January 24-25, 2010
This was another short trip but it was full. We had two wonderful stops at schools, played with our first Indian Classical musicians to date on this tour AND met another neighbor!
Let’s hear it for Brooklyn, NY and Amherst, MA!…if you’re counting so far in India we’ve met one amazing sax and bansuri player who lives in Brooklyn, one amazing sax and bansuri player who lived in Brooklyn and moved to Amherst a month before the tour and two old friends who have lived in Amherst for years…
Now, we were completely blindsided to hear that there is a gentleman on a speakers tour for the US Embassy who is from Northampton, MA-just 20 minutes from my home! He works for Miriam Webster Dictionaries and was lecturing about American dictionaries–ok, now it seems to be moving away from the jazz theme…but wait, he turns out to be a regular jazz DJ on two of our local stations at home! Peter Sokolowski-another jazz connection bumming around India! He was on the same circuit-we even met again in New Delhi.
Peter came over to the hotel to listen to a jam session that was organized with Gilad and I and two Indian Classical musicians, Thakur Preminder Singh on tablas and Jaywant Naidu on Hawaiian guitar (yes, you heard right). The metal slide is perfect for the Indian style of bending notes, beautiful ornaments and notes not in our 12 tone system.
and Part 2–Baiao Jam
Then I showed them my tune “Drum On, Drum On.” After that we morphed into vamps mostly based on D but check in later for a funky slow blues!
Hyderabad is a growing city strengthened by many tech and call center businesses. As tourists we favored the old city with its sights, sounds and markets.
We took a tuk tuk from the hotel to Charminar and then to Chowmahalla Palace – a museum now that surveys the history of the local rulers. Much of it documents their various philanthropical endeavors. It seems that they did support lots of projects with their enormous wealth. Present day descendants are not in political power but still have a connection to the community through various projects. It is an interesting view into another time.
Being in India it is impossible to ignore poverty and the deep divide between the rich and poor. Imagining times more than a century ago seem not to different from today. Growing up in NYC in a lower middle class (working) musicians family I have never identified as being rich. It is easy to take for granted all that we have. Coming to India as a guest of the Embassy with first class hotels, food and transportation makes you think hard about choices, blessings and adversity in life.
Our trip to the famous Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad was another gift that opened eyes to the reality of life on Earth. Look for an amazing post about this wonderful place in the coming days. BUT for right now, let’s end this one with some humor…I figured that since I was being treated as a VIP in India I would just go all out take my rightful place as a King among men!!!
MY CORONATION PICTURES ARE BELOW!!!