The band ‘Shakti’, formed by the British guitarist John McLaughlin and master Indian percussionist, Zakir Hussain, is coming up with a new studio album after more than 45 years.
Titled ‘This Moment’, the album offers a set of eight new compositions and performances with McLaughlin on guitar and guitar synth and Hussain on tabla joined by vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, percussionist V. Selvaganesh and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan.
Talking about the album, Padma Vibhushan Zakir Hussain said in a statement, “The discovery each time you sit as a group, to play and perform, is like climbing Everest from different angles. Every time it is a whole different point of view, marvelling at how you do the same but it’s not the same. Having that kind of interaction, conversation between the group, the creative idea process is something that is Shakti and it is exclusive to Shakti.”
The album will be released on CD and vinyl LP on June 23. India will also be the first to stream the album on Spotify India. The album also features a tribute to ‘Mandolin’ U. Shrinivas, a former band member of Shakti.
Talking about the album, John McLaughlin said, “‘This Moment’, the new ‘studio’ album is a true labour of love. The music on this recording represents a quantum leap in the musical evolution of Shakti. It represents 50 years of working and playing together beginning in 1973.”
He added, “The numerous concerts we have played, the number of times we have been together working on our musical development, have brought us to the point where it has all been brought together here and now in the 21st Century. This album is a crystallisation of five decades of love and dedication. Our musical evolution recorded here, is really a revolution in the history of Shakti.”
The compositions in the album highlight different vocal and instrumental sub-groups within Shakti as they transition between taut thematic statements and, quite naturally feature solos from McLaughlin and Rajagopalan, with rhythmic shifts, rounded up by deft vocal passages by Mahadevan.
Shankar Mahadevan said, “We took advantage of the fact that we were all isolated during the lockdown, and John ji took the lead. So, from remote places all over the world, files were going back and forth, we had a common dropbox, everybody listened to it, put their part, brought it back, exchanged comments on a WhatsApp group, oh my god! how we executed this album ‘This Moment’ is really remarkable. It was an experience and we really enjoyed the process.”
‘This Moment’ will be released on Friday.