On my last day in Bangalore (December 12th), I attended a fusion music show that was a part of the Bangalore Habba (a festival to celebrate the city), held at the very impressive Palace Grounds. I am especially fond of live fusion music and this one featured Taufiq Qureshi (a brilliant percussionist), Niladri Kumar (an absolutely amazing sitarist), Parthasarthy (mridangam), Karl Peters (bass guitar) and Louis Banks (keyboards).
Against the backdrop of the tudor style building in the middle of the grounds, the stage was all lit-up for the occasion. The performance started with a few songs and then a recital by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. We were doubly thrilled when he ended with a Bengali song and a Bihu folk tune.
There were about three power trips (Bangalore living up to its reputation!) during the show. Thankfully, it was fixed and though the performance started late, we were in for a real treat. I’ve watched Zakir Hussain, but this was my first time watching his brother Qureshi. And I must say he was amazing – the sounds he produced (and without any instruments) left the audience speechless. Niladri Kumar was an absolute treat (do watch him live if you get the chance). And some electrifying music they created together. The thing about live fusion music is the spontaneous jamming and the camaderie that these musicians share. And when translated into notes and melodies, it is sheer joy to watch and listen.
And to think we nearly missed the show. Despite being Bangaloreans, both Pallavi and her husband Rocky were blissfully unaware of the festival. So I had to literally holler and shout and until they took me seriously. Pallavi managed to wrangle three passes (bless her resourcefulness). We dropped our other plans happily. And with no regrets!
Initially, we were at the very back of the open air seating arrangement. Being rather short, both Pallavi and I had a really hard time seeing anything on the stage. Later, thanks to the ingenuity of a couple of other guys who were with us, we managed to get into the VIP section. And by the time, Qureshi and his team were on stage, we were in the front row. It couldn’t get more up close and personal!
By the time we left it was about 1.00 am and a Sufi music session was still going on. But I had a flight to catch the same morning so we decided to make our way home.
There ended my Bangalore trip, and on a rather high note!
(Pallavi went on to watch and enjoy more shows on December 13th and 14th!)