazing musicians is tragic." That's an undestatement! Last summer Amjad Ali Khan was here in NY on personal business and while here, he spoke with a well-known promoter who said the only way he would be interested in putting together a tour for Khan Sahib would be if he could get Zakir Hussein on the bill. He literally said: No Zakir - no tour. Unbelievable! It's amazing - given the contributions that Indian have made - that after all these years - they are (with a few notable exceptions) essentially still stuck in entertainment ghetto. Maybe if Brittany Spears did a jugalbhandi with Asha Bhosle - the ICM community would get a little more notice from the powers that be. As for me - I'm going down tonight to Joe's Pub to see Shujaat Khan do an evening with British hip hop-wallah Karsh Kale. . . really. I'm not really a hip hop kinda guy but I love Khan Sahib's willingness to experiment. Peace K