John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti

Selected by Dan Grunebaum

World music pioneers redux

As contemporary electronica drowns in a sea of glib samples of traditional Asian music, it' easy to forget that the pioneers of East-meets-West fusion included some of the most gifted musicians of the '60s and '70s. An upcoming reunion concert by Shakti the band formed by jazz guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin and an all-star cast of Indian master musicians should serve as a useful reminder.

An innovator of jazz-rock fusion with Miles Davis and later his own Mahavishnu Orchestra, McLaughlin formed Shakti to explore his interest not only in the music but also in the spirituality of India. He enlisted for the project tabla master Zakir Hussain, violinist Lakshminarayana Shankar, and mridingam (the classical drum of South India) players T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram and Ramnad V. Raghavan.

The group debuted with the eponymous album Shakti in 1975, making a strong mark on the world music scene, then in its infancy. It introduced to Western audiences the percussion firepower of tabla player Zakir Hussain, who has worked with Western rock stars like George Harrison and Van Morrison. Hussain, who later went on to win a Grammy for his 1992 collaboration with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, Planet Drum, will also be in Japan later in August for the Sado Island Kodo drummers Earth Celebration festival.

After two more albums, A Handful of Beauty in 1976 and Natural Elements in 1977, Shakti disbanded as the members each went their various ways to pursue other projects.

But in 1998 the group reunited as Remember Shakti, touring and recording a new double CD of the same name, which appeared in 1999. This incarnation also featured new member Hariprasad Chaurasia, virtuoso of the otherworldly bansuri bamboo flute and an award-winning musician whose compositions have been heard in soundtracks to many Indian films.

Remember Shakti play Sumida Triphony Hall Aug 4. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana