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Merging Ragas

Currently in Delhi,legendary jazz musician and Grammy winner Herbie Hancock started his India sojourn with lessons from sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar at his Centre.

Written by Pallavi Jassi |
February 15, 2009 10:49:28 pm

A recording in Mumbai and a lesson in Indian classical music,jazz pianist Herbie Hancock has lots to do while in India

Currently in Delhi,legendary jazz musician and Grammy winner Herbie Hancock started his India sojourn with lessons from sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar at his Centre. As Shankar guided him on the notes in Indian classical music,Hancock cleared many doubts; about the strings in a sitar and the variety of sounds a tabla can make. “I have loved Indian music since I first heard it back in the 60s,” said Hancock,as his fingers slid smoothly through the notes of pa ma ga,ga re sa after Shankar’s impromptu tutoring. While the lesson may have been a first for Hancock and his piano,his visit to India isn’t. “This is my third visit and I love coming back to the people here. The blend of cultures and music makes me realise that there is so much musicians can do together,” he says. And it isn’t Indian music alone that Hancock loves. “I love the food here and how can I forget the women who are so beautiful,” he smiles.

Hancock is visiting Delhi as part of the US delegation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He will be performing at a concert called Living Dreams in Delhi and Mumbai with fellow musicians and Grammy winners—legendary singer Chaka Khan and tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain. “I’m looking forward to learning from Indian musicians. Although I have interacted with Zakir (Hussain),it was very long ago. I’m looking forward to meeting him since he is a busy man after his recent Grammy win,” smiled Hancock,who recently toured Japan with Khan.

But it isn’t just the performances that are going to keep him on his toes,the jazz pianist is all set to work on a global collaboration with Anoushka Shankar and Hussain and plans to record while in Mumbai on February 19. “My latest album is about peace and the interaction of different cultures,” said Hancock. Meanwhile he says he’ll be earnestly practicing Gandhi’s favourite song,Raghupati raghav rajaram,on his piano’s key—which was another lesson he picked up during the Indian workshop.

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The performance will be held at the Siri Fort Auditorium on February 16 at 7.30pm.For more details contact 23316841

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